Life is a series of milestones.

At year 1 you walk.
At 16 you get to drive.
At 21 you’re old enough to drink alcohol.
And at 50, you get a colonoscopy.


I was ready. Lots of my buddies had been through it already, and if they could do it, so could I.

The day before, the nice lady handed me two pills and a plastic jug with powder in the bottom. “Fill this up with water and drink it, one cup every 10 minutes. You’ll know what to do after that.”

Oh, I had heard about “The Day Before”, and had steeled myself for the experience. When I got home I kissed my wife goodbye, forbidding her from being anywhere near me for the next several hours, then took a chug.

If syrup had no taste, this was what it would be like to drink syrup. I fought down a gag reflex, set my watch, and tried to think of other things. Baseball. Mowing the lawn. Pancakes with syrup. I would fight the gag reflex 15 more times over the next two and a half hours.

(We’ll fast forward through the rest of the night.)

The next day I was ushered into a small room, and a nice lady began asking me questions. Do you have a family history of intestinal problems? Are you allergic to any medications? Are you a scared little sissy boy?

Another woman entered the room and started preparing the medications.

“You can take your clothes off now. Put on this robe – it’s open in the back.” Duh.

I tried to maintain my composure. “Of course”, I thought, “these two ladies will leave shortly, allowing the doctor and I to get through this discreetly and with dignity.”

“Here’s the doctor now.” In walked ANOTHER lady, young enough to be my daughter. She introduced her team, two of whom I had already met. They were all female. One of them noted that my blood pressure was a “little elevated.” “You’re probably just nervous,” she said.


This is why they give you the drugs.

They say that you’re supposed to forget everything afterwards. This isn’t true, at least for me. I remember everything. But eventually they finished and my humiliation was overshadowed by the knowledge it would be quite awhile until my next check up.

And I realized that life will continue on as before, marked by a series of milestones.

Only from now on, they’re all colonoscopies.


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