Spear that poo, do that test and avoid a balloon up the bum - Susan Morrison

Some weeks ago I was a guest of the NHS. Again. To be honest, I’m starting to think I should be getting loyalty points. Five tests and you get a free coffee from the hospital shop. Just an idea.
Combine a bit of the spa-day element to scans, says Susan MorrisonCombine a bit of the spa-day element to scans, says Susan Morrison
Combine a bit of the spa-day element to scans, says Susan Morrison

My lovely oncologist suggested a colonoscopy, and a high-tech one at that. A balloon would be inserted up where the sun don’t shine and gas is pumped in, which is a bit of a turnaround from the usual state of affairs.

I looked up the reason for the gas and it’s to “distend (inflate) the colon as much as possible to eliminate any folds or wrinkles that might hide polyps from the doctor’s view”. I did wonder if they could adapt it to my face, since there are a number of alarming folds and wrinkles there that I could happily see eliminated.

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This is where the NHS misses out on a business opportunity. I’ll bet there are many ways to repurpose medical procedures. Why not combine a bit of the spa-day element to scans? Get a facial whilst your colon gets checked.

On the day itself, you bet I was ready to rock. For one thing, I hadn’t had anything to eat for what felt like ages and for another they gave me stuff to drink that cleaned my innards out more effectively than a Scotch Bonnet sandwich. I was totally hollow and weirdly giggly.

The balloon, I was relieved to discover, was quite small and scientific. The way things are going for NHS budgets right now I wouldn’t have been surprised if the nice radiographer had whipped out a semi-deflated shiny metallic helium number with “Happy Retirement!” on the front, left over from Lizzie’s leaving do the week before.

If you find yourself in a similar position, the best advice is just relax. The balloon did its job and the gas blurbled about. It’s a little uncomfortable, but it doesn’t take that much time. The fantastic radiographer completely kiboshed the yuck factor by being calming, reassuring and professional.

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Make sure you have a good friend/other half to collect you from the hospital afterwards. You might require a little privacy as the gas departs. It was bad enough in the car home. In the living room the trumpet involuntary from the rear was quite startling and woke the cat.

Don’t forget to stock the kitchen. I hit that fridge like a teen boy who hasn’t eaten for 45 minutes.

And the results are in. The lovely Lesley gave me the thumbs up, if that’s not an unfortunate phrase to use, and an official letter arrived from no less that the surgeon who had operated on my primary bowel tumour, way back in 2019.

Apparently my bowel is in tip-top condition and there are no signs of any recurrence in the area of the original tumour. There are no horrible polyps hiding in folds or wrInkles. My bowel was described as “functional”. It’s a quote I think I’ll have on all my future Fringe posters.

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Fun day out as it was, it’s probably best if you don’t have to do it. Those little envelopes with the screening tests will be landing on door mats again soon. You might receive one today. Spear that poo, do that test and avoid a balloon up the bum.

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