After a previous last-minute cancellation, today was my Bowel Cancer Screening day! So, at 9:00 am this morning, my wife, Rachel, gleefully inserted a plastic tube into my anus along with what seemed like a stein full of potent, fast-acting fluid. Which was nice. (A word of advice to any others out there aiding their friends or lovers in this delicate task: don’t precede the operation with the phrase, “I’m going in dry”. This will almost certainly result in a strong clenching effect that then takes several minutes to subside).
Cleansing irrigation done, Rachel then whisked me off to the hospital. However, why she found the need to put rubber sheets on the car seat I just don’t know. I had repeatedly assured her that after the explosive movements during the past hour, the only thing still likely to be inside me was the doctor’s wedding ring that he claimed went missing after last September’s prostate exam.
Twenty minutes after arriving at the hospital, my vital signs were tested. Somehow, despite now lying on a couch in a foetal position, dressed in a flimsy, backless gown whilst four women (including a menacing looking one armed with a camera attached to a hosepipe) stared intently at my exposed arse, my measured blood-pressure was somehow still that of a finely honed athlete. I was offered a tray of exotic sounding drugs (don’t ask me what – I only know their street names) to ease what can, apparently, be an uncomfortable experience. Not wishing to appear wimpy, I refused the narcotics and manfully instructed the menacing looking one (who was still armed with a camera attached to a hosepipe but was now also wearing a miners’ helmet and Davey lamp) to just “horse it in”. Which she did. From a distance of 12 feet. With a run-up.
And then, almost before I could say “Dyno-Rod”, the credits on the TV screen started rolling, the colour started returning to my knuckles, and with a sound akin to that of a champagne cork popping, my rectum was tubing-free and it was all over. Thankfully, the nurses didn’t start clapping or high-fiving.
Joking aside, although this won’t go down as one of the more dignified experiences of my life, and the resulting big screen appearance of my insides probably won’t make this year’s BAFTAs, at least I can now rest easy that an important part of me has been given a clean bill of health. This, plus the fact that I will almost certainly never again hear the immortal words; “Mr Pople, you really do have a spectacular bowel” has made me happy that we still have such an amazing NHS in this country.