IN MY OPINION
Books Read in 2006
DOIN' THE SHIPOOPI
15 August 2006
The "Shipoopi" is a dance that's all the rage among the young folks in River City, Iowa, in Meredith Willson's The Music Man. Today, however, "shipoopi" seems to have taken on a whole new meaning for me.
It came under my medical "don't ask, don't tell" policy that I talked about recently. Several years ago, when I had my last Pap smear (I had another one recently), the FNP (family nurse practitioner) asked me to get a flexible sigmoidoscopy...you know, where a total stranger gets much more intimate with your colon than anybody should.
I called Kaiser for an appointment, not particularly enthusiastic about the whole thing, and absolutely delighted when they told me that they were backed up (love the analogy) 8 months and that they would call me when there was an appointment slot for me.
They never did call and I was unenthusiastic enough about the whole thing that I didn't call back again. Don't ask, don't tell.
When I saw my new primary care physician recently, I had to admit that I was still waiting many years later for them to call with an appointment date.
She didn't buy my excuse.
They've now gone totally computerized at Kaiser and so she got on the computer and within minutes she had scheduled an appointment for me. There seemed to be no avoiding it: the flex-sig (as we call 'em in the biz) would take place.
But the PCP appointment was a few months ago and I could blissfully ignore the inevitable for as long as possible.
"Possible" has arrived.
Tuesday at 10:30 a.m., the deed will be done and so on Sunday night I would have my last full meal. There would be no food whatsoever, other than clear liquids, for the entire day on Monday. My stomach starts growling when it has gone 2 hours without something in it. I was not looking forward to trying to tame the wild belly for more than 24 hours. On Sunday I felt like a mother bear fattening up for the winter hibernation. Or Paula Deen fixing lunch.
In addition to no food, there is the dreaded "bowel cleansing routine," which involves several cups of 7-up, each with a tbsp of what I presume is a vile solution and an additional gallon or more of liquid. ("The more liquids you drink, the cleaner your bowels and the more accurate the test," it says, cheerily.)
I know the importance of a proper bowel prep. In my medical office employment days, I knew several people who worked in Internal Medicine. One person confided one day that a local high-ranking politician, one who wasn't liked very much, had come in for a flex-sig without following the instructions properly and during the procedure he had sprayed so much bowel content all over the room that the doctor had to change clothes afterwards and the medical assistant had to wash down the walls.
The guy left office, under a bit of a scandal, some years later and I smirked because the mental image I will always have of him is spraying feces all over the doctor, the nurse, the exam room and himself. Sort of prophetic, in a way!
Yes, I am very conscientiously following instructions for proper bowel prep!
I went to Safeway to buy 7-Up on Saturday. I never, ever drink soft drinks, but I thought that perhaps if they recommended this for "blending" with the taste of the Phospho-Soda solution, perhaps I'd try it. Do you know that at this particular Safeway location, I could not buy single cans of 7-Up, or even a 6-pack of 7-Up? I ended up buying TWELVE cans of 7-Up. Well...maybe it will help fill me up as part of all that liquid I have to drink.
The official "prep" was to begin at 3 p.m. on Monday, about the time I usually post the journal entry for the next day but I decided to wait and post it later in the day so I could share with you all the experience. I know how intimate we have all become.
Just call me the Katie Couric of the Internet.
I chose a thick book to read because I figured I would be spending a lot of time in the bathroom. Robin Cook's Marker, about a serial killer running rampant in a local hospital, killing people hospitalized for fairly innocuous conditions, seemed the perfect thing to accompany the evacuation of my intestinal tract in preparation for a semi-invasive procedure in a local hospital.
3 p.m. and time for the first dose. I expected something vile, but for once the people who said it was "unflavored" meant it. In 7-Up at least, it has no flavor. Just the flavor of 7-Up. Of course, bear in mind that I don't drink soft drinks and I just figured out that by the time I finish everything I'm supposed to take, I will have drunk six cans of 7-Up. Three between 3 and 3:30 and 3 more between 7 and 7:30. I may never drink 7-Up again.
Not only am I drinking an entire can, but I'm doing it in about 3 minutes because I take the first dose at 3 and the second dose at 3:10 and the third at 3:20. So you have to drink pretty fast. I'm also following each with a big glass of ice water, since I'm supposed to push fluids too (and it helps take the sickly sweet taste of the 7-Up out of my mouth).
As I write this, the nether regions are still quiet, but the bathroom is ready. There is fresh toilet paper on the roll and two more rolls plus a box of baby wipes and my book just waiting for the inevitable.
The Inevitable. I had my last dose of the first round of Phospho Soda solution at 3:20. I'm not sure what I expected. My only previous experience in this realm was with good old fashioned enemas, which act almost immediately and I expected the call of nature to come just as fast this time.
When I finally started to get an inkling that Something Was Happening, it was a soft, non-urgent sort of call. One that could be put off for a few moments. An "I'll be there in a minute, Mom" sort of call. Like the early stages of labor, when you get those early twinges and you're not sure of this is the real thing or not.
Eventually, the call was a little louder, like the call of a mother who is getting exasperated that her little one didn't come the first time. "All, RIGHT...I'll be right there!"
When the call finally got so insistent that it could no longer be ignored, I set off to start doing my own version of the "Shipoopi" (so much more pleasant than "explosive diarrhea" as a descriptive phrase, don't you think?)
I've never understood those people who spend half the day sitting on the toilet reading. I understand them even less now. There are definitely more comfortable and decidedly more pleasant places to read, to be sure!
I expect to be dancin' the Shipoopi for most of the rest of the evening.
Oh. And one word of caution. If you decide to ... uh ... "leave the dance floor," so to speak, and then realize maybe you should head back, but think that you'll just do this one little thing first....
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Somehow this isn't quite how I