Dick’s maternal grandfather died of colon cancer at the age of 43. He was diagnosed about 18 months before that, and left behind a wife and three children. When I realized that Dick would be turning 33 next month, and that we have three children I cannot raise alone, I started asking about colonoscopies.
My dad is usually my first stop for medical advice (okay, after the internet), and he said that, coincidentally, he was scheduling a colonoscopy for my mom because she just turned 50, which is the age screenings should begin for those with average risk.
If you have a grandparent, parent, sibling, or child with colon cancer, you’ll want to have your first colonoscopy (or other screening) done 10 years before they were diagnosed. Which for Dick meant yesterday.
As others will attest, the preparation for a colonsocopy is much worse than the actual exam. It involves 24-plus hours of a clear liquid diet and nasty-tasting bowel cleansing medicine. But I’m afraid I wasn’t very sympathetic. I have borne Dick three children, after all, and frankly, bodily dignity is not worth forgoing children or a long, healthy life.
For the actual exam, Dick was knocked completely out. Some people don’t actually fall asleep, but if you are at all sleep-deprived or situationally narcoleptic (like Dick), you’ll be out before they have the camera turned on. In the recovery room, Dick was incredibly cheerful and loopy. I mean, more so than usual.
Dick now owes me his life, because they found a polyp in his lower colon. Probably not cancerous, not yet, but they removed it and will do a biopsy. Fewer than 20% of forty-year olds have polyps, and the doctor and nurses all congratulated Dick on having such a loving wife.
While Dick was at the hospital, I cleaned furiously, because:
1. I felt guilty for being mad about something he’d said even after he apologized quite nicely.
2. The house was a serious wreck and no one should have to come home to dishes in the sink after getting their keister probed.
3. I had to take my mind off the fact that if the doctor accidentally perforated his colon and had to perform emergengy surgery and if Dick died from a freak scalpel accident, the last post of mine he ever read would be one where I neglected to mention that, though I would not die for him (unless our children were already dead), if something ever happened to him, I would not be happy to still be alive.
I promised a Back-to-School Edition of Things That Must Go today (I know, you probably didn’t even notice, or miss it, or care, but just pretend, okay?). And now I’m all posted out. Saturdays weren’t doing much for me anyway, so I think I’ll try posting Things That Must Go on Sunday nights. I have some great (bad) ones stored up, and I hope you do too!