“Everything looks great,” exclaimed my internist at my annual check up. “But there’s one more thing.”
“What?” I wondered.
“Well, now that you’re 50 you get an extra special gift.”
I was so excited. I never had a doctor give me a gift before. As far as I knew none of my friends who were fifty ever got a gift from their doctor. I felt really special, and also like, “Heck yeah, I deserve a gift for turning fifty!”
“What is it,” I asked excitedly. “Jewelry? A Prada handbag? Louboutin shoes?” Those all seemed like excellent age appropriate gifts.
“Actually, now that you are fifty, you have to get a colonoscopy.”
I blinked and let the news sink in. A colonoscopy? That wasn’t a gift. That wasn’t even a cleanse. That was a complete overhaul of my personal indoor plumbing.
Expecting it couldn’t get any worse, I called my gastroenterologist to set it up.
“Hmmm,” he hmmmed. “I see on your chart that you haven’t had an endoscopy for five years,” he murmured. “Might as well kill two birds with one stone.”
“First of all, can we please not use the word kill?” I requested. “And secondly
please tell me you do this under anesthesia and also, the prep is not as bad as everyone tells me it will be.”
“Yes, you will be under anesthesia and yes, the prep is as bad everyone tells you it is,” he said cheerfully. “But hundreds of people have it everyday and it’ll be over before you know it.”
“Said like a true colonoscopy virgin who hasn’t turned fifty yet,” I replied.
Three days later I got my next gift in the mail – my colonoscopy/endoscopy prep kit. I’ve never wanted to return a gift so bad in my entire life. I’m not saying this thing has a bad reputation, but when I gave the scrip to the pharmacist, he shuddered and skittered away without looking back at me. Then I went home and told my husband he should get a hotel room because things were going to get ugly and he really didn’t want to be within 5 miles of it.
Now I’ve given birth to two children, house trained two dogs, and lived though a week of my entire family having the flu at the same time. But nothing prepared me for the things that would come out of my body over the next twelve hours. It was like the bathroom was possessed. It was almost like a Wes Craven movie and all I had was three rolls of Extra Soft Charmin to get me through the horror of it all. As I sat on the throne, I wondered why they called it a cleanse. To me it seemed more like a complete evacuation of an entire village. Mt. Vesuvious had nothing on me.
At that moment I regretted not buying more stock in toilet paper. I also regretted not leaving the country when I turned 50. But who knew? Although everyone goes through it, no one warns you. It’s the best kept crappy secret on the planet.
Finally after about twelve hours, things seemed to slow down and I declared my insides pristine as a NASA decontamination unit. Which was a good thing, considering I was about show my doctors a full moon.

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