To Health: I’ll drink to that!

I came. I saw. I colonoscopied.

For some reason, we don’t discuss things medical in polite company, redacting our files with a Hippocratic care.

I have a little medical procedure is code for you’ll need a subpoena to get anything more out of me.

And with colonoscopies, a lot comes out.

Before making it to the AARP convention that broke out in the doctor’s waiting room, I had to prep. People, generally, are comfortable talking about this leg of the procedure. The comfort of home, the discomfort of that supposedly fruit-flavored potion, the commonly shared face-turning tales.

But not for me. I remember my dad’s prep for his first: the jug of liquid death, the gallons of water, the deeply impressionable retching sounds. Men weren’t made to endure much discomfort.

Thankfully, medicine has come to the aid of our weakness.

I don’t know if “cranberry” was in fact the true flavor profile of my medically prescribed cocktail—but at two 5oz bottles and no bitter aftertaste, the prep liquid was really not much to speak of. I wouldn’t order it off a menu—rarely do I like my drinks with a side of bloating. But my suggestion: don’t demand the pills, at least out of hand.

I always thought a purge might not be the worst thing in the world. Re-set the body. Get rid of the excess. Feel fresher.

Not so sure anymore. Let’s just say chicken bouillon never tasted so good.

And let’s also say: it’s amazing how little we need for our bodies to keep pumping. Needs and wants strike different after thirty-six hours of clear liquid fasting.

Having survived the preparation—and life under its shadow—I sat waiting for my name to be called. The quiet of the waiting room was peppered with generational problems. Do they know you’re here?! Go ring the bell again! Why can’t they put the President’s Cup on the television??

Apparently, this was my generation now.

Just before heading to the commotion of wall-to-wall, wheeled-bed-after-wheeled-bed examinations, I was summoned for the mandatory intake. “I’m a Medicaid patient,” I made certain to emphasize after an NPR piece told the story of a $2,000 bill at the end of one of these. “I’m thankful for John Bel Edwards’s healthcare expansion,” I intended to mean.

As we went through the disclosure checklist, the receptionist had one last warning: “No drinking and driving until tomorrow morning.”

The toughest pill to swallow: my reckless ways would have to wait until Saturday. I texted Jen to withhold from me either the car keys or the whiskey handle on the ride home.

And like that, it was done. We should make clear that the preparation is probably not the worst part of the colonoscopy process. The performing the colonoscopy probably is. I don’t want to see that—or the photo album handout they supply at the end.

So many people, in and out of the examination room. So many tests monitoring a serious but catchable ailment. These were my people.

And I went home feeling a little safer, a little better, with a little more reason to celebrate. 

Which, of course, I waited until Saturday morning to do.


Listen to much Tony Sheridan and the Beat Boys? If not, this is the week to do it! Before the Fab-Four went on to superstardom, they did some backup work for Tony Sheridan, who was viewed by some as the real musical star of the bunch. Meeting through club gigs in Germany, Sheridan and the Beatles recorded an album together in 1962. As “Beatles” was too close to the German for the male organ, the album was released by “Tony Sheridan and the Beat Boys.” The most notable album track? Our city anthem: “When the Saints Go Marching In.” May there be numerous occasions for such a beautiful sound in London this Sunday.

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