Dave Barry's Colonoscopy Journal
... I called my friend Andy Sable, a gastroenterologist, to make an
appointment for a colonoscopy.
A few days later, in his office, Andy showed me a color diagram of the
colon, a lengthy organ that appears to go all over the place, at one
point passing briefly through Minneapolis. Then Andy explained the
colonoscopy procedure to me in a thorough, reassuring and patient
manner. I nodded thoughtfully, but I didn't really hear anything he
said, because my brain was shrieking, quote,
'HE'S GOING TO STICK A TUBE 17,000 FEET UP YOUR
I left Andy's office with some written instructions, and a prescription
for a product called 'MoviPrep,' which comes in a box large enough to
hold a microwave oven. I will discuss MoviPrep in detail later; for now
suffice it to say that we must never allow it to fall into the hands of
I spent the next several days productively sitting around being nervous.
Then, on the day before my colonoscopy, I began my preparation. In
accordance with my instructions, I didn't eat any solid food that day;
all I had was chicken broth, which is basically water, only with less
flavor. Then, in the evening, I took the MoviPrep. You mix two packets
of powder together in a one-liter plastic jug, then you fill it with
(For those unfamiliar with the metric system, a liter is about
Then you have to drink the whole jug. This takes about an hour, because
MoviPrep tastes - and here I am being kind - like a mixture of goat spit
and urinal cleanser, with just a hint of lemon!
The instructions for MoviPrep, clearly written by somebody with a great
sense of humor, state that after you drink it, 'a loose watery bowel
movement may result.' This is kind of like saying that after you jump
off your roof, you may experience contact with the ground.
MoviPrep is a nuclear laxative. I don't want to be too graphic, here,
Have you ever seen a space-shuttle launch? This is pretty much the
MoviPrep experience, with YOU as the shuttle. There are times when you
wish the commode had a seat belt. You spend several hours pretty much
confined to the bathroom, spurting violently. You eliminate everything.
And then, when you figure you must be totally empty, you have to drink
another liter of MoviPrep, at which point, as far as I can tell, your
bowels travel into the future and start eliminating food that
you have not even eaten yet.
After an action-packed evening, I finally got to sleep. The next morning
my wife drove me to the clinic. I was very nervous. Not only was I
worried about the procedure, but I had been experiencing occasional
return bouts of MoviPrep spurtage. I was thinking, 'What if I spurt on
Andy?' How do you apologize to a friend for something like that? Flowers
would not be enough.
At the clinic I had to sign many forms acknowledging that I understood
and totally agreed with whatever the heck the forms said. Then they led
me to a room full of other colonoscopy people, where I went inside a
little curtained space and took off my clothes and put on one of those
hospital garments designed by sadist perverts, the kind that, when you
put it on, makes you feel even more naked than when you are actually
Then a nurse named Eddie put a little needle in a vein in my left hand.
Ordinarily I would have fainted, but Eddie was very good, and I was
already lying down. Eddie also told me that some people put vodka in
their MoviPrep. At first was ticked off that I hadn't thought of this,
but then I pondered what would happen if you got yourself too tipsy to
make it to the bath room, so you were staggering around in full Fire
Hose Mode. You would have no choice but to burn your house.
When everything was ready, Eddie wheeled me into the procedure room,
where Andy was waiting with a nurse and an anesthesiologist. I did not
see the 17,000-foot tube, but I knew Andy had it hidden around there
I was seriously nervous at this point. Andy had me roll over on my left
side, and the anesthesiologist began hooking something up to the needle
in my hand. There was music playing in the room, and I realized that the
song was 'Dancing Queen' by Abba. I remarked to Andy that, of all the
songs that could be playing during this particular procedure, 'Dancing
Queen' has to be the least appropriate. You want me to turn it up?' said
Andy, from somewhere behind me. 'Ha ha,' I said. And then it was time,
the moment I had been dreading for more than a decade. If you are
squeamish, prepare yourself, because I am going to tell you, in explicit
detail, exactly what it was like.
Page Two Click here
for the explicit detail