I am so grateful to live in a community, where we enjoy state of the art medicine. I turned 50 this year and went in for my very first colonoscopy. I’m feeling fine, but it’s a good idea for men my age to be examined for colorectal cancer or other disease. Here we are in the year 2005 and I find it hard to believe that most people undergoing this test will still be subjected to the barbaric colonscope, a long flexible tubular instrument inserted into the rectum and poked around the colon, while the doctor watches on a remote video device.
Our doctor, on the other hand, has been trained in the latest hands-on technologies and this has been a boon for patients, who suffer less discomfort during the procedure and receive a much more thorough exam. This is how it works. The doctor and one or two assistants board a submarine- like probe (pictured below), which is miniaturized and inserted painlessly and effortlessly into the rectum. Once inside, the nuclear powered colorectal vehicle begins its ascent up into the colon for the exam.
I arrived at the doctor’s office a bit late and found the gastrologist and one of the nurses waiting for me in the examination room. They were already suited up and ready for the procedure.
Within minutes, the doctor and his crew were seated in the probe and awaiting the miniaturization process. This takes about ten minutes and the actual insertion just takes a little push from a technician in the room.
Once inside the colon, the doctor and nurse(s) leave the probe with their instruments to explore the organ for polyps, perforations, evidence of infection or other anomalies. Although I followed my prep routine to the letter, it seems there was still a bit of the Vietnamese bun vermicelli I had for lunch Tuesday attached to the colon wall. So, it was a bit more work than they are used to, hacking their way through some very tough rice noodles.
The procedure went well and it looked as if I have a healthy colon, but they did find a few polyps, which they had to cauterize after clipping them for biopsy:I sure hope they’re benign.
All in all, the procedure was painless on my part. The doctor and crew were able to exit just as easily as they had entered and after a bit of cleanup, were returned to their normal size to give me the results.
You know, at my age I sometimes feel as if I’ve seen it all. Something that was once science fiction is now a commonplace medical procedure.