Hello, everyone. Homer's back, but he was busy yesterday, spending part of the morning on camera. If you are wondering where you can see his smiling face, you can't. That's cause the camera was up his rear end, where no man has ever gone before. Except once, exactly five years ago, when the same thing happened. After the jump, you can learn how this can save your life or the life of someone you love..Homer had a colonoscopy Monday, almost exactly five years after his first. They found three polyps the first time, and they were very small, and they were removed. Same thing happened yesterday, with one difference that we will get to later.
If you've been putting off having a colonoscopy, or are squeamish or even scared of the procedure, you're not alone. In his book on Vince Lombardi, David Maraniss writes that Lombardi was horrified of doctors sticking that big instrument that they used to use up his ass, and he kept putting it off. It killed him. That's where his cancer started, and from there it spread.
Colon cancer is the third leading cause of cancer deaths in men, and it is more than 90% preventable. The cancer starts out as small polyps, which can easily be removed before they become malignant.
If you haven't had a colonoscopy yet and are wondering what it's like, let Homer tell you.
The only bad thing about it is the prep the day before.
They give you a giant plastic jug, filled with what looks like white sand. You're supposed to fill the damned thing up with water, put it in the fridge, and let it chill. It seems just a little smaller than a 55 gallon drum.
You eat your regular breakfast that day, and no more solid food. Maybe some pudding or something for lunch. Then you take two laxative tablets.
Then at four o'clock, you put some flavor crystals in that white sand/water mix and shake it up. Homer's doctor said it would be okay to put in crystal light or Mio - so Homer used Mio lemonade. You begin drinking eight ounce glasses of the stuff, one every fifteen minutes until either you explode or begin to wallow in your own crapulence.
At first, with heavy doses of Mio lemonade, it doesn't taste that bad. After a while, though, you realize you are drinking something akin to flavored sand water, and you would prefer Natty Bo, Genesee, Keystone, Iron, or even Schaffer, the one beer to have when you're getting really plowed.
You're supposed to keep drinking the stuff until it clears the crap out of you. About ninety minutes into this, you pay your first visit to the throne, and you keep up this ritual of drink and poop until, as the doctor's instructions say, "your release is clear and about the same color as your urine."
Homer's not going to kid you when he says this is no fun at all. But this is 100% of all the bad stuff.
After a restless night (and several trips back to the throne), you awaken and head in for your colonoscopy. You fill out some forms at the doctor's office, and different people ask you your birth date. They take you to a locker to change into a hospital gown, and a lovely Asian-Pacific nurse puts you in a comfy chair with a leg rest and puts a warm blanket over you. She smiles and asks you your birthdate, and takes your temperature and blood pressure. (BP 113 over 67! Not bad, eh?)
A kind older gentleman with a trimmed beard comes by and tells you he will give you the "medicine that will make you relax." He asks you your birthdate, then tells you he will rub a local anesthetic on your hand. He says you may feel a little sting when he puts in the needle for the IV port, but - after the topical anesthetic, Homer doesn't feel anything.
They walk you into the operating room, and sit you on an operating table that is as comfortable as a bed. The doctor comes in and says the prep looks good. The anesthesiologist puts a couple of those annoying breathing tubes on your nose and says he will give you something to relax you. Nighty-night, and welcome to the land of sleep.
Next thing you know, you wake up, wondering if they're done or if they haven't started yet. They're done. No discomfort. Absolutely none. No pain. No nothing. They used an endoscope, a tiny and precise instrument. Not like the "silver stallion" of days gone by.
You are pleasantly buzzed from the anesthesia, and you absolutely don't want to be driving a car or using a chainsaw or anything like that. Enjoy the wonderful high, knowing it's perfectly legal.
The doctor comes over and tells you that they found three small polyps, including a sessile polyp at the hepatic flexure. Sessile Polyp sounds like a character from Monty Python, but hepatic has to do with your liver, so it's a damned good thing they found the little devil and got rid of him before he grew into something worse and spread from the flexure to the liver itself.
The doctor says he'll see you in another three to five years, and says it went well. He'll call you Friday with results of the biopsy, but he doesn't sound worried at all. Perfectly routine.
The day after, you feel great, Especially since you got cleaned out, right on down the line.
Homer wrote all this to get you to thinking. Maybe it's time for you to have your colonoscopy. If you've hit the big five-oh, and haven't had one, it's time. If you're too young, maybe your Dad needs a reminder. It doesn't hurt. Not at all. Not a bit. And it could save your life. Or the life of someone you love.