Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Regis, Kelly, the Geneva Convention and a Colonoscopy

It's not like I meant to get up at six in the morning: usually that's reserved for things I enjoy doing.  But I smiled (sort of) and did my husbandly duty, escorting my wife for her diagnostic procedure this morning.


Before you have a diagnostic instrument inserted into your choice of orifices, there's generally some sort of preparation.  This can range from simply not eating to taking all sorts of interesting medicines, with what one can only describe as spectacular results.

My wife, being the woman she is, went for spectacular.  And why not - she deserves some spectacular in her life.  [FAB-u-lous!]

The way it was explained to me, my wife's plumbing is like her husband - a little slow.  As a result, she had to go with the half-week super-spectacular preparations.  Rather than explain it to you, let's just say it involved pills, ginger ale, a hamster and four to six midgets.

I'm reasonably certain I missed the best parts of the prep.  The only thing I really witnessed was her talking to me one moment, then leaping like mad for the bathroom (with one crazed cocker spaniel attempting to keep up).  It would have been amusing if it weren't so downright hysterical.

I don't know what side effects the medicinal preparation claimed but in total they had the effect of turning a perfectly normal (and FAB-u-lous!) woman into a gas-spewing man.  From all available outlets.  It was like the guys digging in your yard hit a gas main and couldn't quite figure out how to shut it down.  Between gaseous exhalations, my wife found this quite amusing.

The musical question then became `how do you convince a dog who knows how to open the bathroom door to stop it'?

I don't know how she did it but she finally went to bed.  I was terrified to get next to her but as there were no rhythmic tents appearing and disappearing, I figured it was probably safe.  The dog seemed relatively unaffected, serving as my canary in this particular coal mine.  And wasn't I lucky that there were no noises as I crawled into bed..


Her phone went off at four o'clock.  Never mind, I thought, that's just email.  Bless her heart, she left email notification on.  I can only guess at the treasure that felt the necessity to slam into her email at that time of the morning.  Probably an urgent missive from some shopping site or a polite offer for Viagra.

After what seemed like moments, it was six.  Even the dog wasn't interested in being awake.  He kept wondering what his mommy was doing and feigning sleep so she wouldn't drag him outside.  To no avail.

When the hospital tells you to be there at seven, they're not kidding.   And when I say not kidding, I mean that the time of arriving is arrived at by a complex numerical and illogical process so secret that nobody in the entire chain knows what it is.  Therefore they just throw out a time and hope people show up.

Check-in is a breeze, almost like a cheap motel, only forty minutes longer.  There are over seventy separate forms that must be filled out with information such as third nephew's cell phone number and husband's favorite dessert.  The twin ironies here are that

  1. they asked for all this information last time
  2. they don't need it - it goes right into the shredder
It turns out that check-in is just the first in a long series of exercises designed to frustrate the patient, create employment for the extremely elderly and incompetent members of the board's extended family, and frustrate the patient.   Oh yeah, and to hike the insurance rates.

I don't know about you but our medical premiums have gone up nearly fifteen percent yearly, with an accompanying leap in copays but no additional coverage.  In order to keep down the number of people using the emergency room for primary care, they instituted a fifty dollar fee for emergency room visits, waived if there was an admission.  Now it's a one hundred dollar fee, which becomes five hundred dollars if there is an admission.  Now we need a fee to discourage people from staying home when they get sick.

Having said that, the fee for the short procedure unit was three hundred.  I sure picked a bad time to work in an industry that doesn't get bailed out.


We were directed to a waiting room.  Do you know why they're called waiting rooms?  Because the doctors get some sort of perverse joy from making you wait.  I knew a physician who couldn't wait til he could afford to expand his waiting room because it made him look even more important.  He felt that the more people he could make wait, the better a doctor that made him.  I wonder if he ever got properly medicated....

Sitting down, one could hardly miss the concert volume of the television, which was busy blasting the blasted Kelly Rippa show.  We were spared Regis, as they are getting ready to watch him fade into the sunset.  The joke is on them, though.... Regis has been dead for twenty years.  The man makes Al Gore look animated (and I've only seen him in commercials).

I could hardly contain my excitement when I discovered that the cohost was Katie Couric.  How they could fit that much cute on one show, no one will ever know.   You'd think it would reach critical mass and explode on camera.

