Ok no problem, I'm doing just fine

Now most of you will have never had to experience the world of colonoscopies. This is basically where a perfect stranger has a completely normal conversation with you while leaning against your naked butt cheeks and thrusting a camera on a stick up it. If you are in the ‘my butt is still my own’ category I salute and envy you.

I sincerely hope this never becomes a reality for you. But please spare a thought for me – for whom this is a three-yearly torture in the name of health.

The whole thing starts a couple of days before when you practically starve yourself while drinking two large drinks of a purging solution. I can only describe this as a stink bomb in thick syrupy liquid form. And then within hours of your first glass of the solution you realize you will be practically living next to the toilet until your ‘procedure’. Still at least my colon will be squeaky clean and pearly pink for the procedure.

Colonoscopies it seems, are an old-persons thing. I have learnt over the years to go for my procedure in smart clothes – that way if I feel completely out of place I can just grab a stethoscope, loiter at the edge of the waiting room intelligently and pretend to be a consultant. I swear even the consultants don’t realize I’m a fake until my name is called out and I quickly wrap the stethoscope round a sleeping pensioner’s shoulders.

On occasion you see a fellow under 65er in the waiting room and as eyes meet across the room you share the look. The look of understanding and camaraderie that sharing a life-long ‘stomach’ condition gives. I always say ‘stomach condition’ – so much more dignified that colon disease. People automatically recoil as if that somehow puts you in the biblical leper category. Or if you do admit you have a colon condition – they say ‘oh IBS yes I have that – its awful’. I wish I did only have IBS – that would make life so much simpler. Not that IBS isn’t unpleasant of course but.. oh never mind.

One thing you need to know is that there is very little that renders me speechless. But a French man speaking English to me… ooh la la and flustery bustery indeed. This makes me just stare open-mouthed, like a Labrador puppy waiting for my tummy to be tickled. On my most recent colonoscopy procedure the nurse called me in to the room, took my blood pressure which was too low to safely give me a sedative (as flippin always) and got me into position on the couch. I always like to face the screen so that I can see the inside of my bowel and colon. You may be thinking that this is weird – you’re probably right. However there’s not many of you that can claim you have gone on a journey up your own bottom.

I digress. So, as I lay on the procedure table on my side, backside exposed to the world I hear the voice of a Frenchman. Oh my dancing days – a Frenchman is going to go up my bottom. And not only that, but a gorgeous Frenchman. Groaning inwardly, I take consolation in the fact this is probably a slightly more pleasant change for him after weeks of going up pensioners wrinkly behinds.

You know when you start saying stupid things and even as the words come out of your mouth you are regretting them?


“Ooh you’re French, you could be my father. Of course you’re probably not because you’re clearly completely different colouring to me and I guess you didn’t live on the French/swiss border in the 70’s and of course my father would be in his 60’s by now and you’re far too handsome to be…”

This gorgeous specimen of a French doctor just looked at me with a bemused smile on his face. Well at least I made him smile – it can’t be easy seeing backsides all day.

The procedure itself is about as humiliating and undignifying as is humanly possible. A long tube gets thrust up your behind and just when you are wondering how many metres left of colon there is to explore and whether it’s actually possible to be in so much pain and not pass out, he gives the nurse the look (I recognize this look now) and he says: “Alors Mademoiselle, this might start to get a little uncomfortable now”

“What the almighty chuff? I am literally dying here – you seem to have forgotten that I am not sedated” is what I’m thinking. Instead I smile and say “ok no problem I’m doing just fine”

Then he starts to pump air in – he is literally blowing up my colon like one of those clown modeling balloons. Have you ever had severe trapped gas? The type that makes you double up in pain self-diagnosing yourself with appendicitis? It’s basically that, but long and drawn out and slowly getting progressively worse. The problem with blowing air in is that it has to come out again and there’s only one way for this to come out. Yep. As the dishy French guy retracts unending coils of camera from my rather ample butt, air comes with it too.

Cue more humiliation. Releasing (albeit fresh and non-odourous) gas in the face of the dishy consultant. At last this whole procedure ends. And I walk back through the waiting room looking as elegant and lady-like as I possibly can – releasing additional bottom belches of air with every step. They really should have a de-gassing room for us all to sit in for a couple of hours and merrily trump away with no embarrassment. We could form a trumping band and release an album and be famous – like phoenixes rising from the ashes of pain… anyway back to the story.

My long, painful and utterly humiliating experience is over for another three years and I happily strut to the car with my long-suffering mother-in-law but I can feel the waves of pain of a not so insignificant trump (that’s ‘fart’ for non-northerners) that needs to come out before I actually get in the car. The mum-in-law and I are pretty much as well acquainted as is humanly possible so I think nothing of taking a quick glance around to make sure we are alone by the car before letting out what I can only describe as a butt-rippling roar.

Oh the utter relief. Oh the utter mortification as the chuckling from just behind me tells me all I need to know. A young, good looking, suited man is practically doubled over his steering wheel laughing in the car less than a metre from my bottom – with his window open.

Roll on 3 years time - bring on the merriment, pain and wind.

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