What I did on my vacation

I attended public school for 13 years, then spent another six at a state university, and more recently have been teaching high school English for 22 more. All that experience qualifies me to state without fear of contradiction that students look forward to their April vacation almost as much as their school staff and teachers do.

Maybe that’s why the one-day mid-vacation course I took last Monday was so challenging for me.

Fairfield Prep, Don Bosco Prep, and St. John’s Prep are probably fine private schools, but they can’t be any tougher than Colonoscopy Prep.

A colonoscopy is something nearly everyone who doesn’t die in infancy or get run over by a bus as a toddler will be subjected to sooner or later. The idea is to maintain good colorectal health, which is vital for those wishing to avoid dying prematurely of something that’s generally preventable and/or treatable, if it’s discovered early enough. Undergoing the procedure seems daunting, but in actuality is far less gruesome than it sounds. However, given that it involves putting an instrument deep inside the undergoer’s body in a place where the sun will never shine, well, that’s a pretty low bar.

Most people find preparing for a colonoscopy unpleasant, although there are a few exceptions. Eccentric individuals who relish the thought of fasting for 24+ hours, hearing aliens do construction work inside their stomach, and experiencing their own personal combination of the Johnstown Flood and August 6, 1945 in Hiroshima will thoroughly enjoy preparing for a colonoscopy. But for everyone else, drinking a gallon or so of nasty-tasting liquid spiked with something designed to make most of their insides fall out is about as pleasant as shaving with a belt sander.

The procedure itself is utterly painless, thanks largely to anesthesia which removes the patient from reality for as long as necessary, plus another couple of hours. Not surprisingly, a person who has just undergone a colonoscopy must have someone else take them home after the procedure, given the temporarily compromised state of their physical and mental capabilities. An anesthetized person driving a car is potentially every bit as dangerous as a monkey wielding a chainsaw. The only difference: the monkey knows what planet he’s on.

How effective are the drugs I was given prior to undergoing my procedure last week? All I remember is being told to take the elevator (rather than the stairs) as I was leaving, then waking up from a nap in a chair at home a couple of hours later. I don’t recall any of what transpired between those two events, although my chauffeur/son Willie assures me I spoke to him like a reasonably lucid human being, albeit one who asked the same questions three or four times.

While getting ready for a colonoscopy is hardly anyone’s idea of fun, given the importance of staying alive, it’s a small price to pay. In fact, if I could somehow obtain a 100% guarantee that undergoing an annual colonoscopy would assure me of good health for the following year, I’d sign up for one every January 1st, even though it would take a lot of the fun out of New Year’s Eve.

As a personal aside, I’d like to thank Mary, Lee Ann, Trina, and Cassidy for the role(s) they played during my recent trip to the gastroenterologist. That’s assuming those are their actual names, since as I have alluded to previously, my memory of the events(s) which took place that morning is somewhat foggy.

I’d also like to thank my chauffeur/son Willie for driving me home.

Assuming that’s his actual name.

Andy Young
April 26, 2024

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