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Texas | Columns | "Quips and Salsa"

Portrait of a colonoscopy


by Jase Graves
Jase Graves

There have been countless jokes, comedy routines and humorous articles written about colonoscopies, but I'm a firm believer that, like Mexican food restaurants, there can never be too many. Besides, we now live in a world where each individual colon has the right to assert its own unique identity that can't be categorized based on society's stereotyped definitions of a large intestine. So, here goes.

Ever since I turned 50 and my stylist started charging extra to brush hog my ear hair, several of my friends and loved ones have encouraged me to schedule a colonoscopy. At first, I was reluctant, maybe because the procedure conjured images of alien abductions involving bodily probing devices the size of Russian intercontinental ballistic missiles. Or perhaps I was just afraid of what the gastroenterologist might discover based on my long history of devouring pretty much anything that the FDA has deemed semi-edible.

My worries were so profound that for the first couple of years of my 50s, I resorted to the cumbersome, awkward and potentially disastrous take-home colon cancer screening kits. But as my friend's gastroenterologist once warned him, "There's really no graceful way to catch a stool."

And, sure enough, when I attempted to use the kits, my juggling performance usually resulted in a call for back-up from an emergency hazmat team.

But this year, motivated by the fear that I might not live long enough to become a financial and psychological burden on my three daughters, I decided to take the plunge (or the prod) and schedule a full-blown colonoscopy with all the trimmings.

As most of you know, a proper colonoscopy begins with the preparatory process of fasting and ingesting a regimen of military-grade laxatives designed to transform you into a human fire hose nozzle set to Armageddon strength. For me, though, the prep wasn't as traumatic as I anticipated. Rather than having to set up a campsite next to the toilet, I was actually able to do some yard work-with the slight inconvenience of occasionally performing a penguin sprint to the bathroom.

By the end of the day, though, I understood what one of my friends meant when he advised that, instead of toilet paper, I should have a snow cone handy.

After a full day of fasting and counting enchiladas to get to sleep the night before, I was anxious to get the procedure over with in the morning so I could resume my steady diet of Tex-Mex and Andy's Frozen Custard. I'm happy to say that the entire medical staff at the clinic was extremely cordial and accommodating, even though I couldn't help thinking that they were all trying not to laugh-along with my wife.

I have to admit that I was a little nervous since this was the first time I'd ever been put to sleep (when not listening to a sermon in church), but the nurse anesthetist told me that it would be like taking a really good nap—while basically on the same drugs that killed Michael Jackson.

When I woke up, I expected to feel like I had been on the receiving end of a Build a Bear Workshop stuffing station. Instead, I felt surprisingly refreshed, well-rested and oddly ventilated.

I'm pleased to report that the doctor found my colon extremely boring and said that he wasn't interested in seeing it again for ten years. I did request the bowel portrait family value package with two-8x10s, three-5x7s and eight wallets. He didn't laugh.

Following the procedure, my wife drove me to the closest Mexican restaurant, and I experienced a great sense of satisfaction and relief that I had overcome my anxieties and done what was best for my health—while consuming an obscene amount of chips and salsa.

So, if you've been putting off your own colonoscopy, let me encourage you to get it done. You'll have a great sleep, you can gorge guilt-free on your favorite food when it's over, and it just might help you live long enough to become a financial and psychological burden on those you love the most.

Jase Graves
"Quips and Salsa" 7-12-22 column



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