Newspaper Article Archive of
A colonoscopy is a medical procedure that uses a long flexible tube with a tiny light and camera on one end. Its purpose is to screen for polyps and colorectal cancer.
Most young people have no idea what this is but as you near 50 years of age you start hearing about it. Some doctors recommend this procedure when you turn 50 and others say 55.
Personally I have been through this three times with a sigmoidoscopy thrown in for good measure. I won’t go into too many details, but it involves not eating anything for 24-plus hours, drinking this nasty stuff and spending a lot of time in the bathroom.
My favorite colonoscopy story (you know you are getting older if you have more than one to chose from), involves myself and a fire department call.
In 2004 I was scheduled for an afternoon appointment for this “procedure.” I had already finished all of the preliminaries; my stomach was completely empty, and I was “really” looking forward to the afternoon.
That morning, Conesville Fire Department was paged to a structure fire. As I neared town, I could see this huge plume of black smoke in the sky and knew it was bad – a fully involved mobile home.
As I pulled into the fire station there were no vehicles or personnel to be seen … great!
I was near the panic mode when another firefighter arrived. We both took a truck, arrived at the scene and started fighting the fire. Quickly some of our fellow members, along with Columbus Junction Fire and Nichols Fire showed up to help.
There was no saving the home, but nobody was injured, and it didn’t spread so you could say it was a success. After the fire, I returned home and headed for Iowa City.
It was a busy day at the University of Iowa, and my 2 p.m. appointment ended up being like 5 p.m. After the procedure and my return from “neverland,” it was around 6 p.m.
I guess the lessons I learned that day were turn off the pager (probably not an option), try not to take in any more smoke than you have to and try to schedule your appointment for the morning.
Definitely No. 3.
Hopefully, if I have to go through this every five years, I will get to do it several more times (without the fire call).
The reason for this letter is twofold.
One is to remind everyone that your local fire department can be called anytime of the day or night, including holidays, parties, weekends and meals.
The second is a little more serious. I tried to add some humor to the story but not the subject. This year, 135,000 people will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and 50,000 will die of the disease.
This is something that needs to be added to your physical exams to catch polyps and cancer early.
William “Butch” Hesseltine