Reminder popped up on my calendar, and I ignored it. Then another. And another. Again and again, reminding me it was that time again: time to renew my subscription to the colonoscopy club.
I’ve written before about my frequent flyer membership to the let’s-not-die-of-colon-cancer club, and you may recall the love affair I have with my ass doctor.
“Stop calling me that, Kathryn,” says the ass doctor.
Only telemarketers and physicians call me Kathryn: it’s my way of knowing who to hang up on when the unknown number rings my cell.
Anyway, here’s the whole story about me and my favorite ass doctor, who did save my life and would save yours too, if you make an appointment to get the pipes checks for anomalies and polyps.
At one return visit to Mr. Ass Doctor, I was patiently waiting my turn. I had starved myself the suggested thousand hours pre-op, conscientiously prepped, doing shots upon shots of prescribed colon cleanse until I was 5 pounds lighter with squeaky clean intestines.
The hard part was over. Or so I thought.
I arrived the designated three hours pre-op, with a designated driver and/or Uber on speed dial, and waited for my name to be called and the papers to be signed so that they would indeed get paid and if not, I would forfeit my house, car, dogs, and college savings fund. (Sorry, Boy.)
It was then I felt the familiar gush that only me, God, and Margaret are all too familiar with. And every single woman on the planet that understands that reference.
How is this possible?
No period for weeks and weeks and weeks, and now it makes an encore, peri-menopausal appearance? Today, of all days? After I spent the day tethered to a toilet with the Netflix volume cranked loud so nobody could hear the powerful almighty force which was colon cleanse?
The horrific prep was done – and the rest was easy-peasy. Not my first rodeo. I knew 30 minutes post-op I’d be at the diner for a turkey club and onion rings. There was no way I wanted to be turned away from “the procedure” just because my body decided to show off and offer up a going out of business sale right then and there, in the Outpatient-R-Us: not-quite-a-hospital-but-more-of-a-medi-drive-thru for colonoscopies, meniscus tears, rotator cuff, ears, nose, and throat – whatever hole that ails you one-stop do-it-all surgery center.
I was primed, hungry, and ready to roll. Except now I had my period.
Explaining the situation to the nurse didn’t help much. She looked at me shocked. Then wearily. Was she doubting I had eggs that could still hatch? Did she think I was lying to get out of the snake?
“Oh my. I’ll check with Doctor and be right back,” she said, spun on her white croc and fled behind the blue curtain, like she was going to consult the Great Oz or something. She said: “Doctor.” Like hospital and prom. Why can’t no “the” in front of the nomenclature? He’s not God. Or Oz. He’s my ass doctor.
Which is what she returned to say.
“Doctor says insert a tampon and we can proceed as scheduled.”
Great. Thrilled not to be turned away, like an underage kid sneaking into The Palladium or CBGB, instead of a middle-aged woman begging for a tampon and a colonoscopy.
Later, on the table, ass up in my blue paper gown in a mini-storage room no bigger or warmer than a walk-in-freezer, my favorite ass doc saunters in, blasting a little Bowie or Blondie like it was 1980something and we were on a hot date in the city.
I was embarrassed, not looking my best in a paper bag, hairnet, and no undies; now with the tell-tale tampon string hanging out for the world to see like a party streamer trying to dress up the worst party ever:
“Doc, I’m a little embarrassed. Got my period, just now, like today. This morning. This is sooooo awkward. The nurse told you, right? We’re good?”
“Kathryn,” he said, hand on my shoulder and looking into my eyes. “We are good.”
Sensing my discomfort, he leaned in closer:
“Not my hole, Kathryn, not my hole. We are all systems go. Count back: 10, 9, 8, seven … ”
And I did. And he did.
And that’s the hole story.