Friday, January 27, 2012

Necessary Evils

I'm going to talk about bodily functions and body parts and all sorts of stuff your mother told you was not polite to talk about in public. But I'm going to do it anyway because it needs to be done, and sometimes, it really is humorous.  Because you have to laugh at what you have to put yourself through to be healthy...or else you'd cry...and never do it.

Women suffer the majority of human indignities all in the name of health.  Men do not.  I blame Eve.  After all, it was her big idea to eat the apple.  And lets talk about that for a moment shall we?  You give up your right to live in paradise for an apple?  Please. It wasn't even a chocolate covered apple for goodness sake.  I would give up nothing for an APPLE!'s chocolate or you get nothing from me.  Just ask my husband.

Thanks to Eve we women find ourselves with our feet in stirrups more than John Wayne.  And it's not even the childbirth that accounts for most of it.  I've birthed three children.  If I only had to use stirrups three times I'd be throwing a party right now.  No sir, it's those yearly checkups we all love so much.  There is such indignity in a pelvic exam.  Put your feet in stirrups and then show parts of yourself that no one else should see, to people you hardly know.  Who came up with this plan anyway?  I'm sure it was a man.  And then, if you've ever been lucky enough to have an internal ultrasound...well, I can't even begin to explain how much fun that is.

And then there's the mammogram.  You find yourself unclothed from the waist up in a room that is 30 degrees below freezing.  As if it wasn't awkward enough to have your breasts exposed to a person you don't even know, the girls are standing at attention the entire time, acting like they like the process.  And then they put stickers on them...great.  Next you are forced to have your breasts squished like chicken cutlets being prepared for dinner.  The thinner the better.  Ouch.  And if you are amply endowed, (meaning you are overweight, like me) you suffer the added indignity of the side shot.  Yes ma'am, we need to mammogram your fat too.  Lovely.

I have to add, get your prostate exams.  I can't write about what that's like because, well, I don't have a prostate.  I know it involves the doctor sticking his finger in your rectum...but you'll get over it.  Just remember that you never had to push anything the size of a football out of your penis.  That should make you feel better.

So, as if the yearly pelvic exam and breast squishing, and the prostate exams weren't humiliating enough, once you get to a certain age ( or you have a family history, like me) you have to suffer further indignities.  And I'm happy to say, this indignity is an equal opportunity humiliator.  Men and women alike must suffer the indignities of the dreaded...colonoscopy.  Yes ladies and gentlemen, I'm going to talk to you about your rectum. (And at this point, I know my mother has turned a full circle in her grave.)  So the worst thing about having a colonoscopy is not the procedure itself, but the prep.  That would be the bowel prep.  You start out the day before the procedure on a clear liquid diet.  Now, I don't know about you, but clear liquids don't do it for me, so by the time noon rolls around I'm pretty cranky, and then around dinner time it's time to start the prep.  So basically your starving to death and then you have to drink some crappy liquid that literally makes you crap.  Some people can take a pill or a small cocktail consisting of a cup or two of liquid, to get the ball (or bowels, as it were) rolling.  But if you are diabetic, like me, you aren't so lucky.  You must drink a gallon of the most weird liquid known to man.  It doesn't taste like anything but it has a you could use it to oil and lube your car.  Oh, and you have to drink 10 ounces every 15 minutes until it's gone.  That's 12 glasses people!  Around glass 5 you're sure you won't be able to drink anymore (but you have to)...and the solution begins to do it's magic.  Now, you are on the toilet for the remainder of the prep.  And this is where you find out just how much your significant other really loves you.  Because you are unable to stay off the toilet...they must bring you the lovely liquid so you can drink it while you are sitting on said toilet.  Humiliating.  Eventually the prep is finished and you wish you could relax but you are still starving and now your ass feels like it's on fire.  Squish my boobs any day.

The day of the procedure finally comes.  You are still starving and you just want it to be over with.  You'll be happy to know that you are basically asleep while they do the procedure, so you don't feel anything.  But it's at the moment right before you fall asleep that you remember that your more than ample rear end is going to be exposed to a room full of people you don't know.  And then, the doctor, whom you barely know, is going to stick a camera up your rectum.  Double lovely.  Before you know it, you're waking up in the recovery room and if you are lucky, like me, they tell you everything is A-OK.  So you suffered through the biggest indignity known to man and you came through with flying colors.  At that moment, when they tell you you are healthy, it's all worth it.

So, now I'm going to get serious on you.  Because this is the actual reason for this post.  Take care of your bodies.  Listen to what they tell you.  If you have symptoms that concern you, go to a doctor.  Don't be afraid that it might be nothing and you're wasting the doctor's time.  That's what they're there for.  And they love being able to tell people everything is OK.  Suffer the indignities of the pelvic exam, the mammogram, the prostate exam, the colonoscopy and any other tests you might need.  Because it means life, not death.  I lost both my parents to cancer.  My father to colon cancer, my mother to breast cancer.  I can't afford not to keep up on my yearly breast screenings and my colon screenings whenever my doctor tells me they are necessary.  The humiliation and indignity are necessary evils of staying healthy.  Because I care about you, I implore you to do these things so I don't have to lose anymore people to these insidious diseases.

And because I am asking this of you, I am going to make a promise to you.  I am basically a healthy person, but I have this awful weight issue which has caused me to have high blood pressure and diabetes.  I need to lose the weight so I can get off the meds and be completely healthy.  The weight is the key to it all.  So my promise to you in 2012 is that I AM going to lose the weight, get off the meds, and keep myself as healthy as I can.  In return, you can get your screenings done and stay healthy so I can keep you in my life.

Thanks for reading...and happy screenings to you all!

Quote of the Day:
"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure"  ~Ancient Proverb~


  1. You did a good job explaining Ger and good luck on your weight thing. Glad to here everything went well.
    Uncle Ted & Aunt Georgie.

  2. Gerri,
    Love your blog and so much of what you say is my story too. Even though time and miles has separated us for a long time, I feel a strong connection to you as I was so close to your mom and dad, your brothers and sister. I know you miss your parents; I miss them too. Stopping by Evie's and Art's was a big part of my life for a very long time. The other commonality we both share is I too have a weight problem and diabetes developed about two years ago. I have made an appointment with a dietician coming up very quickly next month to help me with what no diet on my own can seem to do: lose the weight! And then there's the time and energy for the exercise part -- would love to exchange ideas with you on this one. It has it's own funny, humiliating side too. Maybe we can become "blog friends" to encourage each other along the way. The good news is that I feel just like you do on the colonoscopy, mammogram, and paps. They are humiliatingly necessary and I'm soon to be up to date on all of these.
    Here's to good health for our kids,
    Sandy Breece

  3. Thanks Sandy...I would love to exchange ideas with you. I feel like losing weight is the only thing in my life that I do not have control of. I really need to change that.