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August 12, 2013

Colonoscopy isn't much of a pain in the ...

Big Chuck
The Daily Star

---- — When a professional looks you in the eye and says, “Sit down, I have something I want to talk to you about,” your normal reaction is a flexing of the gluteus maximus and the appearance of sweat drops on the palms of your hands.

It could be your realtor advising you that an offer has come in on your house, but it is $50,000 below your asking price. Ouch. Or your lawyer whispering to you, “We have a little problem on last year’s taxes.” You know what I mean.

Well, it happened to me a month ago. Doc Landry was flipping through my charts during a routine visit to Bassett Healthcare when he reached a page, did a few “oohs” and “umms” and then looked up at me and said with a smile, “Looks like somebody is ready for their colonoscopy.”

“Let me guess. That’s would be me, right, Doc?”

Cue the butt tightening and palm sweat.

I just had my colonoscopy last Tuesday.

What is the inherent fear of this outpatient surgery? We all need it when we reach a certain age, men and women alike. I just think the brochure writers have not come up with the perfect euphemisms yet to gently describe the procedure. Most think of it akin to paying a visit to Torquemada’s dungeon.

Not so.

I arrived on time at Bassett on River Street in Oneonta. I was in a good mood, actually a euphoric mood. I had eaten only two small bowls of lime green Jell-O in the last 30 hours. And that was it. Gallons of water to kick off the prep, some weird chemical that they give you for a (euphemism alert) “robust cleansing” and a series of all night runs to the (euphemism alert) “comfort room” and I was ready for my performance.

The folks at Bassett were great. How they keep their dignity in this line of work is way beyond me. Steve Pickett was my nurse. He asked me my name 10 times. I guess that’s the law or something. I assured him that I was the same guy on the gurney who was here 10 minutes before. He started my IV drip. “You’ll feel a little poke here,” he said quietly. I did not. Good job, Steve!

I was finally guernied into the operating room, procedure room, medical arena or whatever they call it.

It was all lights, buzzers, computers, monitors and tubes. Actually it reminded me of the captain’s deck of the spaceship in “Star Trek.” And once the sedatives started coursing through my veins, the line between reality and imagination began to blur.

Dr. Luis Oceguera was my Captain Kirk. His uniform was the scrubs and hair net in the hue of Bassett Blue. My uniform was a delightful little one-piece number from the stylists of the fashion house of Rue de Medicine. It was a nice fit, but I noticed that the designer left off a big piece of fabric. Right around my backside.

Nurse Carrie Handy asked me what kind of music I would like to listen to as the sedative drip began to chill my veins. “How about a little Ella Fitzgerald,” I told her. She nodded.

Capt. Kirk, um, I mean Dr. Oceguera, guided his space probe to infinity and beyond with the whole magical journey appearing on a TV set right before me. As my eyelids got heavy from the sedation I felt that I was nearing the looking glass and getting a little punchy. I think I even waved once to the screen and whispered, “Hi colon. It’s me. Big Chuck.” Nurse Krystyn Hamm smiled and rolled her eyes. Things started to get a little fuzzy. Absolutely no pain. But fuzzy.

And then, just as Ella was about to find her little yellow basket, it was over. Thanks and good night everybody. Don’t forget to tip your waitresses.

Soon my wife came to drive me home. I gave a thumb’s up to my friends from the Starship Enterprise and was wheeled out to my car. Other than the prep the day before that can be a little (euphemism alert) “challenging,” my colonoscopy event was quick, easy, painless and quite reassuring on my mind.

I couldn’t have been in better hands at Bassett and I sincerely urge everyone age 50 and above to go get it done. There is nothing to worry about, trust me. It’s a piece of cake.

And speaking of cake, where is it? I am famished!

I’ll catch you in two …

“Big Chuck” D’IMPERIO can be heard on weekdays beginning at 6 a.m. on WDOS-AM 730 in Oneonta, and also on Thursday nights from 7-9 p.m. on WSRK-FM 103.9 for his “Oldies Jukebox Show.” You can find “Big Chuck” on Facebook under Upstate New York Books. He invites you to contact him at wdosbigchuck@aol.com. His columns can be found at www.thedailystar.com/bigchuck.