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John Lamb, Published November 01 2011

Lamb: Trying to talk about the other ‘C’ word

I may be stating the obvious here, but at 40 years, I feel like an old man.

The days of going out on Halloween with the cool kids are behind me. Instead, I stayed home and thumbed through old magazines to see if there were recipes to save before recycling, then went to bed after the nightly news’ weather update.

And when people ask me what’s new, the only development I can offer is, “Well, I had colonoscopy.”

If you ever want to get out of a conversation, drop the “C” word. I mean the other “C” word. No, the other, other “C” word.

Here, I’ll show you.

When Scott Hennen was talking up himself Monday night at what was supposed to be a talk between political odd couple Mary Matalin and James Carville, the chrome-domed and spiked, silver-tongued Carville could have squelched the meddling moderator with something like, “Scott, let me tell you about my colonoscopy.”

No one wants to casually chat about a colonoscopy. Since having mine, I’m not sure I’d want to hear about anyone else’s.

Let me clarify: The procedure itself was painless. I was given a mild sedative and dozed off easily. I was slightly groggy afterward, but mostly hungry.

That’s because you are on a mini-diet before the procedure. Two days out you start a low fiber diet and the day before, you’re on a mostly liquid diet. And no, that liquid wasn’t beer.

The drink is a gallon of water mixed with polyethylene glycol, better known by the catchy brand names GoLYTELY, NuLytely, GlycoLax, TriLyte, Halflytely, Softlax, ClearLax, MoviPrep and MiraLAX.

Apparently there is a market in naming laxatives, which is why I’m surprised no one has come up with the calming, Chill-Laxxx, “The whole bowel irrigation drink for the man on the go!”

I was prescribed GoLYTELY, and instructed to drink eight ounces of the mixture every 10 minutes until a half-gallon is gone. Then, six hours before the procedure, in my case 3:30 a.m., I had to drink the other half.

I don’t do shots and I don’t do power-hours, so drinking that much of anything in that short of a time period was by far the worst part of the routine.

So I was surprised when I called my insurer to see if the procedure would be covered, the woman asked, “Are you having this done for medical reasons?”

Really? Are there other reasons to get colonoscopies? Do people get them for cosmetic reasons?

With my family’s history of cancer I’ll have to go do it all over again in five years. While I and millions of others hope for a cure for cancer, I may just have to settle for another cool, refreshing Chill-Laxxx.


Readers can reach Forum reporter John Lamb at (701) 241-5533