have a good one
“Have a good one”, she said as she handed me a plastic jug of the type you would use to mix lawn chemicals. A layer of white granules sifted around in the bottom. I was surprised at the size of the thing, but I paid my eighteen bucks and thanked her for the prompt service. I was, in fact, going to mix chemicals in the jug, but not for the lawn, and I certainly hoped to “have a good one.”
Almost a year ago I reached that magic age where an unattractive part of my anatomy became the object of my doctor’s obsession. He began dropping subtle hints about his desires, and until this week, I’ve managed to gently rebuff his advances. But now the procedure is scheduled, and the chemicals I’m going to mix are designed to clean me out and increase my chances of having a good one.
I understand and support the goal here … to go “inside” and check things out … to find and stop a killing cancer before it gets established. If I have a good one, I’ll be able to live on with peace of mind regarding one of the manifold things that can sneak up and knock me down. If I have a not-so-good one, I’ll still be happy to have had it, but I’ll have to plan how to fight back against a disease that has already started.
In a conceptual, big-picture way I’m entirely in favor of this, but in a more focused, zoom-lens way I start to waver. “You want to do what to me? Geez, Doc, I don’t know about this.”
To be honest, I’m scared. I’ve been blessed to have had few illnesses and have learned to live with the aches and pains that haven’t gone away on their own. I don’t have much experience with medical procedures and I’m sort of squeamish about blood and guts and it just so happens to be guts that we’re dealing with at this time.
So while I wait for the scrubbing bubbles to go to work inside of me, I begin to read the literature describing the procedure, “With a gloved and lubricated hand” it starts, and I decide to not read any further. I think about the full-size versions of the tools that will be used: a GoPro camera, a shop light, a sawzall, a welding torch, an extension cord, a hose. I can’t quite picture all of that equipment fitting inside of me.
The intimately-inserted apparatus is an idea that has taken some getting used to, and I’m comforted to know that I shouldn’t feel it, or even be aware of it … that’s a key part of having a good one. For that level of sedation, needles are required and needles make me faint, so I’m honest with the prep-nurse when she comes to place the IV. “I’m scared of needles”, I tell her. “I’ll use a small one”, she says.
They wheel me down the hall to The Room and Dr. Complicatedlastname introduces himself and shakes my hand and says I can call him Ravi. His calm and friendly professionalism eases my anxiety a little.
I’ve never given anyone else control over my consciousness before, and it is unnerving. To Levi, the RN in charge of the drugs and monitoring my vital signs, I say, “I don’t want to feel anything, but you gotta wake me up when it’s over, man. I promised that girl at the pharmacy that I’d have a good one and waking up afterward is an important part of that. I know you do this all the time, but I don’t, Levi, so give me your word that you’ll wake me up when it’s over. Ravi can do whatever he wants in my ass, but promise me that you’ve got my heart, lungs and brain covered. There’s an extra twenty in it for you if you promise you’ll really pay attention to the waking me up part of this.” And then he knocks me out.
In what seems like an instant, forty minutes have disappeared from my life and the room is fuzzy and swimmy and I can’t talk very well, but I am warm and comfortable and happy, nonetheless. Before my faculties have really returned, Dr. Ravi and the nurse pop in to say everything is OK, but I should eat more fiber - they probably say that to everyone. The nurse has a page with some food suggestions and she says to me and MSL, “I’m going to give you this piece of paper” and in my drugged state I respond, “do you want me to eat it here, or should I take it home for later?”.
So, my first colonoscopy is in the bag, and it wasn’t that bad. I was hungry for a day and a half, pooped a lot, and endured an IV, but I was never in pain. The procedure is a piece of cake and Demerol is awesome and I now get to live a while longer with the peace of mind that everything is A-OK in my colon. I guess you could say that I had a good one.