.. 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,
'HE'S GOING TO STICK A TUBE 17,000 FEET UP YOUR BEHIND!'
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 America's enemies.
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 32 gallons.)
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
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, but: 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
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 I 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 bathroom, 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.
I have no idea. Really. I slept through it. One moment, Abba
was shrieking 'Dancing Queen! Feel the beat from the tambourine ...'
and the next moment, I was back in the other room, waking up in a very
mellow mood. Andy was looking down at me and asking me how I felt. I
felt excellent. I felt even more excellent when Andy told me that it
was all over, and that my colon had passed with flying colors.
I have never been
prouder of an internal organ.