I assume that somewhere on the curve someone had a fantastic high school experience, felt secure in themselves, always had great outfits and dates, made straight A’s, drove a sweet car, and never had pimples that looked like and felt like this:
It wasn’t me or anyone I know, but the truths of the universe are that there has to be someone, somewhere.
Eventually I realized everyone feels more-or-less the same way: shy, insecure, or unhappy with their looks or shape. The realization never stopped me from continuing to feel vaguely shy, insecure, and unhappy with my looks and shape. It did help me realize that most people feel the same, and that they’re thinking more about their insecurities than mine.
Thus I figured things get better with time. You get over issues, you get to buy the car you want and eventually, maybe, pimples quit growing on the end of your nose the day before the big meeting with the boss or the morning of your wedding.
I was an idiot.
The first time I heard, “you know, at your age…” I was over 30 and pregnant with twins, but none of the warnings and worries happened and the boys turned out fine despite me.
The next time I heard, “you know, at your age…” I was turning forty and it occurred to me that, at his age, if the Dr. said that very many more times I might punch him.
Let me tell you something: they don’t quit saying it. In fact, the chances of hearing that increase exponentially and annually. It becomes an inevitable conversation at each checkup, as certain as the pimple fated for the tip of my nose the day of Prom. You can try to ignore it, get rid of it, hide it with powder and Clearasil, and/or beg little baby Jesus, who’s sittin’ in his crib watchin the Baby Einstein videos, but you are going to Prom with a big-ass zit and nothing is changing that. Just as certain, at some point, it will be mentioned that “at your age” it’s time for a colonoscopy. Images of Depends, Dentucream and Life Alert flash through your mind.
WARNING: Contents below contain graphic imagery of pain and suffering and incredibly bad puns. Read at your own risk.
You’re old enough for a Colonoscopy. A turning point in life, this is where the shit gets real.
A nurse returned my call. Doctor does procedures on Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning. The day before you may consume Jello and Popsicles (no red food dye), Sprite, and chicken broth. You may have nothing by mouth the day of the procedure.
If you’re smart – and if you’re still reading this, you are not – you quickly realize if you have the procedure Monday afternoon, then from Saturday night to Monday morning you’ll have nothing but Jello, Sprite, Popsicles, and something which boasted to be chicken broth but tasted rather like old shoes must. OR – you can choose door Number Two and only suffer Monday, wake Tuesday morning and immediately proceed to the procedure. I chose Number Two. They will send a packet of information in the mail. “Packet” smacks of delusions of grandeur. What you get is a small flat envelope telling you where and when to arrive and a prescription for something called Movi-Prep.
Are. You. Shitting me? MOVI? PREP?
I surreptitiously slid the prescription to the tech, who searched the shelves and announced loudly and proudly, “MOVI-PREP? YEP, WE HAVE MOVI-PREP” and handed me something the size of a shoe box. “Holy crap, I have to drink all of that?? “
Home, reading the instructions, no, I don’t have to drink all of it. I have to drink more of it, as I was instructed to mix it with 32 ounces of water.
At 4pm: Empty contents of Packet A into container C and fill to 32 ounces. Drink 8 ounces of preparation every 15 minutes along with 16-24 additional ounces of water.
At 8pm: Repeat with Packet B
4 pm: I chugged 8 ounces of Movi-Prep, which immediately almost came out my nose but I swallowed back the gag, gulping salty, sour lemon dish soap with a hint of metal shavings as quickly as possible. It seems four minutes later the timer dinged. This time I had an ice water chaser nearby.
4:30 pm: I finished the 3rd dose. A flock of chirping, chittering birds starts flying about in my abdomen.
4:45 pm: Nascar begins warm-up laps.
5:02 pm: As my running coach once noted, it’s extremely difficult to run clenching your sphincter. No shit.
5:35 pm: I wobble to the bedroom.
5:35:30 pm: I am birthing fireworks.
6:15 pm: I walk feebly to the bed.
6:15:30 pm: Is this an exorcism? What is this? How the f*ck do I have this much sh*t in my body? I’m going to die! Can you sh*t to death?? I imagine it. Hubs calls 911. “SHE’S ON THE TOILET! SHE’S BEEN IN THERE FOR DAYS! YOU HAVE TO HELP HER!” But it’s too late. They don hazmat suits and tell him to wait outside, the house is not safe, and please be sure all pilot lights are extinguished.
7:42 pm: NATO has finally brokered a peace treaty with the Movi-Prep.
8:00 pm: Begin second round. Surely this will be a piece of cake. Oh…gawd…cake…ewww…
8:15 pm: There is a Volkswagen full of clowns in my stomach.
8:17 pm: I move the Movi-Prep to the bathroom counter. It’s faster that way. Hell, that sh*t’s fast any which way.
8:45 pm: Accompanied by the yowling of cats in heat in my stomach, I gag down part of the last dose. I finally give up, pouring half of it down the drain. The drain had a consistent clogging issue. Had.
Time becomes a haze of exploding volcanoes and dreams of ice baths. Napalm and stuff that existed before I was born is taking its leave. At some point in the night I staggered to the bed and slept.
A. My friend recently had a 6″ pre-cancerous polyp and 8″ of her intestine removed. Upon the follow-up visit the Doctor told her, had she waited a year, he would have been discussing her end-of-life options. Her children are in high school.
C. It’s all over in a few hours. Do what the doctor says.
D. My report came back All Clear.