“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 in your fifties 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 ever got a gift from their doctor.  I felt really special, and also like, “Heck yeah, I deserve a gift for being in my fifties!”

“What is it,” I asked excitedly.  “Jewelry? A handbag?  a pretty scarf?”  Those all seemed like excellent age appropriate gifts for someone who was in excellent shape.

“Actually, now that you are in your fifties,  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.

I was so excited.  I never had a doctor give me a gift before.  As far as I knew none of my friends ever got a gift from their doctor.  I felt really special, and also like, “Heck yeah, I deserve a gift for being in my fifties!”

“Hmmm,” he hmmmed. “I see on your chart that you haven’t had an endoscopy for 5 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.”

“Yeah, that’s what they said about childbirth,” 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 script 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 joy of the next twelve hours.  It was like the bathroom was possessed.  It was almost like a Wes Craven movie and all I had were 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 5fifty 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 to show my doctors a full moon.


©2020, Beckerman. All rights reserved. Follow Tracy on her Facebook Fan page at Facebook.com/LostinSuburbiaFanPage,  join the Lost in Midlife group at facebook.com/groups/lostinmidlife/ and follow on Instagram @TracyinMidlife


  • Mary

    Never try it without meds. My son couldn’t take me and I was already cleaned out so I told the doctor I’d do it without drugs. My brother told me he always did it awake and helped move the hose around the curves. Heck I could do that. In fact in 1979 I did it in the doctors office leaning over a saddle reading a book! The nurse said that was only the first 10 feet! So off I went and it was very hard. I told the doctor afterwards that I’d never do that again and he was surprised as he gets his done awake. Yeah, I replied, but did you have a nurse screaming RELAX and squeezing your guts so hard you got bruises? I deserved a medal for not decking her!

    • admin

      I can’t imagine doing it without drugs. Yikes! More power to you – you’ve got some courage, for sure!

  • Sharon Dillon

    Well said. I could laugh since the story wasn’t about me. When I get the news about a colonoscopy I hide under the bed. It takes my two daughters and their husbands to get me out. Then they stand guard at the bathroom door.
    I beg, “Give your mom, an old lady, a break. Let me out, PPLLEEAAZZZZE!!
    They laugh and I yell, “Just wait! Someday you’ll have to do this!”

    • admin

      My kids think it’s funny too. But we all have to get it done in the end. (Get it. In the end?). Lol!

  • Pearl Carter

    Thank goodness i live in the UK Yea we get checked at certain ages for all sorts But Colonoscopies and Endoscopies are not first line. Yea i know we get it free so some will say thats why.

    Yep like i was told i could not have been diagnosed with ET Jak2 without a BMB Nope it can be all done with blood tests. No need for a BMB when its clear and in your face from the blood test.

    • admin

      Better to be on the safe side, I suppose. Be nice if it was free here in the U.S. too!

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