Henry Rollins Gets a Colonoscopy
[Look for your weekly fix from the one and only Henry Rollins right here on West Coast Sound every Thursday, and come back tomorrow for the awesomely annotated playlist for his Saturday KCRW broadcast.]
At my age, state and station in life, I balance the great and utter futility of most action with the fact that, for the most part, I do what I do because I don't have much else going on. Cram a chunk of that into your Sartre bong and spark it.
The idea that life is what you make it was never a truth to which I gave much thought. It was right up there with "It is what it is" and other traction-free gatherings of words. Acceptance and responsibility for your existence allows you to pick up a lot of speed and have some laughs along the way.
Now, you might be wondering why I am coming at you all world-weary and pseudo-intellectual with such trifling piffle. Good question. First off, I believe everything I just stated to be true. Secondly, just a few hours ago, I was lying on my left side with a hose up my ass and I wanted to find the right way to tell you.
A couple of weeks ago, I went to see a doctor to look at my throat. Heidi May, a woman who has been at my office and running my life for the last 16 years, asked the doctor if he could get me in line for a colonoscopy. He smiled and said that, by gosh, they do them right in his office. Suddenly, I was booked for a 1030 hrs. "procedure" a few days later.
I was given a prescription for MoviPrep, a wonderful mixture of sodium sulfate, sodium chloride, potassium chloride, sodium ascorbate and ascorbic acid. The night before, you mix it with water and drink as directed, two liters' worth. The next day they knock you out and snake a tube up your keister.
The timing of all this could not have been better. There I was, on Valentine's Day, answering emails from women and politely dodging their sometimes very direct amorous thrusts, as they detailed all the activities we could engage in should we be in the same room. They also expressed the sincere hope that I was with someone doing something very naughty.
I tell you all that because, while all this was happening, my body was ambitiously evacuating every ounce of material from my digestive tract. The efficiency of MoviPrep can not be understated. Wow, what a product!
Good grief, are humans disgusting. As I sat there, a human hydrant, venting great, spasmodic, thundering jets of fluid, I contemplated the incredible wretchedness of humankind, in spite of our contributions monumental and minute. I tried to find my place in the great scheme of things. Moments like these make a philosopher out of anyone. The Mel Brooks kind, not Martin Heidegger.
Sleep eventually overtook me. The next morning, I arose ... an empty vessel. I was beyond food. I was Zarathustra, come down from the mountain. From the office, Heidi and I made our way to the doctor's. Not allowed to drive, I had ample time to prepare material. I was going to open with some gerbil jokes and see where it took me.
We got to the reception area and checked in. Contemporary jazz music piped through the system. The nice young woman behind the desk beamed as she said, "You're here for a colonoscopy!" as if it was just the best damn thing ever. I confirmed, did the last of the paperwork and took a seat.
I went through issues of People magazine and wondered if any of the adult male actors in the photos had ever been to this office to have a tube stuck in their ass. I stopped on a photo of Tom Hanks and thought about that for a while. No offense, Tom. My mind started to wander and I saw an image of John Boehner and Mitch McConnell face to face, lying on their sides having simultaneous procedures. "Whatchadoin'?"
At 1030 hrs. sharp, a woman came into the reception area and called my name. Go time. She introduced herself and asked me how old I was. "Twenty-seven?" I ventured. She didn't buy it.
Within minutes, I was down to a pair of socks and a gown, open in the back. I kept my watch on out of defiance. I imagined how funny I would look running down the street with just the socks and the gown on when the taser hit me. I think it would be the watch that the passers-by would remember as I lay twitching.
Minutes later, the anesthesiologist came in and briefed me on what was going to happen. He said the word colonoscopy so brightly and sharply, you could have bounced a dime off of it. He said there would be a sedative, and when the doctor said go, he would knock me out. I was told to roll onto my right side. With the sedative in my system, all I could think was, "Hey sport, how do you want to make it?"
The doctor came in, all smiles. Asked if I was ready. "It's your tube, pal," I thought but said yes. That's about all I remember.
I woke up sometime later. The woman who brought me in asked if I was OK. I was. She was smiling. Something was funny. "Do you remember anything you were saying?" she asked. I was talking? At some point during the procedure I was told everything was fine and that my friend Heidi was in the reception area. Apparently, I went off on a rant about how she runs my life. They found it funny enough to tell Heidi. When I finally emerged, everyone was laughing. I was a hit with the Beverly Hills med set.
As a parting gift, I was given photos that the camera took of me so I can relive the fun anytime I want.
The colonoscopy was humbling and like a lot of things in life -- it totally sucked. Well, it's behind me now ... and isn't everything but the bright, bold future? Hey now!
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