When one is almost 50, one starts needing the services that come with mileage, and at this year’s physical there were two things demanding extra attention. One was easy: I had something atop my head that, as I understood the dermatologist, was a thing that could become a second thing that could become a third thing, and the third thing could become a not-terribly-alarming form of skin cancer.
We froze it — I say “we” though the doctor did it; as a contributor to this ride I was somewhere between passenger and cargo. He froze it with a spray bottle of nitrogen. I was unconcerned because I had this done to a thing on my foot once. I did not anticipate that the difference between having liquid nitrogen sprayed on the scalp and liquid nitrogen sprayed on the foot would be significant. I was not correct in this assessment.
Fun Fact: Did you know it is possible to get a blinding but blessedly short ice-cream headache from having excessive cold anywhere on your head? I did not.
As to the second review required at 50,000 miles, I apologize for butting in on your day with graphic details, but I have an opening and I’m gonna go right at it. A colonoscopy is the kind of thing that seems like a real pain in the ass when it’s on your to-do list, but — with benefit of hindsight — is no big deal once it is behind you.
Finding a hole in the gastroenterologist’s schedule is probably the most challenging part of the process. They’re often full-up for weeks and weeks. I had to sit around looking at both the appointment and the prep kit for a few months. The prep kit is a gallon plastic container with a powdered “anti-osmotic” in it, which you drink in two sprints after a day of clear-liquids-only. (Shout-out to Gina’s Italian Ice for the meals on prep day.)
The clear liquids for a day is, admittedly, not gonna bring a smile on your cheeks, and the anti-osmotic works like a commercial for Drano used to. Remember the animated pipe getting flushed into pristine condition by the clog-buster? Same idea. It’s not even unpleasant, exactly, just the digestive experience of travelling overseas without the attendant sense of physical illness or unpredictability.
The schedule is tight, which is good because you have to drink eight ounces of anti-osmotic water every 10 minutes for an hour and a half, twice, and the schedule on which they exit is just as orderly and predictable. Put it this way: The anti-osmotic enters the station at one end and allows the trains to run express to the end of the line, where they arrive every 10 minutes with no real sense of urgency.
The day of the show, you will be cranky from lack of food, but they give you a lovely drug and it is over. You don’t want to have plans for the rest of the day because the medical stuff will have wrecked ’em, but any effects on the back end were addressed by a meal and a nap.
Lemme leave you with just the teensiest bit of public service: If you’re putting off a colonoscopy because you’re nervous or squeamish about the process, you can relax. It’s a day of hunger and a nice chemically-induced nap, with no aftereffects at all. Just do it. I was nervous about it, too, but the Wakanda Forever trailer dropped a couple days before I had to go in, which seemed a sign and was a useful refreshing of the incentive, god rest Chadwick Boseman’s younger-than-me soul.
They told me everything came out fine, by the way. I have pictures, but I will keep them to myself. (I’m not an ass.)
Alan Brouilette writes a monthly column in the Forest Park Review, a Growing Community Media publication.