A Long, Dark Tunnel

I was chatting with my doctor this morning about a series of semi-regular tests he wants me to have before my next visit. Various things like cholesterol, thyroid and vitamin D level. He also mentioned having a PSA test done. That’s a test for an antigen that shows up in the blood. About the only reason the level of that antigen ever changes is when there’s something wrong with the prostate. That’s one of a couple of tests of prostate health, the other being the DRE, or Digital Rectal Exam. In less delicate terms, think the doctor’s digit (or finger) examining your rectum (Wrecked him? Damn near killed him! Sorry, I love that line…). Luckily for me, some doctors aren’t big fans of the diagnostic quality of that particular test.

The "Garden" Hose

However, he did happen to ask me when my last colonoscopy was. Why, never, I said. After all, he’s been my doctor since I was 50, and that’s about the age where they suggest having the exam. I did mention that i was wrapping up some work on some commercials for a GI group urging people to get colon screenings because March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness month. He did ask whether I wanted that group to handle my screening. No, I replied. I don’t mind clients on my backside to do a good job on their projects. But on my backside is as far as clients can go. Well, I’m not thrilled with the idea of someone snaking a garden hose where the sun don’t shine, but, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S. (according to the CDC), so I understand the need and value of that particular exam.

Card Games

Back in ’93 or ’94, WREG did a month-long promotion with a drug store chain and St. Francis Hospital to encourage people to take the occult blood test and follow up if necessary. That’s the 3-part card with the popsicle sticks where you smear little bits of poo on the card and mail it back to the doctor or lab. At the time, several early cases were caught early, so I’m glad we went through the process (even though one of the anchors got to the point where he didn’t want to say “stool sample” anymore). Still, the idea of mailing one’s poo makes you think that the post office may actually deserve a rate increase.

One of the stories we did that month was to actually videotape a colonoscopy. The lady on the table was under some wicked sedation, so I don’t think she even noticed there was a TV crew in the room. I am a little disturbed by the mix they suggest you drink the day before the procedure. Anytime you’re urged to stay near a toilet to avoid accidents, that can’t be a good thing. The exam’s a couple of months away. Don’t expect pictures.

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About Doug Johnson

I spent 25 years in the news business, working in print, radio and television. After a steady rise to the middle, I made the leap to the private sector, which chewed and then tried spitting me out after 2 years. I zigged (instead of zagging) into a position in television production.
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6 Responses to A Long, Dark Tunnel

  1. Joy says:

    The stuff you have to drink is vile!!! But I’ve survived 2 colonoscopies, so you can too. Just be careful who you pick to be your driver for the ride home. You say some pretty loopy things until the rest of that sedation wears off.

    And I agree with you on the doctor/client thing. I don’t mind using my docs for the normal stuff, but I can’t imagine going to one of my OBGYNs and then having to sit there later to interview him/her. No way!

  2. Pam C. Roberson says:

    All I can say is ewww….

  3. Todd says:

    Doug, gee,…. uh, thanks for sharing.

    I don’t join the “over the hill” gang for another couple of years, and I’m not looking forward to that “necessary evil” doctor visit after 50.

    But I sure hope you are okay… and all those other tests turn out okay.

    Have a great weekend…

  4. Joy says:

    One more thing–be sure to find out in advance if the anesthesiologist your GI doc is using is in your medical insurance plan. Just because the GI is in the plan does NOT mean the anesthesiologist is. And they normally don’t tell you up front who it is unless you ask. So get it in writing from the GI office that they agree to use an anesthesiology group that’s in your plan. Scott learned the hard way, and we were left having to pay about $1,000 that insurance should have covered had the anesthesiologist been in our plan. I had mine done by the same GI group, yet the anesthesiologist they used for me was in the plan. It’s up to you to tell them before the procedure, or you’ll be charged out of plan fees. Good luck!

  5. Andy's Twin says:

    Dude, they gave me Propofol (the Michael Jackson sleep inducer/death inducer), and I was out like a light….no memory of any of it. The wife says I woke up and muttered, “I dreamed I was Michael Jackson”. The only negative part is the stuff you have to drink beforehand, but I didn’t think it was nearly as nasty-tasting as everyone led me to believe it was going to be. Kinda like extra-sour lemonade. My advice: the colder the better, and take big chugs so you don’t have to taste it so many times. (Or use a straw so it goes right to the back of your throat and bypasses most of the tastebuds on the tongue.) Best advice I got from the nurse: don’t mix it with anything that you like (say Sprite), because you’ll never want to drink Sprite again.

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