Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Dear Clotters,

I am determined to blog the events of the past week before I get out of this anesthetic Oz altogether, and the details become blurred, and my memory returns to the vast uninhabitable landscape I fondly refer to as my comfort zone.

Here’s the story.
Last week, Dennis was scheduled for a colonoscopy, and we were busily preparing for that awesomely unlovely procedure. That is to say, we each had our assigned tasks. I washed, ironed, cleaned, vacuumed, mowed the lawn, ran errands…well you get the idea. Dennis, on the other hand, popped Dulcolax pills like theater popcorn. He popped and pooped! With each little white pill he popped, his tether to home base became shorter and shorter, until he was caught like a fly in a web. Then, just as an additional precautionary measure that all “went smoothly,” so to speak, he was instructed to imbibe a tanker of “liquid enema” mixed in Gatorade, to make it more palatable.

The prep protocol did, however, allow him to consume any clear liquid of his choice, as long as it was repulsive and non bio-hazardous. This he did with great patience and charm. In an effort to avoid TMI, let’s just say that “liquidating” someone is not necessarily a term originating with the Mafia. The cocktail had a kick, and would seem to be far more effective than waterboarding as an interrogation technique. Personally, I’d confess to anything.

On the designated morning of said colonoscopy, as we were leaving for our appointment with the plumber, I was stricken with pain, nausea, and general ickiness that prevented me from being able to unwrap myself from around the porcelain bowl that had been my constant companion the night before.

Not many options here. It was our “enema dilemma.”

However, Brodi came to the rescue, and got her Dad safely into harbor, and then returned to take me to the hospital for some serious gut-checking. The plan began with a CT scan of my lower right quadrant. Now, the pre-CT scan protocol involves drinking a libation called “contrast.”

“Contrast.” Sounds innocuous enough, right? In actuality, it is a diabolical concoction consisting of 9 parts powdered chalk mixed with one part swamp scum, raw egg whites to ensure viscosity, liquid fur ball from an angora feline (thus the term, “cat” scan), and yak urine. The demon drink is then flavored with the oozing body fluids of a really brown banana. Believe me, it could power rockets into outer space, or bring terrorist nations to their knees. An oil drum of the stuff is then placed before you, complete with hose, and you are told to siphon it in its entirety within ½ an hour …the scheduled time for the CT scan. The good news? The second oil drum was berry flavored!

By “contrast”, Dennis’ prep “martini” was nectar of the gods! Having accomplished the improbable, I have concluded that “contrast” is the love child of dish water and acid rain, the taking of which constituted an act of unfathomable villainy upon my person, transforming my entire bodily circumference into one contorted bloated goat bladder!

The nice technician then injected iodine into my system that was so warm, by the time it reached my nether regions, I was pleading for some Depends. I felt all radioactive, and was worried about leaking into the atmosphere. I was afraid I could blow any minute, and end up as little Joni floaties on the sea of life, like the shark in “Jaws.” But, thank goodness, I had not lost control of my bladder and moistened my tutu. At least I was spared that particular humiliation! Cold comfort.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Brodi managed to get Dennis home to sleep off the effects of anesthesia, stool softeners, and a whole lot of dehydration. Are you with me so far?

The results of the CT scan revealed “a hot appee.” At first I thought the radiologist was hitting on me, but apparently my appendix was severely inflamed…and leaking. Code Red surgery alert! I told Dr. Lunt I hoped they could get me on their surgical schedule at their earliest appointment. Dr. Lunt said, “Girlfriend, you’ll be in surgery in 15 minutes!”

How could this be happening?
I was sure I was being held hostage in a Stephen King novel. But in some ways, I was very relieved. Over the course of the past few weeks, I can understand how one could become seduced into joining the corps of the chronically anesthetized. I have experienced prolonged pain of such severity, that I feared an alien life form would suddenly burst forth from my rib cage, leaving me mere quivering gray matter on the dinner table. Forget the movies…there is no such thing as “sick-cute.”

Meanwhile, Dennis shook off the shackles of stupor, and managed to drive himself back down to the hospital, and we all clotted up. For the record, the results of the colonoscopy showed perfectly normal bowel tissue. No red flags. HOORAY! That was enough to float our fleet.

While conferring with the anesthetist, he assured me that narcolepsy greatly enhances the effects of the anesthesia. I was comforted. And my only request was that he not inject anything to put me under that might be found in Michael Jackson’s medicine cabinet. We bound the oath with our pinkies, and I was ready for action. I recall saying, “Cover me…I’m going in!” So they pulled up my blanket…there were some disembodied voices…and a merciful fade to black.

Apparently the operation went well, and, happily, the only thing Dr. Voorhees harvested was a very hot appendix. No need for Ripley this time. We christened the little bugger “Osama” nonetheless.

Regaining consciousness is such an adventure. My tongue was not just coated, it was wrapped in a body bag encased in cement...no doubt a mafia contract hit by a disgruntled carpo.

Dennis was able to be there every minute. We had a room with a view…of the on-going road construction. And at present, we are home recuperating from our excellent adventure, and doing well. We both walk funny, and we try not to get each other laughing…there are some serious repercussions, as you might imagine. We count our blessings each day and each night.

Our love to all,
The Clot


Brian and Emily said...

I am comforted to hear when someone elses life is as exciting as mine!! I had severe abdominal pain in June and had to drink that same "CT cocktail" what they found was not what they were expecting, they found that I was expecting!! So we should be delivering a baby around Feb 8 that may or may not glow in the dark!!!!

Anonymous said...

I am glad to hear that you are both recuperating. It is always good for one to experience the other's woes but I think you have had enough for a while! Keep on healin! Chris

joan said...

Dennis, Isn't a colonoscopy great fun. Still bald from chemo and wearing a wig, I went in for one. Of course I forgot to remove the wig and woke from the anesthesia with the wig on backwards and upside down with a huge air pocket on top. I felt so beautiful.

Joan, Sorry about the appendix thing, but glad you made it through ok.

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deanna said...

I feel your pain--did you know that 5 years ago I went to the hospital with severe tummy pains and proceeded to stay in the hospital drugged up and shot full of antibiotics while they tried to figure out the problem. I went in on a Sunday and Friday morning I got the knife. They thought they were going in for one thing and instead found a burst appendix that had traveled to the right side. So they told me it had burst on Sunday--how did I manage to stay alive! I was glad it was that though because they were telling me I would be going home with a colostomy bag--so glad that never happened. See ya soon at the Gates party.