Post Procedure Post

Well, it’s not exactly an operation—the various medical personnel refer to it as a procedure or an examination. But, the “sedation specialist” (that’s how she introduced herself—wouldn’t you just love that title on your business card?) hooked me up to an IV and oxygen, and put patches on my chest to watch my heart: it’s definitely more complex than a routine “examination”.

Coincidentally, I’ve been reading a book I discovered at our local and homey used bookstore, Gail Godwin’s 1994 novel The Good Husband. It’s some sort of riff on, among other literary works, Ford’s The Good Soldier—a novel I’ve now dug up to reread when I’m done with this one.  It’s a bit wordy and dense, but very readable.  Dr. Madga Danvers, famous for the pre-thesis-defense publication of her thesis (and only published book, even 24 years afterwards, The Book of Hell: An Introduction to the Visionary Mode–a) marries Francis Lake, a younger (by 13 years) seminary student. He dedicates his life for caring for her as a house husband (and, from what it sounds like, quite the sexy boy toy, as well as an excellent cook and decorator).  In the present, Magda is slowly dying of ovarian cancer, while Francis cares for her, and her colleagues raise money to create a “Chair of Visionary Studies” position/program in her honor. Meanwhile, temporary writer in residence, Hugo Henry (author of 8 novels—sounds sort of like a Pat Conroy/Prince of Tides Southern writer) and his wife, Alice, have recently given birth to a child who died choking on the cord, which of course is affecting their marriage and Hugo’s creative energies.  While Hugo travels giving visiting lectures across the country, Alice spends her days visiting Magda and Francis, who presumably have the “good marriage” that Alice is seeking.

Anyway, the connection to my “examination”:  Magda calls her last few months of living her “final examination”—in her less lucid moments, demanding that Francis bring her at least 3 blue exam books. The novel (so far, I’m only ½ finished) has these wonderful (but too brief) gems of dialogue, including the following discussion between Magda (slowly descending into a morphine induced sleep) and one of her colleagues from the English department (overheard by the more literal minded Francis, who is disturbed by his inability to track Magda’s way of talking/thinking on multiple levels at once):

“Something awful has occurred to me, Tony. What if, however hard you try on your exam, or however stupid or smart you are, everybody gets the same grade in the end?”

“Dear lady, you are truly inspired today. And of course we do, we all do get the same grade, in the sense I think you mean.”

So, I amused myself this morning trying to guess what happens next: Magda dying, of course, and Francis getting it on with Alice, and Hugo finding that he really does miss the Southern bells of his childhood fantasies (if I’d remembered that Ford novel, my guesses might be more accurate, eh?)—all this as a way of NOT thinking about how hungry (by this morning, it had been over 35 hours without food, just liquids) and scared I was about the whole procedure considering its purpose was not preventative or routine but diagnostic.

My hubby was the perfect Francis about the whole thing: egging me on to drink the 64 oz of medicated Gatorade last night in the required 2 hours, and then dressing me after the procedure while I was, from his own understated description, flying high on what had to be quite awesome drugs. And finally staying home for most of the day observing me as I slept, and making me peanut butter and honey on white toast when I awoke (it’s now my all time favorite food).  The good husband, indeed.

Besides the “sedation specialist” and the mental image I have of myself walking around naked, babbling and grinning wildly while poor hubby tries to dress me, there really isn’t any humor about the whole thing, but there is some wonderful news that of course I only heard after I woke up 3 hours later: all looked fine, no problems, and no repeat of the damned procedure for 10 years.  Of course I have to wait 24 hours before I can open that celebratory bottle of wine (or sign any legal documents, or drive a car–nothing in the documents I signed preventing me from blogging, however), but a cool glass of ginger ale and my good husband await me.

Summer Fun for Educators

I know that many of us involved in education save summertime (even those of us who teach in the summer) for a little r and r, (rest, relaxation, reading, writing, road trips, ruminating, roaring with glee, etc). 

But many of us also do unpleasant things like finally going to the doctor. I know, because getting an appointment in the summertime, even though I am free during the day, is quite the challenge. 

Of course some of that is because the doctors themselves, naturally, take their vacations during the summer, so the limited availability of appointments coupled with  the onslaught of teachers from pre-school through graduate school trying to cram in said appointments between our own vacations….Well, trust me, it’s a problem, especially in a small town with a limited number of doctors.

So, I’ve seen the dentist (who knew 35 year old cavities need to be replaced?), the “eye” doctor,  and my obgyn.  I was going to see the podiatrist, but put that off after hearing from the ob gym that, hmmm, there are some  indications of a problem, so you need to get a colonoscopy.

At 45, I was hoping to put that off for another 5 years (or so, after my big Thelma and Louise-like 50th birthdayweeks-long bash in Italy and Greece–without the Grand Canyon scene). 

I made an appointment for after my half marathons, but that was soon changed (the doctor had other plans). The new appointment is this week, but, it seems, I was not given the diet I should have been following for at least a week (who knew?!)  beforehand, so, mmm, we may need to reschedule for October, really such a wonderfully “free” month in terms of the academic calendar. 

I’ll find out tomorrow if that is really the case after I chat with the doctor (who, of course, is off on Mondays).

So, I’ve spent the morning searching the web for more on this supposed low-fiber diet I should have started, oh, either a few days ago, or 3 weeks ago, or not till tomorrow, depending on the author.  It’s brutal. I knew about the laxative and liquid diet required the day before, but nothing about the no-WINE rule a few days before (naturally I have a wine tasting party scheduled for Wednesday night–clearly that will be a blast for me). And really: my entire normal diet consists of nearly everything on the “do not consume” list. How much chicken broth can a girl eat when it’s nearly 100 degrees outside?

Anyway, the humor in all of this, whether or not the damn procedure is ultimately rescheduled for an incredibly inconvenient time like October, is that I found the following in my web search (and these are the creme de la creme of oodles of bloggings on the subject):

1. A first person account of a colonoscopy on a blog appropriately titled “I Laugh, Therefore I Am”

2. And, a blgo called, get this, Colonoscopy Blog.

3. A colonoscopy song (it’s actually quite catchy)