My Colonoscopy Was Fun and I’m Willing to Share the Gross Details

Soccer Colonoscopy
It's sort of like soccer, but way less boring.
Soccer Colonoscopy
It’s sort of like soccer, but way less boring.

“If everyone’s fanny was that tight, I’d be out of a job.”

I’m proud to start this blog post with this near-exact quote from the surgeon that performed my colonoscopy. He didn’t use the word fanny. I did moments before as a different doctor checked me for hemorrhoids. She was a tiny female and I hoped that her fingers were as slender as a Zales ring model. They were, but I yelped anyway. It hurt. I didn’t want to come off like a guy that can’t handle a 90 lb woman’s pinky, so I overcompensated and blurted out, “My fanny is kind of tight back there, sorry for the scream!” Then the surgeon said the – well, just look up at the first sentence in this post. (I may need to take a writing course on continuity.)

Note to readers – I have never had hemorrhoids. If you share this tale around the office water cooler, make sure to not omit this fact. I know how to take proper care of my rear. And I don’t need bad press, okay?

In writing about one’s colonoscopy, the obvious humor is in the preparation one endures the night before. But those jokes have been vomited out by every bad sitcom writer ad nauseam, and I’ll spare you mine. But yes, I did release more earth than I believed could be possible. Even five minutes before the surgery I had to recuse myself to the bathroom for one last round of firepower that would have challenged napalm in destructive capability.

When others find out you’re scheduled for a colonoscopy and then say, “Oh, don’t worry, you’ll be knocked out the entire time!” do not believe those people. They are liars. At least six people said this to me in the days leading up. Since I don’t drink or use drugs, getting high on prescribed goofballs is the only time I get to party. I don’t think I’m a strong enough writer to accurately describe how crestfallen I was as the doctor said, “So, we’re not going to knock you out. You’ll be fully awake.”

They fed an IV of the tiniest amount of anesthetic into my forearm. The only effect it had was on my voice. I felt the overwhelming urge t0 talk. I couldn’t stop myself. I’m already a talkative person and I annoy many people on a daily basis. I even interrupted important conversations between the doctor and surgeon if they said a word I didn’t know.

I was positioned on my side and I stared up at a gigantic monitor with a live video feed of my butt innards. When the probe was first inserted, I was surprised to find that there was little to no discomfort. I watched for fifteen minutes as the camera traversed the curved tunnels of my colon. I have to admit – I was impressed. Since I had no actual doody left in me, all I saw were organs and tissue. I must have asked, “Ooh, what’s that?” no less than eight times when the camera shined it’s light on something I didn’t recognize. At one point a nurse was so impressed (or annoyed) with my interest she grabbed a visual diagram of someone’s intestines and held it next to the video monitor so I could see where we were at that moment. She acted as my stinker’s GPS.

The most exciting event was that the camera found a pea-shaped thing stuck to me and everyone in the room perked up. It was a polyp and before I started hyperventilating the surgeon reassured me that it was no big deal. AND THEN OUT OF NOWHERE A METAL ARM CAME INTO VIEW AND PLUCKED IT RIGHT OUT. I don’t know if that metal arm was up there all the time trailing the camera or what, but I’m telling you, that impressed the hell out of me. A minute later the entire thing was over.

The surgeon told me I was healthy but that they’d biopsy the polyp. I was wheeled back to my room and the nurse called over the girlfriend. The nurse said, “He’s a chatty one, huh?” I asked for a copy of the video but was told that wasn’t possible. Stupid HIPAA rules or something.  The best they could do was to print out a few screenshots, but they came out all blurry.

I dressed and left the hospital ten minutes later. All in all it was no big deal and my b-hole felt normal within a few days.

A few weeks later the biopsy results came in via telephone. The nurse said, “The polyp was not malignant.” Then, without pausing she read through some long compliance statement. I was driving at the time and I started freaking out. Was malignant the bad one? Wait, did she say non-malignant? Do I have cancer? I interrupted her.

“Non-malignant means non-cancerous, right?”


“So, I don’t have cancer?”


Since 99% of us are morons and don’t know if malignant or benign is the one that means cancer, I don’t think “non-malignant” is the most useful language. Just say, “You gots the cancer” or “You do not gots the cancer.” Or at the very least follow the next sentence with, “Non-malignant means cancer-free, stupid person.”

I’m bringing this up at the annual Colon-Rectal conference next spring. I put in a request to lead a session called “Talkin’ Cancer to Stupid People.” I just have to finish the slides and book the hotel room in Pittsburgh.

11 thoughts on “My Colonoscopy Was Fun and I’m Willing to Share the Gross Details”

  1. UP says:

    I can relate. Had mine in July, but was out cold. After reading this, I’m glad!! Funnynstuff

  2. Gwen says:

    Congrats on your tight sphincter and that fancy “non-malignant” polyp. You are a real rock star. I plan to work on incorporating the word “crestfallen” into my daily lingo ASAP. Thanks for the laughs at your expense! I woke Lola up reading this because I could not contain my laughter! PS – it was worth it.

    Full of shits & giggles, Gwen 🙂

  3. Quirky Chrissy says:

    This reminds me of my colposcopy (which is a video camera in lady bits instead of the butthole). It’s fascinating to watch a camera inside your body.

    Glad you don’t have the cancer!

  4. Bun Karyudo says:

    I wondered about that anesthetic creating an overwhelming urge to talk. I’m usually pretty talkative to start with, but I’m just not sure what I’d say to a medical professional busy pushing a tube up my backside. I guess I could talk about the weather.

  5. Jack says:

    Better to “yelp” than to ask “Is it in yet?” Funny stuff.

  6. Karoline Riskowski says:

    Wow, D.J…..that was impressive. I didn’t know you were supposed to start screening for that at such a young age. You’re correct, they don’t totally knock you out, they “twilight” you. I congratulate you on takin’ it like a man. Cheers, buddy, on a clean colon!

  7. Carolyn flaherty says:

    That was fabulous. Thx for sharing. Love your humor, your writing style. Open & honest despite technically being a tight ass.

  8. Marissa says:

    I clenched whilst enjoying your account of a colonoscopy. I’m due for one, but since I just endured a year of surgery, chemo, radiation, scan after scan, my oncologist told me I get a reprieve for a few months. I had the non-benign (see what I did there?) variety of breasticular cancer. I’m all good now … for now.

  9. MeglyMc says:

    It’s wrong that I’m reading this and just wondering how much weight I could lose doing the prep, isn’t it?

  10. Kimberly says:

    I can relate!!! When I had mine I woke up when they were yanking that camera out of me. The nurse was yanking it like it was a water hose she was trying to wind up! I screamed “OUCH, I can feel that” but I don’t think they heard me. They say redheads require a lot more knock out medicine than other people and I also require mega shots of novacaine when I go to the dentist.

  11. Andrea says:

    Here’s a quirky tidbit of information for you. The metal arm out of nowhere polyp picker action, is often referred to as a “hot snare polyectomy”. The more you know!

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