If there’s a couple things that have become apparent as I’ve grown older, its that,
A. You really DO slow down (you may not think you do, but you DO)
B. Things don’t work like they used to.
Also, I must admit, I don’t like too much information pertaining to having any sort of operation or a procedure. The less the better for me if I’m being honest. (See Fainting Goats and What The Mop Lady Saw)
To save you the details, I had to go for a camera investigation to clear up some concerns. I had been worried that I wouldn’t be able to swallow a foot-or-so of optic equipment, and had been stressing, not so quietly over the prospect.
Fortunately, I didn’t have to.
Instead, I was to have about 15 foot of firemans hose inserted up my bum instead.
What a relief that was to hear.
I had gone through my usual routine of being told about what was involved in the procedure, by sticking my thumbs in my ears and going “lalalalala” and “Being in a happy place”. I think having gone through the examination by my GP, who (never doubt) was always professional, oozed calm and reassurance and who, incidentally, had the hands of an Irish navvy.
So initially, upon visiting him with my problem and having him say,
“Ahh, yes Mr. Walsh. Just drop your trousers and pop on the bed. Yes that’s right – just tuck those knees to your chest. Heeeeeeeere we go…”
When he said he wanted to examine me, my eyes were drawn to these meaty appendages he called “hands” that were displayed before him on his desk, and wishing I hadn’t been so bashful about visiting the other Doctor’s in the practice first. Who were both women, and had the deft little hands of a small monkeys by comparison. I can assure you, it was with some very slow hesitant steps I got onto the bed in the required position and tried to take a deep breath.
I lay there as he slid his hands into his gloves (I actually think he had a glove on each finger) and heard a raspberry-like-quelch of applied lubricant. I seem to recall him whistling cheerfully, but that have been nerves.
It was with an audible grunt from him, and, I believe, a whimper and clawing scrabble at the wall from me, he inserted what felt like a bunch of bananas and shattered all my illusions of the calm reassurance he had moments before been projecting.
“Ok Mr. Walsh? Just try and relax, deeeep slow breathes.”
Relax??? He was lucky my buttock contraction didn’t break his fingers. (I was counting the depth of insertion by knuckle joints) (And breathe? I was panting like a dog)
It was with a self satisfied,
“Therrrrrrre we go. All done!”
That he snapped off his numerous gloves and dropped them in the bin as he went back behind his desk to begin tapping his notes into his computer. Humming “Hi Ho” I think.
I deflated like a balloon. I had till this point been unaware I had levitated 3 inches or so off the bed until I dropped back on it as he evacuated the scene so to speak. I got dressed gingerly and sat back down before him as he went on. I’m sure anyone who has been abducted by aliens and roundly probed can sympathize.
“Yes, I think I see the problem but I’d like you to be investigated further to be on the safe side. Yes? Ok. I’ll get you an appointment sorted out. Ok? Good man. Off you go Mr. Walsh. Well Done!!”
It was like being mentally slapped on the back by a senior officer in the army. I paused momentarily expecting a medal until I realized my appointment had finished and I had been dismissed.
I won’t bore you with the following weeks. The visits to following consultants, I’m happy to say, was no where near traumatic as he had incredibly small hands compared to Gargantuan, my local GP. Either that Or my local doctor had left me looking like a bucket back there..
Finally the consultant I had been sent to see decided to send me for a camera to investigate further. I had been dreading this moment, the possibility of having an intrusive investigation. I was given a sache of powders to help clear the way for the camera, with instructions on drinking a litre or so every 2 hours the day prior to the investigation. No food just drink.
Now I must admit, I mixed the first concoction and thought “Ha. Nothing to it.” And began glugging away at my(attempted) vanilla flavor drink. It was soon obvious that even with the most dogged determination, drinking down jug after jug wouldn’t be as easy as I thought.
It gets to the point that you finish one jug and think, “Well, that was easy,” until you realize that its already time for the next one to be mixed and started.
By the third jug I felt a slight roll in my stomach, a bubbling so-to-speak. Please don’t think there was any stomach ache. There wasn’t. There wasn’t any urgency or pain. I just thought,
“Aye aye. I’ll just pop to the toilet to be safe.”
I’ve thought long and hard about this. I’m not going into detail. All I can say is, picture this.
James Bond with a hydro jet pack on his back.
Minus the tuxedo. And bow tie.
And jet pack.
What followed I had no control over what-so-ever. I found I was hovering about 5 inches above the toilet seat, held up by the sheer force of what was going on below me. I was literally holding onto the toilet seat to stop myself drifting off. Initially I have to say I was impressed. In a child-like way I took enormous pleasure over the water canon going off below me. It was like having my own personal built in Karcher power hose going off at maximum, and being unable to flick the “OFF” switch.
If I hadn’t have held on, I’d have hydro-planed around the bathroom.
I was sat there going ‘Whooooooooa!”
This went on all day. If I’d known it was going to be like this and last as long as it did I’d have worn a crash helmet. In the end I daren’t move too far away from the toilet. And considering I had no control I daren’t fart either. I was just glad to finish the concoction I was forced to drink and see some light at the end of the tunnel. No pun intended.
The following day dawned of the Endoscopy, with me feeling empty and just wanting to get the whole thing over and done with. I was nervous to say the least when I finally arrived at the hospital. It was a matter of procedure to be given my gowns, sign forms, get changed and sit in a tiny waiting room off the main corridor with a several other desparados waiting their turn for what ever camera investigation they were having done. And trust me. I thought I had it bad..
