'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
‘PREP DAY’ BRINGS HUNGER PANGS
I recently received my official “Happy 50th Birthday present”: a visit to Dr. Roto-Rooter. Thankfully, everything turned out fine—not a single colon polyp. And much more thankfully, I was completely anesthetized for the procedure.
Unlike Katie Couric, I will spare you the details of the procedure, and I definitely will not show home movies of the event on national TV. But like Katie, I will strongly recommend that everyone age 50 and older get a colonoscopy, and not just because Dr. Roto-Rooter needs a larger yacht. It can save your life.
The most interesting thing about the procedure (and I am using the definition of the word “interesting” that means: more uncomfortable than watching Katie Couric’s home movies) is the day before, known as Prep Day.
Prep Day means you prepare your intestines for the scope procedure, which means, basically, that your intestines have to be empty. They give you some medicine to speed up the process. This wasn’t too bad, but just make sure you have plenty of good reading material and a couple of rolls of Charmin. And by all means do not plan on venturing too far from your house’s “porcelain library.”
The worst part was the fact that you are not allowed to put anything back into your digestive system. Anything, that is, except substances such as water, apple juice, and Jell-O. Nothing personal against water, apple juice, and Jell-O, but they most assuredly are NOT food.
So the major epiphany I had during Prep Day was this: I like food. I mean, I REALLY like food!
And when I am forced to go more than 24 straight hours without any food, the only thing I think about is food. I tried to take my mind off of food by watching a movie on DVD. But as I sat on the couch and watched the film (maybe choosing the 1963 classic “Tom Jones,” especially the ribald banquet scene, wasn’t such a good choice), my hand started to rummage down between the sofa cushions hoping to find, say, a stray peanut or an M&M from five years ago. All my hand came up with was a paper clip and 37 cents in change, items I was very tempted to eat anyway.
My daughter came into the room carrying a small bowl filled with pretzel sticks. The pretzels were so alluring, I had to leave the room. I went downstairs to the den, where there was nothing to tempt me, other than whatever might be lurking in the cushions of a different sofa—two buttons, a broken pencil, and 42 cents. (The broken pencil reminded me a lot of a pretzel stick and it took superhuman effort not to begin chewing on it.)
I started to feel a little guilty for being so food-obsessed. While we Americans in the 21st century truly believe the Declaration of Independence guarantees us the “right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of all-you-can-eat buffets,” many people around the world routinely go more than 24 straight hours without any food. And not because they are prepping for a high-tech medical procedure. They go without food because there is no food.
Even though I had occasional pangs of guilt, the pangs of hunger were constant and much stronger. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, the next morning arrived, I had the procedure, and I could eat again. After giving me a clean bill of health, the doctor held out a small plastic bag and said, “Here, I found these during the procedure.” Inside the bag were two buttons, a paper clip, and 79 cents.
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