My Closest Brush with Death
Recently I underwent a medical procedure that brought me as close to death as it is possible to achieve without actually dying.
I am talking about a procedure involving the insertion of a six-foot tube into your body to have “a look around.” This snake-like gadget is along the lines of a common garden hose with a camera in it and some other high-tech toys so that an alert doctor can zap any polyps in your intestine.
The hose is driven into your body through what medical science refers to as the poop chute.
I was somewhat reluctant to have this procedure performed, however, the test detects benign tumors called polyps — these can easily morph into cancer of the bowels. No fun. Colon cancer killed my grandfather.
I told my wife that I was frightened. After all, colonoscopy is painful, and for the well being of the patient and convenience of the medical team, you’re knocked senseless with drugs that pygmies along the Amazon developed for felling tigers.
I explained to Kate that being under an anesthetic would be tempting death. Kate checked our life insurance policy, discovered we were paid up and concluded that I was just a coward. “Go for it,” she said. She happily agreed to drive me to and from the procedure. On the way, she shared with me that there were no tigers along the Amazon.
Here is what happened at the clinic after I purged myself. (I’ll spare the reader the hilarious specifics of the pre-op procedure where the writer cleaned out his own colon.) This involves turning the poop chute into a poop shooter.
Anyway, five pounds lighter, I arrived at the clinic and they took my clothes off and put me on a slab. A nurse inserted what I assumed was a sterile needle into my arm. She hooked me up to enough monitoring devices to track a Saturn Rocket.
I was terrified because I sensed that today I would be as close to death as I had ever come.
I decided to make up a joke. What is the similarity between a patient who cannot pay his bill and a proctologist? Answer: They are both in arrears. Okay it is not all that hilarious but I figured when I was wheeled into the operating room (OR), that this might amuse the garden hose crew.
In the OR, I was greeted by a delegation in green scrubs who would start my close-to-death journey. My doctor smiled at me and told me to turn over. I did and asked — “Do you know the similarity between — ?”
The cunning anesthesiologist introduced the Amazon pygmy knockout solution through the needle that was already in my arm.
Bang! I was in cloud cuckoo land. (Got to hand it to those little fellows from the rainforest.)
The next thing I knew, the jolly medical staff was smiling at me and telling me everything was great and that one small polyp had been located and removed.
The doctor warned me not to drive a car or operate heavy machinery for twenty-four hours. His nurse made sure Kate would drive me home.
On the way home, I asked my wife to stop so I could buy a magazine across the street. (There was a story about me in the October issue of “Publishing Success” — a Writer’s Digest special issue.)
I staggered across the street, bought the magazine and signaled for Kate to meet me at the far corner. I was woozy and did not want to chance re-crossing the street.
Kate suddenly and inexplicably accelerated across the street and into the alley where I was standing. Being near comatose from the medical procedure, my feet were rooted to the ground. Kate sped at me at her customary Mach Two. Somehow I managed to leap out of the way or I would have been smashed to atoms.
As we continued home, Kate inquired why it had taken so long for me to jump out of the way of our car.
I explained that I was still in recovery from a horrendous medical procedure involving six feet of garden hose and a deadly anesthetic. Furthermore, the doctor had given me the wrong information. He told me not to operate a car, alas he had neglected to warn me about standing in front of a car driven by a supposedly loving wife who should have had the sense to slow down when approaching a befuddled husband in a comatose state.
“Well, don’t worry,” said Kate. “You’re alive.”
“Yes,” I said. “But today’s medical procedure resulted in the closest I have every come to death thanks to your insane driving.”
“Silly, Baby, I was only trying to help,” she said. “Stick your nonsense where the garden hose goes.”
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