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They call it a ‘procedure’

Country Roads

July 23, 2012
Arvid Huisman ( , The Daily Freeman Journal

One of the more discomforting aspects of growing older is that doctors begin doing more "procedures" on you. In medicine "procedure" is a euphemism for, among other things, sticking things into your body through openings not intended for such.

My primary care physician recently noted that I was due for another particularly unpopular procedure. I'm too large and too old to throw a hissy fit, so I agreed to proceed with the procedure. The next day the procedure scheduling lady called to set a date for the procedure.

I asked for an early morning appointment, thinking of a date in, say, 2016. She brightly announced that they had an "opening" (I caught the pun) at 7 a.m. on a Monday, just three weeks away.

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She promised to send instructions for preparing for the procedure. Actually, her term was prepping. (Prepping sounds fun. It isn't.)

Before the call ended I asked about the liquid that must be consumed prior to the procedure. I recalled that when I had to undergo this procedure ten years ago I had trouble keeping the liquid down. The taste reminded me of something like rancid penguin pee strained through a sweaty work sock that hadn't been washed for a year.

She said she had good news. If I went on a clear liquid diet for two days instead of one, I would have to drink only a half gallon of the liquid rather than a full gallon. Two days of a clear liquid diet didn't seem so difficult at that point.

The night before the diet was to begin, my wife and I went out for dinner. I enjoyed a four-piece chicken dinner and a Concrete Mixer, the restaurant's trade name for an extra thick milk shake. Before going to bed, I had a soda and two chocolate chip cookies. I was prepping.

The next day was Saturday and when I arose I realized I would not be able to enjoy a normal breakfast. I poured a glass of apple juice and drank my breakfast while reading the morning paper. A couple of cups of coffee followed and I was feeling okay.

When lunchtime came, I ate a bowl of fruit gelatin my wife had prepared for the prepping. Not bad, but a bacon cheeseburger would have been better. Much better.

At mid-afternoon my stomach was full of liquids but I was still hungry.

I sat down to watch TV with my wife. Do you realize that every other commercial on television is for food? There were commercials for pizza, sub sandwiches, sea food, steaks, snacks, candy bars ice cream.

Ice cream? I walked away trying to stifle a whimper.

Supper was a can of beef broth. Tasty but not filling. Dessert was a couple of frozen fruit pops.

Sunday morning, a glass of white grape juice was breakfast; a pitiful substitute for breakfast.

Church, I hoped, would prove to be a distraction from the liquid diet. I should have known better. Our church serves coffee (as well as tea and lemonade) after the worship service and the youth group sells donut holes as a fundraiser. When the mother-daughter team responsible for donut holes walked in before the service with a big box full of the delightful little balls of sweetness, I had to look the other way. At that point the carton containing the donut holes looked delicious.

A cup of coffee after church, a lemonade from Casey's on the way home and another bowl of gelatin for lunch did little to appease a growing appetite.

The medical prepping began at 4 p.m. Sunday and over the next three hours I drank a half gallon of sports drink into which I had mixed a full bottle of polyethylene glycol. Oh crap, I'll just say it: laxative.

We were at the hospital bright and early Monday for the procedure and the procedure was the easiest part of the entire process.

As my wife drove away from the hospital I asked her to drive directly to the nearest fast food joint. Minutes later I was wolfing down a breakfast sandwich.

Breakfast is an excellent procedure no matter what time you enjoy it.

Procedures can be a pain in the belly.



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