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August 8, 2022

Window on the World Column | Medical Adulting

There are things in life you literally jump at the opportunity to do … ooh, meet for lunch in Carmel, go and catch a show, take the dogs to the beach? Medical adulting is not one of them. I go to Sacramento to see my doctor — long story — but it serves to say that she is a very marvelous medical whizz, which is why I have no problem traveling a few miles to see her; she is also extremely to the point.

“Do I need to have a colonoscopy?” I ask her, hoping for the other answer. “You are two years late,” she reminds me. How time flies. How can it be 10 years since that very unmemorable procedure? She calls in the required referral — blah blah — and the colon shop are unusually prompt in their response. “Oh yes,” they say. “How soon would you like it?” How about the first of never, I think to just myself.

My friend lives in France and all they have to do is send a fecal sample through the post. How much better would that be? “You need to pick up your cleansing kit the week before…” Oh no, my heart stops; the cleansing kit. I see that horrible thing hasn’t gone the way of other adulting items over the past decade. The flip phone is a thing of the past, as is the CD player; but the colon-cleansing kit — that is still very much a thing. That part of the procedure I do remember oh so very clearly.

Sunday comes around, my very favorite day, and the day I’m a little more casual about my diet to be honest. It’s the day for a BBQ, or a couple glasses of wine. Even dessert can be seen in my house on a Sunday. It’s not the day for a cleanse when all you can eat is broth, or Jell-O — and not even raspberry Jell-O! Who, in their right mind, would go there on a Sunday, my day of so-called rest? Oh yeah, that’s right smarty pants — you just blew your favorite day for a deep bodily cleanse.

I’m not trying to put any of you off, because, let’s face it, colon cancer, is way worse than any clean out, but … for heaven’s sakes, at least do the cleanse on a Monday, when you are supposed to be a good girl after a more, shall we say, relaxing Sunday. Has nearly six decades of life taught you nothing?

Sunday blooming-annoying cleanse day comes around and I wonder if it would be better for all if I just stayed in bed for the duration — in nice proximity to the water closet and away from the fridge. It was ridiculous; I had no energy. I started to muck out various areas of our property, including the chicken pen and I just couldn’t do it. All I could think about was bacon and eggs and how long it would be before I could eat proper food. I couldn’t even have cream in my coffee, for crying out loud. That is not a cleanse; that’s torture!

I lie on my bed in full self-indulgent meltdown. And then I remember my daughter’s godmother and my friend Liz. By the time she was diagnosed with colon cancer, it had spread. When she woke up from the surgery, she had only a bag in place of her colon. She died when she was a mere 54 years old. Yes, suck on that you whiny woman! That was a sobering reminder of just what a silent assailant the old colon cancer can be. I sucked on my yellow Jell-O and told myself, as my mother would say, “This too will pass.”

It wasn’t great that we had to travel all the way to Watsonville for the procedure the following day, because that is rather a long car journey, when you are — ahem — cleansing. It was great that my procedure was brought forward to an earlier time, and they gave me some super knockout drugs. Again, I didn’t remember a thing.

I was very hungry when I awoke and we had to go and enjoy some breakfast close by before we ventured forth for the day. As I had done 12 years ago, I crashed out for a large part of the afternoon and woke up feeling just fine. Don’t not do the procedure, just because you would rather not. They took a polyp out of my big ol’ colon and who knows what those things can become if left to fester.

The next piece of adulting I had been postponing was mole removal. That is not sexy, at all. I had been sporting this large brown, mushroom-looking thing for far too long along my jaw line, and it was past time for it to be annihilated. Back in the dark ages, if you had a lump or bump — I used to get very attractive warts on my feet for instance, they generally had to be cut out, so I imagined the same would be the case for the mushroom growth.

Joy upon joy was my reaction when the nice lady skin doctor just picked up what looked like an oversized can of shaving cream and covered the mushroom thing with it. Yes, it did sting and burn just a little, but this is not surgery, folks. This is just a quickie, walk in and walk out. My friend and I had made a pact we would take care of our facial lesions before we saw each other again and here I go, like a total adulting champ. (Note to self: make sure she follows through on her mini-mushroom!)

At the end of the week that was, I was down a pound in weight and up gold medal awards in the world of adulting. That can be quite the planet to navigate if you are an anti-doc-goer such as me, but when you know better you do better; and I know my friend Liz would be happy I learned from her mistakes.

Now for my daughter’s adulting this week and a large MRI plus neurosurgeon appointment to see what the hay is going on with her back. Now that is one appointment I would like to take on for her. The best I can do is to drive her there, buy her a nice lunch and cheerlead her along through it and out the other side.

With every week comes things we would rather not do and things we will ultimately learn from. For my part, I will never again have a deep body cleanse on a Sunday.

Lucy Jensen
Soledad Columnist
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