Dave Barry's ColonoscopyI called my friend Andy Sable, a gastro-enteritis specialist, to make an
appointment for a colonoscopy. A few days later, in his office, Andy showed
me a colour diagram of the colon, a lengthy organ that appears to go all
over the place, at one point passing briefly through Minneapolis.
Then Andy explained the colonoscopy procedure to me in a thorough,
reassuring and patient manner. I nodded thoughtfully, but I didn't really
hear anything he said, because my brain was shrieking, 'HE'S GOING TO STICK
A 17,000 FEET LONG TUBE UP YOUR BEHIND!'
I left Andy's office with some written instructions, and a prescription for
a product called 'MoviPrep,' which comes in a box large enough to hold a
microwave oven. I will discuss MoviPrep in detail later; for now suffice it
to say that we must never allow it to fall into the hands of our enemies.
I spent the next several days productively sitting around being nervous.
Then, on the day before my colonoscopy, I began my preparation. In
accordance with my instructions, I didn't eat any solid food that day; all I
had was chicken broth, which is basically water, only with less flavour.
Then, in the evening, I took the MoviPrep. You mix two packets of powder
together in a one liter plastic jug then you fill it with lukewarm water
(for those unfamiliar with the metric system, a liter is about 32 gallons).
Then you have to drink the whole jug. This takes about an hour, because
MoviPrep tastes - and here I am being kind - like a mixture of goat spit and
urinal cleanser, with just a hint of lemon.
The instructions for MoviPrep, clearly written by somebody with a great
sense of humour, state that after you drink it, 'a loose watery bowel
movement may result.' This is kind of like saying that after you jump off
your roof, you may experience contact with the ground.
MoviPrep is a nuclear laxative. I don't want to be too graphic, here, but:
Have you ever seen a space-shuttle launch? This is pretty much the MoviPrep
experience, with you as the shuttle.
There are times when you wish the commode had a seat belt. You spend several
hours pretty much confined to the bathroom, spurting violently. You
And then, when you figure you must be totally empty, you have to drink
another liter of MoviPrep, at which point, as far as I can tell, your bowels
travel into the future and start eliminating food that you have not even
After an action-packed evening, I finally got to sleep. The next morning my
wife drove me to the clinic. I was very nervous. Not only was I worried
about the procedure, but I had been experiencing occasional return bouts of
MoviPrep spurtage. I was thinking, 'What if I spurt on Andy?' How do you
apologize to a friend for something like that? Flowers would not be enough.
At the clinic I had to sign many forms acknowledging that I had understood
and totally agreed with whatever the heck the forms said. Then they led me
to a room full of other colonoscopy people, where I went inside a little
curtained space and took off my clothes and put on one of those hospital
garments designed by sadist perverts, the kind that, when you put it on,
makes you feel even more naked than when you are actually naked.
Then a nurse named Eddie put a little needle in a vein in my left hand.
Ordinarily I would have fainted, but Eddie was very good, and I was already
lying down. Eddie also told me that some people put vodka in their MoviPrep.
At first I was ticked off that I hadn't thought of this is, but then I
pondered what would happen if you got yourself too tipsy to make it to the
bathroom, so you were staggering around in full Fire Hose Mode. You would
have no choice but to burn your house.
When everything was ready, Eddie wheeled me into the procedure room, where
Andy was waiting with a nurse and an anaesthetist. I did not see the
17,000-foot tube, but I knew Andy had it hidden around there somewhere. I
was seriously nervous at this point.
Andy had me roll over on my left side, and the anaesthetist began hooking
something up to the needle in my hand. There was music playing in the room,
and I realized that the song was 'Dancing Queen' by ABBA I remarked to Andy
that, of all the songs that could be playing during this particular
procedure, 'Dancing Queen' has to be the least appropriate. 'You want me to
turn it up?' said Andy, from somewhere behind me. 'Ha ha,' I said.
And then it was time, the moment I had been dreading for more than a decade.
If you are squeamish, prepare yourself, because I am going to tell you, in
explicit detail, exactly what it was like.
I have no idea. Really I slept through it. One moment, ABBA was yelling
'Dancing Queen, Feel the beat of the tambourine,' and the next moment, I was
back in the other room, waking up in a very mellow mood. Andy was looking
down at me and asking me how I felt. I felt excellent. I felt even more
excellent when Andy told me that it was all over, and that my colon had
passed with flying colours. I have never been prouder of an internal organ.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Dave Barry is a Pulitzer Prize-winning humour columnist for the Miami
On the subject of Colonoscopies...
Colonoscopies are no joke, but these comments during the exam were quite
A physician claimed that the following are actual comments made by his
patients (predominately male) while he was performing their colonoscopies:
1. 'Take it easy, Doc. You're boldly going where no man has gone before!
2. 'Find Amelia Earhart yet?'
3. 'Can you hear me NOW?'
4. 'Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?'
5. 'You know, in Arkansas, we're now legally married.'
6. 'Any sign of the trapped miners, Chief?'
7. 'You put your left hand in, you take your left hand out...'
8. 'Hey! Now I know how a Muppet feels!'
9. 'If your hand doesn't fit, you must quit!
10. 'Hey Doc, let me know if you find my dignity.'
11. 'You used to be an executive at Enron, didn't you?'
12. 'God, now I know why I am not gay.'
And the best one of all;
13. 'Could you write a note for my wife saying that my head is not up