The colonoscopy is the butt of many jokes, yet the colon is full of laughing matter. The facts: A normal adult colon is five feet long. Abnormal adults have different colons, usually in fuchsia. The colon has four sections. The Ascending Colon connects the small intestine to the duodenum then travels past the liver to the Transverse Colon. This is called the Transverse Site because male colons dressed as female colons loiter here. The Transverse Colon swings around the left kidney, dips below the pancreas and becomes the Descending Colon, where it speeds up to complete a double vertical loop inside the pelvis. This is where injuries happen because people haven’t kept their arms inside the ride at all times. The whole thing slows down on the flat section called the Sigmoid Colon, first discovered by Dr. Sigmoid Freud when he was developing his Sexual Theory of Colon Dreams, the pervert.
You need a colonoscopy if you’re over 50 or have a family history of problems, including a colon that’s been abusing alcohol or has declared bankruptcy. If your doctor recommends a colonoscopy, it can be troubling. But he’ll relax when he realizes he’s done it many times and that it pays well.
At the start of the procedure you’re given drugs to make you sleepy, yet talkative. Many family secrets are told while on these drugs, allowing the doctor to write a funny book. For my contribution, I had rehearsed this riddle:
Only one other word can be found by rearranging the letters in POLYPS. Similarly for SUTURE. The two new words describe an unwanted body part.*
I told my riddle to the nurse after I was given the drugs. It sounded like this:
Suture your colon to a bunch of Polynesians and rearrange them into two words meaning PANTS.
She slapped me hard, then laughed and gave me her phone number.
After you’re sedated, the inspection begins with a lot of frightening terminology. An “endoscopist” does the dirty work. He uses a “colonoscope”, which is also known as an “end-o-scope” (LMFAO). The scope must be positioned “very near” the colon, which the doctor accomplishes while you’re distracted by the cute nurse.
The doctor manipulates the other end of the scope, which contains these features:
* A tiny video camera which displays images on a large external (thank God) monitor
* An adapter to play the doctor’s rare Betamax videotapes
* A blower for pumping your colon full of air
* A tiny vacuum cleaner with gall bladder attachment
* A laser for burning polyps
* A broiler for reheating undigested prime rib and potatoes
These devices fit in the endoscope’s long tube, which resembles a wide rusty beer can with sharp edges.
The doctor looks into the endoscope and immediately sees a large disturbing dark mass—the lens cap. The scope is de-rectalized, the cap is removed, and the doctor takes a smoke break to steady his hands and tell Accounting to add an “emergency lens cap removal” line item on your bill.
The drugs begin to wear off as the inspection resumes. The doctor needs help threading the scope around your colon’s S-turns. This is the job of a male nurse with large biceps named Bruno. Why he named his biceps Bruno we don’t know. He pushes on your stomach when the doctor orders, “Ok, now take a hard left. No, LEFT! And watch out for that spleen!” But because objects in the endoscope are closer than they appear, it’s just the bladder. Bruno anticipates this and carefully taps the brakes.
If colon polyps are found, the doctor will remove them with a “polypectomy” procedure. I only had one polyp, so the colonoscopy was stopped and the doctor again consulted with Accounting. They decided to perform the procedure anyway but to double-bill it as two molar fillings and a femur removal. I approved this change quickly because it was nearing dinner time and I didn’t want the doctor to use the broiler.
Finally it’s over. The whole thing takes only 30 minutes, but it seems like 2 hours filled with screaming.
While you’re recovering, the doctor talks to your wife, and they laugh about all the funny things you said and will later deny. He gives you a “Polypectomy Dozen” punch card (the 13th is free with purchase of a vasectomy!) and a souvenir video. Mine showed one polyp screaming down the Descending Colon, happily waiving its arms.