Do I Know How to Celebrate or What?

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It appears I’ll be “celebrating” Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month by having a colonoscopy. Less than one year after I had the last one.

I was supposed to have it several months ago, but got caught up with a kidney infection and ginormous kidney stone and then I kind of, um, procrastinated.

See, I had this colonoscopy last April, but the doctor apparently didn’t have a scope long enough to reach the end of my colon, so he told me I had to go elsewhere and have another colonoscopy. Just what you want to hear right after you’ve had a colonoscopy: that you need to have another one.

Well, they did find (and remove) nine polyps. And my father has had a cancerous polyp (and part of his colon) removed, so I’m at risk.

It’s not the colonoscopy itself that’s the problem, it’s the prep: liquid diet; very strong laxative.

So, to add to the excitement on this most auspicious month, I’ve been asked to take part in a research study about colonoscopy prep solutions. I passed the telephone questions part and will go next week for a physical and labs and more questions and see if I get to be randomized to one of three prep solutions, one of which is the dreaded GoLYTELY — consisting of a gallon of yucky stuff you have to drink. During which, I’m told, you don’t. “Go” lightly, that is.

(Please don’t let me have to drink a gallon of GoLYTELY.)

Keeping in the celebratory spirit, however, you are encouraged to make your own music after the procedure is over.

On another uncomfortable subject, I’ve been thinking lately about how the cyber world has changed our notions of friends. Was Gonzo ahead of his time when he sang, “There’s not a word yet for old friends who’ve just met,” in the (pre-internet) Muppet Movie song, “I’m Going To Go Back There Someday?”

Thanks to the computer, I have old friends I’ve NEVER met. Chances are you do, too. Back in the day, we lived in communities where friendships were made face-to-face and, when something happened, the community knew about it.

Today, the world is our community and those connections may not be there.

One of the first things my husband said to me after I rejoined the conscious world in the intensive care unit last spring was, “I have NO idea how to get in touch with your ‘people.'”

Goodness knows why he didn’t think to look in the address book on my computer, but whatever.

I was reminded of that a couple of days ago when I finally got up the nerve to call my friend and fellow Lobegoner, Roger. It had been weeks and months since any of the gang had heard from him and that could mean just all kinds of bad stuff. Relief came when he picked up the phone.

“Thank goodness you’re still on this side of the grass!” I exclaimed when he said “hello.”

Roger, who’s had Type 1 diabetes for 60 or so years (his first endocrinologists were Elliott Joslin and Priscilla White), hadn’t called or e-mailed any of us for a while because…he was adding a second story to his house and — oh yeah — had been in the hospital because of a virus.

While we don’t like to admit it — at least, I don’t — we’re fragile people. Unlike most people, we have to work kind of hard at maintaining our good health; we have to always be vigilant to what’s happening with our bodies. We’re at higher risk for…well, seemingly everything.

Another member of the gang, a woman in her 30s, died in her sleep. It’s suspected hypoglycemia was at fault. Her husband was friends with another husband, so that word got out in time for a number of us to attend her funeral. Years later, I still miss her. She kept us all laughing. (Although she was NOT the one who put two huge balloons under her shirt and chanted: “Look at me! I’m Jan!” as she bounced across the lawn, she probably was the instigator.)

(As an aside, while driving to her funeral, I got a phone call from another member of the gang announcing he’d just had an islet transplant — during which he was wearing his Camp Lobegon t-shirt. I was crying with sadness for one and with joy for another. All at the same time.)

But there was another, a retired neurosurgeon, who just…dropped out of sight. No posts to the gang. No posts to the mail list we all belong to. No way to reach him except via e-mail.

It might be a good idea for all of us to give somebody a list of people to contact. Just in case.

Aside from that, I’m planning my garden. (I can plant lettuce, onions, carrots, and turnips this month!) And trying to decide if I want to get a bathing suit for my cruise next month. Do you think people would stare if a fat old lady with one leg that doesn’t go all the way to the ground shows up at the pool? And, if so, should I care? I’ll have to ponder that for a while. Or ask if the pool is accessible. If not, what’s the point, right?

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