Thursday, April 30, 2015

Super Colon Blow and Me

Lately it’s gotten to the point where every time I go to the doctor, one particular scene in Godfather III replays in my mind.  The setting is a street festival.  A punk sitting atop a prize Cadillac calls out to the local mobster:  “Hey, Joey Zasa!”  If you recall the scene, then you know the rather crude suggestion that the punk makes next.  If you aren’t familiar with the scene, you can see the quote here.  This salutation has formed the theme of my last few weeks.

As noted in previous posts, it all started with a pain in my side, which was only slightly uncomfortable but was alarming nonetheless because it was roughly located in the place where my cancerous kidney used to be.  A CT scan came back with surprising news:  my darkest suspicions had not been dark enough.  The results turned up not one, but two brand new masses, one of which has invaded my colon. 

These days, if doctors want to know anything at all about what is going on up there, what do they do?  “Hey, Joey Zasa!”  When street thugs suggest such a thing, it’s just rude.  When doctors do it, it’s called a colonoscopy, and you have to pay big bucks for the privilege.

Before doctors can proceed, they must clear the highway, as it were.  With me, that was an issue.  That second mass had caused an obstruction of the colon.  This meant that what all of my enemies—and come to think of it, many of my friends, too—have been saying about me all my life was at that moment literally true.  The blockage was so severe, and had been going on for so long, that it was very near or possibly even at the crisis stage.  The consequences of ingesting even one more chicken nugget could be ugly.  This would not do.  I like ingesting chicken nuggets.

I now have a doctor for every orifice, and two for that particular one.  They argued over whether the backup issue could be resolved through administration of the usual Drāno-emulating chemicals.  Eventually they agreed to give such a potion a cautious shot.  This led to me receiving a prescription for a product that was not called Super Colon Blow, but should have been. 

Now, at this point the traffic jam was so severe there was real danger of me having to be rushed to the emergency room at any minute.  When the nurse, whom we’ll call Mary, called me at home with instructions, I asked her how I would know when it’s time to go to the ER.  Mary told me that if I started ralphing up my lunch (which had consisted entirely of chicken broth, by the way) to go immediately—and then amended that so say that given my condition, if I were to even become nauseous, to go ahead and get me thence.  Then she told me to take 8 ounces of the Super Colon Blow and wait to see what happened. 

I was naturally curious to know what might happen if the blockage were too severe and the medicine were to back up.  So I asked Mary:  “What will happen if the blockage is too severe and the medicine backs up?”

“You might start vomiting,” she said.

“You mean you’re giving me a medicine that could send me to the ER?” I demanded, incredulously.

“No,” she explained.  “You only have to go to the ER if the nausea is from your condition, not if it’s a reaction to the medicine.”

Oh.  I’m glad we cleared up.  Otherwise, I might have been confused.

But what could I do?  I took the medicine.  The results, though, were impressive—so much so that I am now ready to put my media skills to work and write a radio or TV promotion for the product.  “Try new Super Colon Blow!  A set of toilet seat straps free with every purchase!  You’ll need ‘em!  40 pounds of thrust guaranteed or your money back!”

This led to two very long days, but at the end of it the mission had been accomplished and my reputation was fully restored. 

The next thing I knew I found myself in a hospital lab being prepped for the colonoscopy.  A nurse told me she would administer some Propofol to put me out.  I observed that if I were to get up and start doing the Moon Walk, she’d know she’d given me too much.  She got my little jest and gave me the courtesy of laughing (if you don’t know the significance of Propofol to pop culture, follow this link).  She then warned me that if I were to get up and dance, video of the occasion would wind up on the Internet, complete with my naked butt hanging out of my gown.  I think she was serious.

While I am at this point in my narrative, let me just pause and say that there is no trust so profound as that given by a man who bares his butt and then invites total strangers to render him unconscious.  But I submitted.  I presume they did exactly what they said they were going to do and absolutely nothing else, but if anyone reading this was there and knows different, at this point I’d like you to keep it to yourself.

After the procedure, I woke up completely loopy.  A discharge nurse came by and gave me my follow-up care instructions.  This is what I remember:  “Blah blah blah biopsy blah blah a little blood blah blah blah blah blah laxative.”

Fortunately, he repeated the same instructions to my wife and also gave them to her in writing.

Speaking of which, let me observe that while the medical profession does not do a lot to consider the feelings of abject terror and utter panic it inspires in the hearts of its victims, it demonstrates even less concern for the emotional impact of all this on loved ones.  On the way to this procedure my poor spouse was so distraught that she could not park the car.  I kid you not.  She nosed us into the garage and aimed for the center spot in a pod of three vacant spaces that we had lucked upon.  The line of cars behind us was so long that my discombobulated bride misjudged the turn under pressure and wound up parking over the double line.  Then she put it into reverse to try to back out and try again, at which point we both learned one thing about what backup lights are good for.  They’re good for getting oncoming drivers to test their horns, which at least half of them did.  For any of them to stop and let her pull out would, of course, have been out of the question.  I held forth in favor of ramming but this suggestion was overturned.  She was so upset that finally I had to take the wheel and pull the car in myself.

At any rate, we survived it all.  As I type this, it is the following day, and my stomach is bloated and rumbling.  The sound effects are startling.  BAAAAROOOOOOM.  Followed by BOOOOOWUUUUUM.  Just now a temblor strong enough to sink Atlantis erupted on my right side and traveled all the way across my abdomen to the left.  When that wave of turbulence gets to where it desperately needs to go, I wouldn’t want to be within 40 yards of me.  Just saying.

The Technicolor pictures that resulted from my colonoscopy show that neither mirth nor merriment lie ahead for me.  I know it’s not the fault of my doctors.  And, yes, I’m fully aware that they’re here to help me and that I should be grateful for that.  And I am. 

But I can’t help having a negative emotional reaction to all this.  So I just have to say:  “Hey, Dr. Zasa!” 

Well, I’ll stop there.  You can probably guess where I’m going with it.


You can catch up on the whole sordid history of my medical issues on this page.  I also invite you to check out my author's website at

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