THIS SIDE UP

Be sure not to miss your pink flamingo show

By JOHN HOWELL
Posted 8/12/20

I spent part of Friday afternoon watching a show sedated and lying down. Well, it was pink flamingo Friday, which makes it perfectly clear. Yet this wasn't a party I impetuously signed up for. In fact, the pink flamingos were a surprise, a very welcome

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THIS SIDE UP

Be sure not to miss your pink flamingo show

Posted

I spent part of Friday afternoon watching a show sedated and lying down.

Well, it was pink flamingo Friday, which makes it perfectly clear. Yet this wasn’t a party I impetuously signed up for. In fact, the pink flamingos were a surprise, a very welcome surprise.

Truth be told, I’ve put off this show for years. At first when Dr. Hub Brennan said I should make reservations, I thought, nah, I’m never voluntarily going to do that. At my next annual checkup after the routine of poking and spending 10 minutes of going over the blood tests that is by far the most interesting segment of the visit, he asked again about the show. I knew he knew that I hadn’t attended. He had the paperwork right in front of him.

There was no way of faking this. I just said no.

“Well,” he said, “we’ll give you a referral so you’ll have it.”

Did I really need that? Who would sign up for this anyway? Wouldn’t “they” willingly take in anyone crazy enough to do this? Apparently, this is an exclusive event requiring pre-screening and an appointment. Miss the appointment for no good reason and you can expect to get fined $100.

That should have settled it, why was I going to pick up the phone?

But guilt works in strange ways. A couple of years ago I reasoned I couldn’t face Dr. Brennan with another confession that I just didn’t have the fortitude to do what he was suggesting. So, I made a call and connected with an answering machine. I left my name and number on the recording and felt absolved. They called back and left me a recording. I tried again and left them another voice message. When I didn’t hear back, I figured this was a divine sign that I was good to go.

It really was the truth when I told Hub that I had tried, but it didn’t work out.

But I wasn’t fooling myself. So with my annual coming up in September, I figured there was no better time than this summer to check out the party.

I confess that Hub’s assertions that rectal colon cancer is one of the most easily controlled cancers when detected early was playing on my mind, in addition to a dose of guilt. We’ve written about the dreadful impact of the disease and interviewed Barbara Joyce of Warwick, who spearheaded the Colon Cancer Alliance.

This time I connected with Dr. Eric Berthiaume and in short order I was invited to the Friday party, although I really didn’t know about the festivities until I arrived at the East Greenwich Endoscopy Center.

The worst part about a colonoscopy, I was told by those who know, is the preparation. Obviously to get a clear view of the internal piping, the doc would need clean pipes. Doing this takes a combination of evacuation and adding nothing new to the system. It wasn’t something I’d recommend if you have nothing better to do. Yet, in retrospect, it wasn’t terrible if you can put aside eating for 24 hours and suppress all thoughts of food.

Carol delivered me for my appointment and was there to pick me up with a fresh baked chocolate chip and pumpkin muffin to break the fast. Perfect.

And the party?

Indeed, I had accidentally picked the right day for my procedure.

The attendants were dressed in matching pink flamingo shirts or equally colorful blouses. Masks were the rule, even for me when all I was wearing were my socks and a johnny appropriately open to the rear. The mood was upbeat although, I imagine, there was a sufficient level of patient apprehension, myself included. Dr. Berthiaume introduced himself, looked over the paperwork I’d filled out and then I was wheeled into the procedure room to more staff in pink flamingo attire. I rolled on my left side and from the screen facing me caught a view of myself I rarely see nor do I want to show off.

“Mind if I watch?”

“Go right ahead,” came the doctor’s reply.

The sedatives took effect. I can’t say how long the show was, but I remember the deft removal of two polyps. I’ll learn whether they are anything to be concerned about sometime this week. I was wheeled out and before dressing, Berthiaume visited, suggesting given my age and condition that I would probably not need to schedule another screening for a long time, if ever.

And if that day comes, I’m going to pick Friday.

flamingos

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