Procrastination has always been one of my secret pleasures. Of course, things eventually will get to me, but until then, I enjoy putting things off — except eating which I never put off.
So in my usual spirit of avoidance, I happily put off having that most delicate of all procedures, the colonoscopy, for 10 years until the guilt finally caught up with me. It was time for that micro-camera to take a peek in my pipeline to be sure everything was pink and pretty. Frankly, I would rather have eaten dog kibble than have a colonoscopy, but I decided it was time to grow up and show up.
I made the appointment for April Fool’s Day, which was duly noted by my love god as perhaps a poor choice of dates. Would the doctor joke with me and tell me he thinks he just located my missing umbrella? I tried not to be deterred by such unsettling thoughts and forged ahead.
I bought the prep materials and read the literature. “No raw fruits or vegetables for five days,” it said in bold letters. They didn’t understand. That’s mostly what I was supposed to eat given I was on a weight-loss program. Without fruits and veggies, I’d be forced to eat chocolate, ice cream and cookies. I practiced my excuses for my weekly weigh-in at fat school: “It’s not my fault. They made me eat that stuff.”
The rules of colonic photo sessions were clear. The day before the procedure, I was not suppose to eat at all except for clear fluids that weren’t red or purple, which just happened to be my two favorite food colors. I started the day with no breakfast and ended it with, guess what — no dinner. I was starving, my stomach was burbling, and I was miserable. I really didn’t understand why I couldn’t eat whatever I want given that I was going to be drinking some kind of internal cleanser that night that would reportedly create an internal tsunami that would wipe out all traces of brownies, burgers, and broccoli. But instead I followed the rules because I couldn’t take a chance that the doctor would declare to everyone within earshot that he couldn’t get his mini-cam past the chocolate chunks and cashews.
That evening, I opened the prep box to find two amber bottles containing a salty lemonade- tasting mixture, which I dutifully drank, then followed up with two 16 ounce water chasers. I visited the throne seven times before bed and once during the night. I repeated this satanic ritual in the morning, then Honey and I headed off to the clinic.
They were ready for me, like I was royalty. With military precision, I had visits from various medical personnel including the anesthesiologist, the bummologist, and two female doctorologists who praised my lipstick (Revlon 712 Hot Coral), my matching nails (natch), and my eyeglasses, commenting on how very nicely I was put together on this fine day. I was flattered but worried that their interest in fashion rather than medicine would distract them from my pipeline probe for which I had just swallowed 32 ounces of water and was about to burst. Focus, ladies, focus.
Honey exclaimed that for the life of him he could not figure out why I had on full face paint when I would be unconscious and likely drooling anyway. There he goes being logical. But here’s the thing — I follow the same regimen every morning, without concern for what I’ll be doing that day. I might be going to work, or spreading pine straw, or cleaning toilets or having the Queen visit for tea — but I do my hair and makeup the same regardless. Nobody should be forced to look at me au natural, not even the bummologist, though I doubted he’d be seeing much of my face from where he was sitting.
I was wheeled into the peek-and-poke room, which was cold and dark, but with Phil Collins warbling in the background, I was mildly comforted. The nurse told me I would soon feel sleepy and … I was gone. I woke up in what seemed like three minutes talking to someone behind my head whom I didn’t know, but who assured me that he was Honey. I really wished he were a cheeseburger.