Yesterday was not a day I’d been awaiting…with joy. However neither was I anxious. Let’s just say I was…numb. Beginning the day before I forced myself into another zone…mentally, that is. Anyone who’s had a colonoscopy, and if you’re over 50 you should start to ponder the possibility, knows of what I speak.
One of my siblings had had colon cancer a number of years ago, making me a prime candidate for regular colonoscopies. That he is free of the disease doesn’t matter. That I havent’ lived near him in Hawaii doesn’t exempt me either. That we have probably not consumed the same foods for 40 years or more also carries no weight. Seems I’m hooked for good…every 5 years.
Zoning out mentally is necessary because you have to be fully present physically. A restrictive diet begins several days beforehand. It felt strange not to eat my usual high-fiber foods…whole grain breads and pasta…brown rice…leafy, green salads. Being told to eat the exact opposite was like being let go in a candy shop.
I relished the taste and texture of country, white bread…a hot dinner roll right out of the oven, slathered with butter…white spaghetti with meatballs. Because my mom had diabetes, I’d subscribed to a diet of whole grains to stave off getting the dreaded disease. From all I’d heard and read, white anything…goes straight to sugar.
Downing 4 liters of a liquid that helps you lose weight, whether or not you want, is when I knew I was paying for my hay day in the candy shop. Twenty-nine, eight-ounce glassfuls of anything is too much to stomach. I was fine until the last 5 or so. I wasn’t chug-a-lugging the stuff anymore. More like huge gulps. Of course you can imagine what I was doing between-times.
I was only allowed a low-fiber breakfast the day before, followed by a liquid diet until midnight when consumption of everything came to a screeching halt. Not even a drop of water was allowed. So, of course, I couldn’t pass my half-filled water bottle without longing to take a swig. Water never looked so good…
The day of the procedure I was fully prepared to have the dastardly thing done and behind me…literally. I even told the doctor as much. “Okay. Let’s get this over.”
From the get-go, I felt ensconced in a family of helpers. The nurse who escorted my husband and me from the lounge to where I would get ready, had the same name as my daughter. That got us chatting. The nurse congratulating my daughter on her career and the discipline that went with it.
I was handed over to an Asian nurse who was serenity itself. With calm patience she readied me for the inevitable. When Dr. Patterson arrived, he whipped out his iPhone and showed the nurse a buffet he’d attended earlier for a colleague who was leaving. The nurse had contributed a couple of the homemade items. I asked to see the photo, which the doctor was only too happy to share. Everyone laughed when I said I’d not eaten for 24 hours, and gazing at the picture of food might help quiet the rumbling in my belly.
I was wheeled into the surgery room where 2 nurses attended to me. Both were very pleasant. The younger one, probably in her 30s, asked if I was cold. When I hesitated, she immediately set about to warm me up with heated blankets…several of them. As she layered me with them I commented “It’s been a long time since I’ve been tucked in.” Chuckling she told me she had a 3-year-old.
Lying there, bright lights glaring down upon me, I couldn’t help but feel as though I were in a TV reality show, and I said so. The young nurse smilingly commiserated, adding that the idea was a good one. The other nurse made a comment which seemed to pooh-pooh the thought, something about rules and regulations. Not to be dissuaded, the young nurse chimed in saying “Not if they showed what goes on behind-the-scenes…the romances.”
I don’t remember what else she said. My mind was already picturing scenes from the next reality hit “Love ’em…and Leave ’em.” Laughing aloud I said that the TV patient would probably be yelling “Hey! What about me? This is suppose to be about me. Remember? Excuse me! Can we get back to my procedure, folks.”
I told the nurses that the doctor looked unexpectedly dapper in street clothes beneath his white physician‘s jacket, when he visited me earlier. However when he arrived and took charge, he appeared more as I had expected …wearing green pajamas…white cap atop his head.
The cap was unique in that it was customized with an all-over pattern of a piano keyboard . During our first office visit Dr. Patterson had told me of his affection for music, being a voice student himself. So the cap made sense.
All I remember of the operating room was being told that the anesthetic was being administered slowly…the young nurse holding my hand, smiling…as I drifted off into a deep slumber. She told me to think of Maui. I told her I was going to go “moi moi”. Words Hawaiian moms whisper to their children, telling them to “go to sleep.”
It was a coincidence that the young nurse had lived on Maui for 7 years, engaged to an islander. They’d not wed, but she loved living there nonetheless. So while she may have been an attractive, blonde, my new friend felt like family. And given the circumstances…it was nice to have her by my side.
If you think my story is pretty funny thus far, you’ll bust your ribs when you read about my antics in recovery. Even I couldn’t believe what my husband told me. I guess under the influence of anesthesia (or lemon-drop martinis), I’m another…Phyllis Diller…Whoopie Goldberg…Tina Fey…or my idol…Lucille Ball. All I can say is…
…heavens to mergatroid!!!…