There was one old chap who was already changed and waiting to go down for his investigation. Now, bear in mind, everybody else is sat in this tiny room, with a changing room adjacent to it. So as you walk in to get changed you pass through this crowd of strangers sat in what is really, a nighty and underpants. They’re all waiting their turn to go to another room where, someone they don’t know, is going to make comforting sounds then ram something up their bum.
If they’re lucky..
What was brought to my attention as I sat there was that not everyone was there for the same investigation. And believe me, I was starting to appreciate that it was just going up my bum and not anywhere else.
This old chap who, I discovered was 92, (he looked early 70’s) was extremely sprightly and had acres of optimism. Not so much cup half full but overflowing..
The rest of us were sat nervously fiddling about, sweating with clammy hands waiting our turn. It took this old boy to break the ice in that Old man shout that is supposed to be a quiet question.
“What you here for son?” he asked me. (I was 43 at this point)
“Ah. Umm. You know. Camera up the bum.”
“Ha! Nothin to it lad. Be done before you know it. Won’t even feel it!”
Yeah right. Easy for you to say Slack Harry.
“What about you? What you here for?” I asked him.
“Me? Having the works!”
“Yep! You Know? One up one down.”
“Down your willy lad! You Know? Nothing to it! Ha!”
Fuck me. My legs were crossing as he spoke.
“Good luck with that then mate.”
“Aye, no problem son. Playing bowls this afternoon. Need to get a push on.”
I’d have been sat in an Ice bath.
Fortunately he was called up next.
“Here we go!” and off he did.
I sat there for the next 30 minutes making small talk with a couple of blokes waiting their turn, but I soon ran out of things to say. If It’d been my mum she’d have probably knew their sisters Aunty who lived next door to Mrs. Smith in 1976. Or some diluted connection or other.
And then she would have talked them to death before her turn. I just sat wishing I had her knack right now.
The silence was finally broken by the return of Captain indestructible who walked briskly back into the waiting room nighty flapping behind him like a cloak, en-route to the changing room.
If he’d had braces on he’d have had his thumbs tucked in them and chest stuck out no doubt.
“All done! No worries lads! Next up!”
The only thing he didn’t do was click his fucking heels.
Mercifully the nurse appeared over his shoulder.
“Mr. Walsh? Yes? Your next this way please..”
I was led along the corridor to a small room. Inside were 3 nurses sat around the bed surrounded by a variety of equipment. And with what looked about 30 foot of coiled hose that housed the optic camera. All I could think was,
Nurses. Female. Looking up my bum. Omg. My Mum probably knows 2 out of the 3…fuck.
Straight away bright smiles,
“Hello Michael. Just pop on the bed and face that way please.”
“Jesus. here we go again.” I thought, scanning the 3 sets of hands on view.
They were certainly brisk and business-like.
“I’m just going to apply some lubrication Michael, then we’ll fill you with some air to make the process easier.”
Which she did. Which, wasn’t so bad. I could have done the same thing at Tesco’s petrol station and gone prepared. She popped in this tube and I was literally inflated like a tyre.
“Ah. Therrrre we go. All ready? I’ll just begin easing in the camera. Oh! Here you go Michael.! You can watch on the monitor!”
Bear in mind this to someone who really, really doesn’t like information about what’s coming. Now, in fact, I had it on a screen 12 inches from my face. In colour too. Do I really want to look up my own bum? I don’t think so. But here I was. In wide-screen. So with a,
“Hows that Michael?’
and me mumbling,
“Oh yes, that’s just dandeeeeeeeeeeeeee! ohmyfuckinggoodgod! Myeyesmeyes!! Ithinkicantastegunmetal!! (It seemed to go that far up)
You don’t need to know the intimate details. All I’ll relay was that they were very, Very Impressed with how cleaned out I was. It was with a slight whinney and scrabbling from me, that she inserted and gave me a running commentary, as professional as Sir David Attenborough.
“Oooh you’ve done such a good job – as clean as a Flute! Well done Michael!!”
I think it was supposed to be music to my ears… but I spent the time gnawing at my knuckles, with a brow beaded with sweat and my knees tucked into my stomach waiting for it to end. Finally she began to withdraw the miles of tubing only at the last moment to think she saw something and push back in. I must admit she must have caught something, because it really got my attention.
“No! Looks fine. All done!”
I Sounded like a steam whistle not a flute as she whipped the optic out. Knuckle gnawing, lip chewing, I was left lying there panting, feeling sickly and dizzy, thinking,
“My God! I sooooo need to fart!”
“You ok Michael? You’ve gone a funny colour..”
“Yes fine, fine – I’m really sorry but can I go to the toilet? Please??”
“Yes,” – Bright smile – “Common feeling don’t worry, First door on the left by the reception desk..”
I was already on my way down the corridor. I pushed into the toilet and locked the door. It was a single tiny room right behind the reception desk. The explosion of trapped air that followed was, embarrassing as I was constantly aware of being so close to the reception desk, but I couldn’t help it. I was more concerned with my vision coming and going as I felt more and more faint. What restored me somewhat was the thought that If I fainted in this tiny enclosure, I was more than likely going to head-butt the door. And knowing my luck go straight through it and land face-down-arse-up in the corridor. Which end would they resuscitate??
“Well he’s breathing ok at that end..”
So I managed to hold it together and stumble off to the changing rooms past my new found friends.
My trip home was loud. And continuous. I have to say It wasn’t a painful experience just one that dented my pride. If theres one thing that I can safely say I learnt from the experience its this.
Check your GP’s hands before making him aware of this kind of problem.
And just hope, you get your results before your mum does…