Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Proctoscope Blues



Which Picture is Scarier ... ?

Van Harn sent me a funny bit by Dave Barry on his colonoscopy. For those of you who are unaware of what this is, it is a form of endoscopy in which the colon is examined in some detail. The colon, being within one's body, is accessed by means of a long tube with a camera in it via the rectal opening.

Yeah. They shove a long tube up your butt and it's lights! camera! action!

Barry's article is hilarious.

Medical humor, like that of cops and reporters and hangmen, tends to the dark side. Things that involve death, dismemberment, and assorted body fluids that people in the ER think are funny don't always play in Peoria, but here's one ...

Back in the day when I was working in the medical field, there was a similar procedure, though not as in-depth, a proctoscopic exam. Shorter tube, no camera, to view the last section of bowel before it reached the dump, and this was something the doctors at the Family Practice clinic where I worked routinely did.

I have been on the back side of this tube, assisting.

Preparation for the patient undergoing this procedure is the same as for the colonoscopy -- clear liquids only for a day before, and a laxative purging, both to provide a clear field. Because you know what is normally in residence.

Our scope came equipped with a surgical rubber tube attached to a drain, which was connected on the other end to a vacuum pump feeding a large jar, in case there were -- um -- dregs the diet and such missed.

One bright and sunny day, Dr. X had a patient sceduled. Man came in, put on the gown, kneeled upon the motorized table and was positioned arse-up for the event. The nurse handed the KY-ed scope to Dr. X .

Thing was, the patient hadn't done the prep and very quickly, Dr. X -- ah -- struck oil.

Cursing as the flow commenced, Dr. X yelled, "Turn on the pump, quick!"

And the assistant -- not me, fortunately -- did so. Which was fine, except that thirty seconds after the rescue unit cranked up, the motor seized and the pump died.

If ever a man needed an endoscope pump to be in working order, Dr. X did at that moment, but alas ...

The result of which was that Dr. X demonstrated a remarkable ability in his command of Anglo-Saxon -- and had to change his shoes, his pants, and his shirt. Plus the floor, table and the very walls had to be cleaned. It does not inspire confidence in patients when they enter a surgical room and notice that there is a funny smell, and, say ... what's that spot on the ceiling there ... ?

On my lunch hour, once I was able to control my hysterical laughter, I composed a song for Dr. X entitled "Proctoscope Blues." Lost, alas, to the vagaries of time, I thought it might be one of the funniest things I had ever written: "I got the proctoscope blues baby, got feces all over my shoes ..."

Oddly enough, Dr. X didn't think it was funny at all.

Of course, this was the same man who invited half the office to his house for dinner once, to demonstrate his new turkey smoker. He put a twenty-five pound bird in the device -- it took three days to properly cook the thing -- but forgot to turn it on. Imagine his surprise -- and ours -- when he opened it to find a raw turkey that had been at room temperature for three days ...

1 comment:

K T said...

I laughed myself silly on this one...Thanks for posting it.