This is likely to be a short episode, for a couple of reasons: one, my memory of the procedure gets fuzzier as the amount of sedatives in my bloodstream was steadily increased, and two, because there are some details that I simply will not share.
About a month ago I went in for a happy-50th-birthday colonoscopy. It was mildly unpleasant, but not terrible. During this probing the doctor found two polyps. Polyps are growths that, if allowed to run amok, can turn in to cancer. Best just to get those bad boys out of there. In the words of the NIH:
Colon polyps can be raised or flat. Raised colon polyps are growths shaped like mushrooms. They look as though they are on a stem or stalk. Flat colon polyps look like a bed of moss.
I had one of the flat sorts, way up at the very end (or beginning) of my large intestine. My doctor didn’t have the proper tools on hand to deal with it, so we set up another appointment at an actual hospital to take care of it. Yesterday was that day.
It turns out, they barely had the proper tools at the hospital. When the alternative is surgery, however, you do everything you possibly can to get the job done using the colonoscopes. Picture three grim-faced auto mechanics trying to get a wrench into a tight spot in a car to free up a seized bolt. If they can’t get it free, they’re going to have to pull the engine to get at the failing part. An expensive and invasive procedure. The mechanics will do whatever it takes to avoid pulling the engine. Now replace the car in that image with me.
“Whatever it takes” in this case includes contorting the patient and mashing down on his gut to push the intestine closer to the business end of the scope. After the third time being rearranged on the table for another go at the just-out-of-reach polyp, all thought of dignity was lost in a haze of discomfort and a feeling of terrible bloatedness as the air displaced by all the equipment up there looked for a place to go. Things got messy.
In the end, they got the damn thing. Probably. I’ll be going back for a followup in a few months. Hopefully there will be nothing to write home about.