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.
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.
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.