Monday, June 7, 2010

My colonoscopy - without the gory details

Two weeks ago I had a colonoscopy. I'm happy to report that my colon is in good shape, thank-you very much. And of course, there's a theatre angle.

I knew that once you reach a certain age - which I uh, attained last year - you're supposed to have one. Everyone I talked to said it was no big deal - they put you to sleep and the next thing you know, you're in the recovery room.

I also knew that the preparation, which involves a liquid diet and a thorough cleansing of the system, was going to make me physically uncomfortable. It did. I'll spare you the gory details but even now I shudder just walking past a display of Gatorade at the supermarket.

So, I kept putting it off. I had plenty of time, it wasn't the right time of year, I didn't have a family history of colon cancer, whatever. I'm very good at procrastination, especially when it involves physical discomfort.

Now, here's where the theatre angle comes in.

One of my regular blog reads is Guy Dads, written by Ed and his husband Eddie, who live in Northern California. They have a big, blended family, they're San Francisco Giants fans, opera buffs and they love theatre. I love reading about their marathon theatre trips to New York City.

Well in October, Ed wrote that he had colon cancer. Thankfully, it was caught early and although it's been a harrowing nine months involving multiple surgeries, he's doing great. I'm looking forward to reading about their next theatre trip to New York, whenever that might be.

When Ed was too ill to post, Eddie has kept friends, family and readers informed. One thing he wrote struck me as so important:

I cannot tell you how wonderful it has been to be in a state, city and hospital system where not one person has blinked an eye every time I walk in anywhere with Ed or where I call or show up and say I am his spouse.

The doctors, nurses, receptionists, social worker, medical records clerks, etc. have each and every one treated me with respect and as the person who of course should be monitoring and managing Ed's health care.

I cannot imagine how much more difficult this whole situation would have been in most of the other states of this 'free' country. In many, I would not have been allowed in most of the offices. I certainly would not be called by the doctor, emailed with the test results, or allowed to ask anyone any question and get it answered.

This is why President Obama's April mandate, that hospitals extend visitation rights to the partners of gay and lesbian patients and respect their right to make decisions for their partners, is so important. A new study by the Human Rights Campaign finds 42 percent of the nation's 200 biggest hospitals lack policies to protect gay and lesbian patients.

Ed's cancer diagnosis was certainly a wake-up call for me. Without it, I probably would have put off the colonoscopy even longer. The day before wasn't pleasant but the test was a piece of cake (if only I could have had a piece of cake that morning!) - and it beats the alternative.

Normally I wouldn't get so personal but as the Talmud teaches, if you save one life it's as if you've saved the entire world.


GuyDads said...

Mozel Tov on the healthy colon! Thanks for the nice words. Our trip to NYC this July is on. Eddie has almost all the tickets ordered.

Esther said...

Awww, you're welcome! And I'm so happy you'll be able to get to New York City this summer. I'll be looking forward to a full report. :-)

Bob said...

I applaud you for getting your colon screened. I dread that day, but hopefully I don't procrastinate -- a skill I'm also very good at -- to the point of avoiding completely.

Esther said...

Thanks Bob! You're still decades away from the test! By then, hopefully, science will have devised a more comfortable preparation. ;-)