Life’s Coloring Book A column by Suzi Walls for The Daily Herald

Walzie’s birthday was last week. He claims that he’s glad he’s not as old as I am because then he’d be over the hill. Well, I’ve got news for him; he done tripped over that hilltop long ago. Anyway, nine years ago when he turned fifty (so go figure Walzie’s age) his doctor, Janice, began urging him to have a colonoscopy. He didn’t have a clue what that meant, but he heard the word “scope” in there, and he figured that it must have something to do with a hunting rifle. So he agreed.
When the scheduled day came, as we rode to the third floor on the elevator, I could feel his nervousness. He was shaking as if it were zero degrees on the first day of buck season. The door opened and a pale, very scraggly man hobbled in. He leaned against the elevator wall and groaned.
“You okay there, buddy,” Walzie asked.
“Nope,” he responded weakly. “I just had a scoping of my behind.”
I saw Walzie’s ears grow like antennae.
“My gosh, it was awful,” the man went on (and on and on). “They folded me over like a jackknife and shoved 17,000 feet of fire hose up my backside. Death would have been a blessing.”
Walzie pushed the stop button and rode that elevator back to the main floor. No way was anyone going to shove 17,000 feet of anything up his behind. And so every year, Janice begs him to get that dreaded screening, and every year he refuses.
This year our friends Brenda and Robbie each turned fifty. They both got colonoscopies for their birthdays and both of them said, “Nothing to it”. Well, Walzie and the pale little elevator man had me scared as well, but if Brenda and Robbie can do it, then so can I. And if I volunteer, then maybe Walzie won’t be so reluctant to get the procedure. You see, a good friend of ours is battling colon cancer and it’s no walk in the park. She has also been urging us to be safe. I decided to go for it!
A few days before my scheduled procedure, the mailman brought a box big enough to ship a refrigerator. Inside was a gallon jug of “Go-Lyte-Lee”. If ever a product was misnamed – this is it! I pondered the instructions and readied myself for the prep work.
The recommended food for the day was chicken broth. Three meals of chicken broth tastes like water with a lot less flavor, so by seven o’clock that evening I was ready for something with a little more flavor. I mixed up my Go-Lyte-Lee per the instructions. Well, it tasted much like drain cleaner and bleach with just a hint of lemon. The manual must have been written by someone with a great sense of humor because it states that (and I quote), “A loose watery bowel movement may result”. That was like saying “after jumping off a cliff, you may experience discomfort when reaching the bottom”. That stuff was nuclear! Ever seen a space shuttle launch?
Finally, the appointment time came and I found myself leaning on Walzie in the elevator. This time I was the nervous one. Scared of the procedure? Not really. Scared of spurting? You betcha’. What if I cough? What if I walk too fast? Oh, how embarrassing would that be? So very easily, I lowered myself into the waiting room chair.
An older man sitting beside me leaned over and said, “Ah, butt-reamin’ day, huh?”
Walzie cleared his throat, “Yeah, her not me.”
My face turned red.
“I’m a firm believer in colonoscopies,” the man continued. “I do this every year. Don’t be scared young lady. There’s nothing to it. Except …”
(Uh oh, I’m thinking, except what?)
“Just hope you don’t get that Chinese doctor. He’s really rough.”
Soon the nurse called my name. Walzie informed me that he was going over town to the gun shop; he’d be back in about two hours. As he left, he whispered in my ear, “Watch out for the Chinaman.”
And so, I put on that wonderful hospital gown that makes you feel even more naked when naked. I climbed on the gurney and tucked the edges around me. I looked around for that 17,000 feet fire hose, but it must have been hidden somewhere. The nurse came in and jabbed my hand, then started an IV. She chatted with me for a short time. My eyes felt heavy, but then I heard her say, “Dr. Woo, we are ready.” I gasped.
Now, prepare yourself. I hope you aren’t too squeamish because I’m going to describe exactly what a colonoscopy feels like. Really, I have no clue! I slept through it. Best nap I’ve ever had. I awoke in another room with a little Chinaman smiling at me. He said I passed the test with flying colors. I’ve never been prouder of an internal organ.
Heck, the procedure was a breeze! I even wanted egg fu young for lunch.
I’ve been hounding Walzie to get the procedure, but visions of that pale man in the elevator keep bouncing around in his head. I keep coaxing and again he rolls his eyes when I tell him, “Just do it. Colonoscopies are kinda’ fun!”

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