Photo: Flickr/Creative Commons, superblinkymac.

Colonoscopy? I’ve got your backside.

After your first colonoscopy, the mystery is revealed, the indignity proves manageable, and this necessary part of aging becomes as routine as it possibly can. I’ve had one colonoscopy and I’m due for another. Frankly, I’m grateful that I live in a country where this kind of treatment is available and encouraged. In fact, I encourage all of my friends to get colonoscopies as often as needed. There is no indignity about early detection if it saves your life. Mic drop!

Because of my age, a lot of friends from my generation are going for their first “home videos.” Because I work at home, I get the calls from buddies who need a ride home after the procedure. I always say yes because I want my friends to get regular colonoscopies and not feel weird or awkward about discussing it or feeling uncomfortable about ‘bumming’ a ride home. So, my first conflict was just a matter of time.

Colonoscopies are crucial for catching colon cancer early. Photo: Flickr/Creative Commons, Thomas Hawk.

“Hey man,” he said.

“Hey,” I said.

“I hate to ask, but I’m having a little thing done at the hospital tomorrow and they say I need a ride home.”

“Roger that dude. How can I help?”

“Well, it’s tomorrow. My buddy said he could pick me up and then he bailed. Now I’m jammed (not the real word he used).”

“Colonoscopy?”

“How’d you…”

And so it goes. The problem was, I already had one colonoscopy drop-off and pick-up on my calendar. A relative was going in for his fifth or sixth. He’s a veteran. He called me the day he made the appointment to be sure the “colo-cab” would be available. I like picking him up after his photo shoots. He’s always hungry after 24 hours of cleansing and he buys me lunch at the Sunset Grill.

Back to the phone call, I asked what time my younger friend would be ready for pick up. He said, “about 10:30.” That was no problem. The hospital is five minutes from my house. The in-law wasn’t getting released until early afternoon. My day as the driver of colo-cab was now bookended by two cheeks (so to speak) making me the…whatever. It was a Friday and now I had an excuse to put off some administrative work.

Men are at higher risk for colon cancer. Photo: Shutterstock.

I sprung the youngster at 10:30 on the dot. If you’ve never picked up a friend or relative after the cam-jam, you’ll be surprised at how thorough and legal the proceedings are. You may be asked to sign in before you can walk away with your blurry eyed outpatient. Don’t get me wrong; it’s a good thing. If I had shown up with two motorcycle helmets, I would have expected to be questioned.

I asked if he wanted to go for breakfast. He declined. The doctors had suggested lots of water and a light re-entry into the world of eating and passing solids. “Amateur,” I thought. I dropped him off at his house and made sure he made it through the front door. This is the extent of the colo-cab driver’s code of ethics. He was still a little groggy and part of me wanted to say, “Dude, this is the part where you pay for the all-day breakfast.” It didn’t happen. He thanked me and went to bed, I assume. I envy the kind of light-weight sleep he was about to have on an empty stomach, connected to a problem-free colon.

I sprang the old boy around 3 pm that afternoon. He has been around this block more times than he likes to ‘colo-remember.’ After a day of no food, he’s hungry. We go straight to the Grill and back to his place for a shot of Jameson whisky before he too nods off to the sound of good news. Onboard the colo-cab we get all types. And all types are welcome. I don’t know when we’ll speak again. Until then, I suggest offer your buddies a ride home. Be the guy who says, “I’ve got your backside.”

What you should know about colorectal cancer

  • One in three Canadian men will develop colorectal cancer during his lifetime and one in 29 will die from the disease. The stats for women are one in 16 will develop this type of cancer and one in 34 will succumb to it.
  • Early detection may save your life. A colonoscopy can spot and remove polyps that could become cancerous.
  • Testing for colorectal cancers is recommended for Canadians over the age of 50. Your healthcare provider may suggest a stool test (gFOBT) or a colonoscopy, depending on risk factors, like the pre-existence of small polyps, a family history of colorectal cancer or inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Talk to your physician about risk factors and read more about colorectal cancer from the Canadian Cancer Society.