“I Wish I Had a Colon to Oscopy:” Why I Quit Whining About Preventative Health Procedures

For my New Year’s present to myself, I had my first colonoscopy. Don’t worry, I won’t share pictures (though the doc assured me they’re gorgeous).

From what I hear, colonoscopies are pretty much tied with root canals for Most Desired Procedure. I’ve since learned that, unlike root canals, the awfulness of the C-scope lies in the prep, not the actual procedure, during which one is switched off like a light by some kind of magic anesthesia. (I’m pretty sure it’s the same drug that Michael Jackson used to take to get good sleep, and I can now see the attraction–except for the horrible cotton-mouth afterwards).

But the prep? Drink a gallon of electrolytes–essentially salt water–in two sittings. That’s one half-gallon, followed by extensive toilet time that I won’t go into…then get up next morning, O joy, and drink another. Fast. Just thinking about it makes my stomach curdle.

I whined. Or I started to. Then my husband reminded me of two people dear to me: one who, at age 62, has no colon at all, and another who is no longer with us because she died. Of colon cancer. At age 42.

(orig. image courtesy publicdomainimages.net)

(orig. image courtesy publicdomainimages.net)

There’s nothing like considering the alternative to make one appreciate an unpleasant health procedure as a blessed opportunity. As my colon-less friend put it, “I wish I HAD a colon to oscopy!”

The same logic would apply to root canals, right? Just think of someone you know with dentures. Knee surgery? Wheelchair. Prostate exam? You see what I mean.

That doesn’t mean I’ll be waltzing in to my next mammogram singing, “Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it’s off to boob-squishing I go!” But I certainly will remind myself about my friends with breast cancer, and I’ll shut up.

I know I can get some testimonials here about the gift of preventative procedures. Please, share your story. What nasty procedure are you grateful for?

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