Dig Deep

Colon cancer runs in my family. Procrastination runs in me. So, a few years after my suggested year to get another colonoscopy, I went to the doctor and negotiated a few more years. Then I let even more years slip by. At this point, I was way overdue. I went in again. Now when my doctor, Denise Hertz (read: hurts), saw how profoundly neurotic I was – she decided I could go in for the virtual colonoscopy instead. It’s offered by the same radiology group that does my equally dreaded, but not procrastinated (usually) mammograms.

Let me circle back quickly to when I lost my colonoscopy virginity. I’m around 50. Probably exactly 50, since it’s the age they want you to get your first colonoscopy. I make an appointment with some dude in Beverly Hills that other friends have been to. It’s in a surgical center at the bottom of an office building. I’m sedated and in the middle of the procedure. I say, “Owww!” (Don’t worry, I won’t circle back to my C-section without anesthetic – you can do that on your own in my blog.) I’m pulled out from being under and the doctor looks at me and says he can’t finish the procedure because I have — wait for it — “a mangled, twisted colon.” Yep, that’s what he said. So, I ask him, “How many fucking people in the world have a mangled, twisted colon?” He answers, “Two percent.”

He suggests I go upstairs to the Lebovic, Schwimer & Goldberg office and see if they can finish the job, virtually. I won’t go into too much detail, except to say that by the time I finished, still on drugs from the other office, I was incredibly nauseous. (If you do like details – they told me to fart out the air they’d blown up my ass. I’m serious.) Sheet white and ready to vomit, I tell the front office person how ill I was and she gets real nasty and asks me to leave. I walk out into the hall and throw up into a fake plant.

Now, cut to all these years later, and I never went into the Beverly Hills office for anything ever again. They have a duplicate office in Santa Monica. Same doctors. No front office mean girl. I can live (hopefully) without seeing her for the rest of my life.

The year is 2019. Everything in the world is status quo. Everything except three stressful years of a criminal president. I pick up the supplies for my procedure — liquids that look like a witch doctor’s potions. The goal? To be as empty as possible.

Should you know that I went to high school with the radiologist that is set to perform the virtual colonoscopy? Yes, you should. Should you know that he also does my mammograms, and at every single reunion for the past 40 years, I make the same joke to him in front of our friends about touching my tits?  Sure. He does the ultrasound, then feels around for lumps. So, yeah, inadvertently, we’ve gone to “second base,” as it was known back in the dark ages when we were in Beverly High together.

But we hadn’t been to third base, or home base — that’s a different doctor — and a woman. What would you call  the orifice into which he’s going to insert a camera in baseball terms? The dugout. That’s right. We’ll call it the dugout.  So, a few days before the colonoscopy – virtual, still – a procedure I wish I could live without – I schedule a “bikini” wax. By bikini – I mean asshole. I’ve never done this before.

With my leg high in the air and both legs spread wide apart in the most humiliating position, I tell Mila, a lovely, elderly Russian woman, to take it all off — because this dude from high school who is now a doctor is going to see me up close and personal! She asks no questions and puts her hot honey mixture in places not even I have seen, and trust me, no man has seen either. Call me a prude (no one ever has) but I kept all thrill seekers away from them parts.

So now I’m, uh, clean-shaven. I call the office few days before and speak to his assistant. “So, Stan (I call him Stan, I know him forty years) is going to be putting things in my ass? She laughs and tells me no, he will not be down there at all. She is the one that will insert a tube that pumps air in. He is only at my head and running the machine. “Wait a minute” I say. “Stan won’t be anywhere near my just-waxed and perfectly smooth asshole? I got an expensive wax for this procedure.” She laughs and reassures me that no, Stan won’t be seeing anything.

A month or so later, I show up for our 50th reunion. Okay. I’m two years younger – it’s my brother’s class and I’m sort of an honorary member. Everyone is dressed up. It’s this one time every 10 years that most of us see each other. Stan and his gorgeous wife and another couple I barely know are sitting in a group. And one other person. So, I tell this story. The story of my wax job in order to look good for my closeup. I go into great detail. Stan tells me he thinks I should go on his site and write it as a testimonial. Consider this is my testimonial.

The tag I made at my reunion. I didn’t want to hug anyone. I’m allergic to perfume.

PSA: If colon cancer runs in your family, and even if it doesn’t and you have never had a colonoscopy, go now. It’s one of the cancers that can be caught early.

Food: After having an empty stomach and empty other parts of my body — I was famished and happy that they didn’t find any polyps. I walked across the street to Milo and Olive on Wishire Blvd. in Santa Monica and had scrambled eggs and toast. Delicious.

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6 Responses to “Dig Deep”

  1. Cherie Effron says:

    You have such a profound way with words … And I am never ever disappointed with your grand slam writing skills, for anything you share with us all…So sorry anyone would ever be mean to you ever! Am Just happy to know such a wit and lovely friend… This made me laugh and I needed it.. So Good for my soul.. Thank you, Fredde xo

  2. Linda says:

    More wit and wisdom from Fredde … love it! A colonoscopy I’ve had .. waxing, no. XOXO

  3. LibbieLane says:

    Fredde Duke your stories never disappoint!! Clever as shit !!!! Ha ha ha

  4. Brilliant writing.
    Our friendship is our secret.

  5. Mitch says:

    I’m still laughing.

  6. Carol Ward Dudley Katzka says:

    I have had six – no waxing – never even heard of doing that – have had a problem for 20 years – but the colonoscopes are perfect – its called a problem no one can diagnose –

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