(SNN) - If you've survived another Holiday Season of horrific hangovers and world class gastric distress, this one's for you...
Some years ago my tummy ached for a week. “Ignore it and it will go away” has always been my medical mantra, so I refused to see a doctor. Instead, I tried my usual over-the-counter remedies—Tums, Pepto-Bismol, Canadian Club.
“I think you should see a doctor,” an imaginary person, created just for this article, suggested.
“You know, I’m going to take your advice,” I said.
“What changed your mind?”
“Nothing specific. Just a gut feeling.”
Pain I can handle. Worry I can take. I eat Gassy Buildup for breakfast. But when the lame puns start, I know something is seriously wrong with me.
So I went and got an exam from my day-to-day, aches-and-pains, sniffles-and-fits General Practitioner.
“Whattaya say, Doc?”
He said, “You want a second opinion? You’re ugly, too.”
“Hold it, you never gave me a first opinion,” I argued.
“You see what I did there?” he said. “I switched that old chestnut of a joke.”
So I kicked him in his own chestnuts and went to a Gastroenterologist.
“Gastroenterologist” is a ten-dollar word for a Gizzard Doctor, or as the French say, a Gizzardier.
The Gizzardier suggested an Endoscopy. Endoscopies and the yuckier Colonoscopies invade and investigate the digestive tract—from soup to nuts.
Endoscopies enter through the front door. Colonoscopies use the service entrance. Gizzardiers often perform several of each during the same surgical session. The rest of the time is spent washing their hands.
Each procedure uses a long, flexible, tube-like device that—much like a cell phone—has a tiny camera attached. Not to worry though. There hasn’t been a phone attached to a Colonoscope since the Great Butt-Dialing Scandal of 2006.
I will be given general anesthesia. My Gizzardier will use the video camera to peek at my swallower, my windpipe, my ukulele, and my soup kitchen. If necessary, he’ll take a tour of the ol’ Upper Duodenum—not to be confused with Ye Olde Upper Duodenum, a high snoot community near Beverly Hills.
On the appointed day I go to the surgical suites at the Los Angeles Discount Medical Center and Car Wash. They run patients through operating rooms with maximum efficiency and also turn a little profit detailing your Buick.
Right off the bat, I have to sign a form agreeing that if I croak, become paralyzed, or can’t remember my hat size I may not sue my Gizzardier nor his Gizzardierettes.
Paperwork done, I’m given a buzzing, flashing, restaurant-style pager and trundled off to the waiting room.
A half hour later my buzzer plays The 1812 Overture and announces: “Corcoran, party of one? Your operating table will be ready as soon as the busboys clear off the bloody bandages.”
Soon I'm off to the surgical waiting room and ordered to doff my duds and get into bed.
“Not without dinner and a play first,” I crack wise. Nothing. Dead silence. Not a giggle. Tough room.
I glumly get into the traditional green, tie-string, backless, assless, personal peignoir patients must wear, and I climb into bed.
I kill time eavesdropping on patients in adjoining beds. A guy in for a Colonoscopy recounts his recent bowel movements in encyclopedic detail. He's followed—not too closely, one would hope—by a woman telling her nurse she finger paints with her excess bodily fluids and sells them on eBay.
Eventually I'm rolled into the combination operating room/detailing shop. Once in place, my gas passer hooks me up with anesthesia while the rest of the pit crew attaches monitors, monitors attachments, and lubes my crankshaft.
“I’m going to count down from 100, okay?” gas passer says. “100…Ninety- ni…”
How the hell did I get to the recovery room so fast?
I don't remember anything from the procedure--which is fine with me. I learn later they used the same kind of anesthesia Michael Jackson favored—which may explain why I can now Moon Walk.
My Gizzardier comes by and tells me everything “looks good” but fails to explain why he is now wearing a sundress. He then leaves to wash his hands.
A few days later, as if by magic, my tummy ache goes away.
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