The larger problem here, content aside, was the volume at which this nonsense poured out of the hospital television.  Mind you, my television isn't anywhere near as nice as the hospital television.  I also can't charge people for watching it (or can I?).   But it seemed as though the telly had an entire sound system for the express purpose of making patients deaf.  Even the old people's ears were bleeding....

Just as we were attempting to become comfortable in the spineless seats set out for our lounging pleasure, we were escorted to a much nicer waiting room.  Much nicer in that the television was not causing deafness (just partial hearing loss).

Did you know that blasting Regis and Kelly at the unwilling (and let's face it - who is willing?) is a violation of the Geneva Convention?

At this point, someone's relic of a relative walked in with a brand new computer system to take down the same old information.  We asked her why wasn't it transferred from the perfectly fine old computer system.  She mumbled a bit and asked us a few questions about President Roosevelt.  Then only fifty or sixty of the same questions asked at check-in.  She asked pages of questions then, almost as fast as you can say shouldn't be allowed near a computer, she deleted the answers.  Some of her beefier coworkers came in and gently carried her away so procedures could start eventually....


You could have knocked me over with a feather: I had cell phone reception deep in the bowels of the hospital (oh great, a bowel reference... how clever).  Well, there you have it: me saying something nice about T-Mobile (nah, the hospital must have set up repeaters indoors).

So I started waiting.

About ten minutes into my waiting, a nice staff member asked if I was with a patient (apparently she didn't remember talking to me ten minutes earlier) and said that I could wait in the original waiting room.  Well sure, if someone would have asked earlier, I would have gone there.  Certainly don't know to go there on my own...

Unfortunately, the Katie and Kelly Show had somehow managed to attain additional volume (and additional cuteness).  With a pair of in-ear phones, cranked past Painful, I could not drown out the volume (and worse, the content).

Have you ever endured the pain of George Stephanopoulos discussing Dancing with the Stars on a morning show?  Having to watch the premier of an Americans Idle winner's new album (fresh from the Noise Factory)?

As if it couldn't get any worse, Rachel Ray appeared.  I know this is Rachel Ray from her Dunkin Donuts commercials, just like I know Regis from the Stupid Bank Commercials.  In addition to being deceased, the man apparently has no nasal passages.

Rachel doesn't appear as overtly cute as Kelly, so I hoped for some semblance of sanity.  In morning tv, you say?  HA!  

Luck just wasn't with me, as one of more attention-y whores of the Kardashian family came on to discuss Rachel and some connection they had.  I had given up on my headphones, even to simply block out the cacophony.  I was in such a bad state that I was starting to consider Christianity (or something) when I saw in the distance a vision.  A very attractive nurse was holding up rags, attempting to call my name in semaphore.


They brought me to my wife, who looked worse than I felt.   Perhaps they had Rachel Ray on in the operating room too.

But no; she was sitting up, hunched over (don't even attempt to visualize this), and rocking a bit.

Failing in the Witty Entrance Department, I asked if she was ok.

Major fail.

Apparently it was an interesting procedure, in which they did things that shall not be described nor repeated in polite (or otherwise) society.  And then the aftershocks started.  She was sitting there with what is referred to as an emesis basin but we regular folks call a puke bucket (in harvest gold).

She was making very good use of said basin, emesis-ing like a pro.  Unfortunately with each surge of activity from the north, there was a corresponding blast from the south.  The prep was still making her a man!  If we could only bottle that stuff, we would end our dependence on foreign oil.  And local oil.

And if we could have rocked her manually, we would have the most interesting and complex musical instrument Simon Cowell had never seen.

The problem, at the moment, was trying to decide what to do with myself.  It was apparent that I could not be of any assistance.  I was vacillating between making myself invisible, yelling SOMEBODY GET ME A DOCTOR, and laughing hysterically.  I wisely chose invisibility (saving the hysterical laughter for the blog post I was already composing in my head).


If you are to have any sort of procedure involving tubes and orifices, it will not go this way (at least in terms of gas, emesis and pain).  You will absolutely fall victim to the hospital and its staff but that's as it should be.

You should be screened for All This Stuff<tm> when you reach a certain age or show symptoms.

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