Colonoscopy and father’s day.
No father’s day is complete without a reflection on what fathers have achieved in past years. When the age has been reached whereby funerals feature more often than marriages one finds oneself raking through years gone by more often. There is so much more past than future, is there not? Of course “so much more past” has not come without effort and due care, regarding to aging in general and health specifically.
With attention lately on Olympics, sport and medals and some art as well, we were also drawn to the ‘femme and homme’ in all of us, including both sexes of each gender and even sometimes in reverse. Women in general look after health a lot better than men, because they care. Men are often somewhat shy of their health problems although I must admit; one sees a lot more men in waiting rooms. Perhaps coyly seeking repeat prescriptions for Viagra?
But the real test of masculinity is of course the eagerness of men for the colonoscopy every couple of years. I have become a bit of an expert on the procedure so allow me to share my layman’s experiences regarding colonoscopy. While it can never be too early to develop an interest in one’s bowels, most men (except AFL and VFL players) don’t really worry too much until it is often too late. It seems masculinity deserts them when it comes to the nitty gritty of deep ring gazing by expert doctors.
This then is a plea for all, especially men of both genders, to go and have regular colonoscopy.
Let me give you a few handy hints.
After drinking all preparations and endless bowel ’evacuations’, the day has finally arrived and one stands at the hospital desk. In my case it has always my beloved Concord Repat. Hospital in Sydney. The waiting room is usually taken up with anxious and totally drained men and some supporting partners. A beautiful girl, not Lilly, behind the desk is writing our name tags. One is then taken to a cubicle and told to get undressed including underpants and ordered to put on a white gown with about six strings to be tied at the back. This is difficult if not impossible and of course the girl that led you to the cubicle does not assist in the undressing and the struggle with gown. The colonoscopy expert and staff need decent access that is why the ties are at the back. It took me years to discover that the best way is to lay gown on floor, then tie the strings and simply slip on the gown over head and shoulders like you would normally do putting on a dress.
After this has been achieved, a nurse will lead you to a bed, often past many other patients, nurses and staff, curious onlookers. This is where dignity and decorum might get a bit ruffled if the gown is somewhat peekaboos and akimbo. Also, please check your wrist name tag. The second last time I was just about ready to get wheeled in when I discovered I had the name of a woman on my wrist. It will never be known how close I came to a pap smear, nor what happened to the person with my name tag.
You will be in bed just resting. Some men had their wives holding their hands but I was always alone and suffering total emptiness. Someone had to look after the farm. Anyway, when you get finally wheeled in the theatre you will be reassured and a kind of funnel put in your backside with a smile and a lubricant. Next a needle in your veined hand and before you get a chance to reflect on anything you will be sedated and out of it. Oh, yes. I was told last time, to give doctor better access and draw up knees closer to chest! (She looked me deep in the eyes when she said this.) The whole procedure is totally painless and you next wake up back at the ward and in bed. Once, during the removal of a couple of polyps called polypectomy I woke up during the procedure, looked at screen and wondered if that is what a porn movie might look like, before I realized I was looking deep inside my own bowel.
You will sleep off the sedation and then comes the reward which makes it all so worthwhile; it used to be a bowl of soup and then a plate of mashed potato with chicken schnitzel, followed by a lovely green jelly. Last time I was a bit miffed when the fare was reduced to cheese and ham on white Tip Top.
In my own case I liked to linger on as long as possible enjoying the spoiling by staff. Of course at the end of those colonoscopies it was always Helvi’s calm and comforting smile that I looked forward to most. She seemed to care a little bit.
You are not allowed to drive for 24 hrs in case the sedative has not quite been absorbed.
There is nothing better than being driven back to the farm and be greeted by ‘Milo’ the Jack Russell. He is always so caring.