For Halloween: My Own Personal Horror Show!

Don’t even think about looking for photos here . . . .

When I got the call that my FIT test indicated I should go in for a colonoscopy, I swore I’d keep it to myself. After all, better humorists than I have written better essays about the procedure than I ever could, particularly Dave Barry (see A Journey Into My Colon—and Yours! from the Miami Herald).

What could I possibly add to that? Except this: the essay first appeared 9 years ago. A loved one recently got her colonoscopy, and, on a whim, wrote to Mr. Barry as instructed in the essay. All these years later, he’s still mailing certificates to people who get colonoscopies!

But I digress. Where was I? Ah, yes. The Horror . . . .

If you’ve read this blog for very many years, you know how we celebrate holidays and other special events. Halloween falls among our favorites, even though I’m of the age that remembers when all Sundays were called holidays, and marked in red on calendars as such, but Hallowe’en was not (see Hanging On to Halloween).

Imagine, then, my horror at realizing that, due to a scheduling SNAFU with the specialist in Juneau, I had to reschedule my colonoscopy to November 1st.

No problem, right?


The night before a colonoscopy, by ancient custom and tradition, must be spent drinking way too many liters of laxative, and . . . well, purging.

I scheduled this post to publish on October 31st. This means that on this particular Halloween, I will be separated from family, trapped by circumstance in the lavatory of a hostel room, wishing I were dead! Argue if you must, but this is about as horrific as I want life to get, thankyouverymuch.

It could hardly get worse. If I got my reservation in right—which is to say, if I followed instructions, and called just ahead of my ferry departure to Juneau, and if—IF, I say—there’s room—I will have a cheap room in the Juneau hospital’s patient hostel! If not, I’m paying last minute (i.e. top dollar) rates at some hotel for a bathroom to call my own. I have friends I could stay with, but how can I inflict this process on people I love?

Okay, at this point, I either have it, or I haven’t. I found out yesterday, just ahead of my near-midnight arrival in Juneau. That part is over and done with as you read these words. Thank goodness for small favors . . . .

The streets of Juneau may be filled with trick-or-treaters. I might be out among them, remembering fondly the many Halloweens I took Aly around to gather candy.

But no. I’m trying to observe the season with an audio book of Bram Stoker’s Dracula or other classic horror story, while keeping my hands free for . . . more important business. Hopefully, I’m not disturbing my fellow residents with any untoward noises.

Come November 1, the worst will be over. The procedure, though horrid to contemplate, apparently passes (as it were) without my participation or awareness, thanks to the good drugs they have these days. Then, after an extra day in Juneau forced on my by the ferry schedule, I’ll get back to the homestead!

Thankfully, I face this procedure with full confidence. I predict they won’t find anything unhealthy in their . . . inspection of my man cave. I could have predicted the FIT test’s failure for reasons other than those that require a colonoscopy. So, I’m not in fear of my physical health.

Merely my sanity.

(I’m kinda busy now, and no computer with me on the trip. Expect the next post sometime Saturday or later . . . .)


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4 Responses to For Halloween: My Own Personal Horror Show!

  1. Linn Hartman says:

    a funny thing happened on the way to the procedure room – to quote an old line – i have had several colonoscopies over the years and everyone had a rememberable experience that had nothing to do with the procedure – from calling it off after drinking the laxative to a couple of young nurses who could not the the table adjusted while i am laying there in my split gown bare to the world – have fun – Halloween is over here – no trick or treaters – will have to try the candy – never have any but get candy we like

  2. Eva says:

    Mark,Hope you received good results. I feel your I get to endure colonoscopies every 3 years since my brother died of colon cancer at age 34 which has been over 25 years ago. I have the prep down to an art. The Gatorade/muralax is the easiest to do. Years ago they had me drink a small bottle of phosphosoda. It was just awful. An elderly man was in the waiting room with me and said, “If there is a cocktail in hell, it has to be this prep mix!” I agree. But the test is worth knowing all is well. Here’s to modern medicine and good test results.

  3. Mark Zeiger says:

    Eva, I feel for you, both for your loss and the ensuing fallout. I love the cocktail quote! My brew wasn’t pleasant, but I managed it mixed with plain water. It was more the timing–I had a nice evening schedule, then learned that the procedure would happen late the next day, so I went back to the doctor, and got adjusted to start at 2:00 a.m. That might have helped, though, as after they prepped me I slept for a while before going in. I was very relaxed! I may already be dreading the next one, probably in 10 years!

  4. Mark Zeiger says:

    Linn, sounds like I had it easy compared to you! In my preparation, it never occurred to me that, even if I could lay my hands on Halloween candy, I wouldn’t be able to eat it. It was a sad, lonely evening for me. I guess I’ll have to make up for it next year!

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