the short and short of it

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For about three months I was feeling progressively worse in my gut. My lower back was killing me most of the time and I was having near death moments from my degenerating lumbar spine disks almost every time I turned around. To top this, I was suddenly SO constipated I was afraid shit would start coming out my ears. No over the counter remedies would help at all, and I was cleaning out the pharmacy shelves to find something that worked, when finally the lowly milk of magnesia got things moving.

And, truly, "moving" is a generous word for it because goddam too much energy was involved in getting anything to happen. When it happened it wasn't even stuff I'd recognize as poop except that it was coming out my butt. I was spending more time and brain cells on the toilet than any other aspect of getting from day to day, and it never seemed to relieve the general sense of this is just goddam all the way wrong.

I kept hollering to Billy that it felt like my bowel was trying to eat my organs.

I finally caved and went to the ER. They did a CT scan of my abdomen. There were a bunch of things down there in clear states of not correct, looked as though I'd be months, maybe years dicking around with assorted specialists, but first order of business was a colonoscopy to see what more offenses to order would be in there.

Itty little Asian maniac general surgeon at the local hospital was called to duty to suss this for us. He is avid about his work.

He's in there, inching up my very steep and narrow sigmoid and just as he's cresting it he comes upon a row of three of the most splendid polyps in polyptical history, one of which would no doubt have won some sort of prize or entry in the records books. He wanted, of course, a picture of this amazing structure from hell and so used his little blower function to move the colon walls away from it enough to get the ultimate shot.

He never got that shot because that blower feature on the scope blew my colon into the rest of my abdomen. He just got to see enough to confirm that, yes, my bowel was indeed trying to eat my organs... that magnificent polyp [RIP] had been leading the charge.

The really "good" part about this explosion was, of course, that he had to immediately cut my abdomen wide open so that they could line up and take turns washing and rewashing bowel material and bits from my other organs, every inch of innards within the blast radius, and this allowed for many cultures of everything in there to test for cancer.

Takes a week to get those test results.

On Thanksgiving day, the results came in. Despite the ludicrous state of everything in my gut, the multifarious problematic states seen on CT, not a one of them was cancer.


Itty maniac surgeon said it was the best Thanksgiving of his life.

He and the other general surgeon who works there spent about a week arguing about the best way forward. Aggressive surgery-heavy, or conservative dressing-heavy approach. I yelled at them to get a military surgeon's advice and follow it. With the exception of no lead involved, this injury is identical to getting shot in the gut, and THE experts on this type of wound are, of course, military doctors.

To my utter amazement, they took my advice, and from that point forward progress, rapid progress, was made.

In a real sense, I saved my own life right there.

If nothing else goes wrong, only one more surgery will be needed to secure my complete recovery from this catastrophe... but I'm going to see if I can't find myself a star gastroenterologist to at least advise me if not go in and do what remains to be done.

Despite what they say, colonoscopy is NOT a low risk procedure, AND those stupid little occult blood tests they're always wanting you to give them a poop sample for are really only for collecting excuses to order you up a colonoscopy to rule out cancer.

There is another poop sample test that will test for actual cancer and other stuff that is not the least dangerous and ALMOST as good as getting a colonoscopy... and certainly the better option for frail little old ladies and gentlemen.

Heed me.


They're not saints. There is a heavy profit motive in all their seemingly altruistic health and medical guidelines.

I was very seriously planning on never letting any of them talk me into colonoscopy just for drill. This was not a drill and I was pretty well forced to do it by the polyp that would have relieved us of the continent of Africa, who we can all view now as having given its all to relieve me and Africa, but very many colonoscopies go wrong one way or another and the consequences can range from minor to death. Face it. YOU need to do the work to help keep from being killed by some faceless potentate who actually cares not half a fig if you live or die, and don't give me the stink eye for trying to warn you about it.

No one would rather come here and tell you they are a necessary discomfort than I would. It's not true, so you will never convince me I should say that to anyone. Given my extremity of misery at the time, it seemed the best choice for relieving it, and maybe if I'd done it for drill ten years ago that polyp could never have grown to such deadly proportions or maybe that steep angle at my sigmoid would have insured the blower blew me up just the same ten years ago as it did four weeks ago.

They simply did the math and figured fewer people would end up dead if they made the recommendation, "fewer". Maybe. That ignores how many grievous injuries don't add up to dead, and your discomfort, and whether your body can even take the strain and abuse of checking. YOU have to make those decisions before you dive in, before you blindly follow.

pipe up any time....