I’m only 40 but due to a remarkable gene pool gifted to me by wondrous parents (who thoughtfully gave all the good genes to my sister), I suffer from a wealth of old man diseases.
When I hit college I lost my virginity and had my first varicose vein operation (nothing says sex appeal like surgical stockings). By 25, I found myself in traction for a bad back and by 30, my rotator cuffs were shot. There’s a lot of benefits touted about exercise, but apparently non of it applies to me.
By 32, my thyroid decided to retire and I gained 15lbs overnight. At 33 my gastric system said goodbye to gluten with the development of celiac disease and at 35 I suffered my first pulmonary embolism while out running. Yesterday, at the tender age of 40, I had my first colonoscopy.
Yes. I may actually be the real Benjamin Button.
(FYI The extend of my sister’s illness is arthritis in her little finger. Poor thing. But I digress.)
My doctor’s file on me is 12 inches thick and they’ve actually had to give me my own special slot in their system due to the weight of test results (a fact I’m reminded of during every visit). We’ve been on a first name basis since 2005 and at this point my doc doesn’t question my concerns as they literally all turn out to be a new diagnosis. When I developed a deep vein thrombosis in 2008, my doctor was heard to shout ‘Rachael’s gone deep’ across the doctors lounge and (embarrassingly), everyone knew who she was talking about (and knew it wasn’t in reference to the start of my porn career or a new interest in caving). She was excited to hear that my gastroenterologist was recommending a colonoscopy – clearly a whole new area of diseases she’d not considered was opening up for her. For my sake I hope not, but on the plus side her clinic might give me a plaque on the wall. God knows, I think my co-pays have financed a few vacation houses over the years.
The colonoscopy was something I dodged for a few years until fear finally caught up with me. Like root canal surgery you never hear anything good about it. The drugs aren’t that great, the whole situation is rife with embarrassment and its not like you get new boobs out of it at the end.
My gastroenterologist assured me that it was ‘no big deal’ but coming from a man who spends his life looking up and down either end of the digestive process, I question his sanity. But I signed up and prepared for humiliation.
I’m skipping the details suffice to say I didn’t leave the house for 24 hours and I lost about 8lbs preparing for the thing. No wonder old people don’t leave the house. They can’t.
The next morning I found myself in a ward of oldies waiting for the big reveal. It was enlightening. Not only did every nurse comment on my youth (finally, an upside) but the queue for the bathroom was endless – old people REALLY need to pee. Oh and they talk really loud about the state of their ..um… colon.
As I waited to be wheeled off, I was petted and patted by one of my 80 year old cohorts. We compared ailments and pill boxes, she commented on my tattoos and talked about her son (single and looking, wouldn’t you know it?). She asked about my dating life and mentioned that now I was all ‘whistle clean’ I’d feel totally different about finding someone new.
‘I do’, she said.
Dating at 80?? Lord help me. If it takes a clean colon to date at 80, I’m throwing in my chips now.
I can run my miles, downward dog myself into oblivion and keep my greys away but I draw the line at a repeat performance of yesterdays date with the gastroenterologist.
As Meatloaf sang, ‘ but I won’t do that’.