I received a surprising birthday present this year. Totally unexpected package arrived in the mail from someone I barely ever hear from. Heck, I didn’t think he even knew when my birthday was.
Although now that I think of it, my birthday’s probably listed on my medical file.
That’s right, the gift came from my doctor. Normally packages from one’s primary care provider don’t arrive unannounced. Normally it’s more of a, “Oh right, I refilled my prescription.”
And technically this wasn’t from my doctor. I doubt he took time out of his day to look up everybody’s birthday. I have Kaiser, so the algorithm probably just spits out generic packages at the appropriate time. Much like how Amazon just sends us shit we didn’t know we needed. I can’t be the only one who sees random Amazon packages on my porch and thinks, “Wait, did I order something from Amazon?” followed by a “Cool. I was totally getting low on toilet paper.”
It should come as no surprise that I belong to Kaiser. What self-respecting history teacher wouldn’t want their insurance covered by the pre-WWI German Emperor? I mean, have you SEEN that glorious mustache?
Allegedly Kaiser Permanente is named after some guy named Henry Kaiser, not His Most Exalted Highness Kaiser Wilhelm II. Uh huh, sure. And they’re called Freedom Sandwiches, not hamburgers, right? I’m sure they just changed the designation when we were fighting the krauts. Maybe Henry Kaiser made the Kaiser Roll. I’ll give him that.
So what was this gift Herr Kaiser sent me? With my big five-oh on the horizon, he opted for one of those humorous “Over the Hill” gag gifts. You know the kind. Spencer’s Gifts stocks a bunch of them. You can send someone a black balloon or maybe a tombstone. Not that a tombstone would be a great gag gift from your doctor.
Fortunately what my doctor sent me was, at least in theory, something for avoiding that early tombstone. Assuming I use it, which I’m maybe fifty-fifty on right now.
He sent me a colonoscopy test.
Spencer’s Gifts loves those poop jokes.
I should’ve known the colonoscopy was coming in the mail. A couple months ago, a coworker who’s about a year older than me asked if I’ve had to do the whole colonoscopy test yet. No. I hadn’t had the pleasure. Yeah, he explained, it was new to him, too. And although the paperwork said everyone over 45 should get tested, it seemed to be triggered at the 48th birthday.
He then explained the process to me. I didn’t fully pay attention, what with me only being 47 at the time. While I’ve heard plenty about colonoscopies before, I never really paid attention at all. Who the hell delves deep into such things in their youth? It’s got the trifecta of topics to avoid: cancer, mortality, and butt stuff.
I’m paying attention now.
To be honest, I’m not sure I realized there was a difference between prostate exams and colon exams. I still don’t. They shove something up your ass and look around for cancer, yeah? What’s the difference? Is the colonoscopy a camera while the prostate’s a finger? But camera’s haven’t always been microscopic, so before that it was maybe a scrape? One’s looking for a polyp, whatever the fuck that is, and the other is searching for, I don’t know, a tumor? Why bother separating the two? Seems ripe for a two-for-one deal. Once one has enema’d oneself, how about we get everything out of the butt in one fell swoop.
I heard rumors that prostate checks weren’t in vogue anymore. They’re not as reliable as, say, mammograms, and they might actually be causing more harm than they’re preventing. I guess someone reaching into your ass to twiddle with your nads from the inside isn’t great for your long-term health. And it just might, shock of shocks!, discourage guys from getting checked in the first place.
Obviously I was still very uninformed. It’s not like I was going to delve much deeper. That’s the doctor’s job – hey oh! If I’m not reading beyond the headline for important matters like who’s going to be the next president or James Bond, why would I pay attention to minor issues like finding out if I have cancer? Instead, I saw a headline saying some questioned the effectiveness of prostate checks and patted myself on the back that I’d never have anything going up my butt unless I bought it a drink first. And not the enema drink.
Then my colonoscopy came in the mail.
Although apparently, according to the instructions, the whole up-the-butt thing isn’t necessary anymore. It’s focused more on stuff coming out of the butt instead of into the butt.
I didn’t misspeak at the beginning when I said mt colonoscopy came through the mail. No, the didn’t send the Robocop apparatus through the mail with instructions to send it on to the next guy. The only thing in my mailbox was an envelope with a stick. Plus a ginormous piece of paper and a set of instructions only slightly less daunting than “How to Defuse an Atomic Bomb.”
Here’s the best I can figure: I’m supposed to place the sheet of paper into the toilet (but above the water) before I poop. Then poop onto said sheet of paper. Then dip the stick into the poop. And… send it back to my doctor…
Isn’t sending biological material through the mail a felony? Maybe not if it’s, like, a skin graft or something. But fecal matter seems a step too far. Should I alert my mail carrier that he’s handling biological waste? Maybe I’ll tell him I’m sending it tomorrow so he can take the day off. Because poop in the mail hardly seems sanitary.
Ironic because sanitation, or at least the desire to avoid pathogens, was probably the impetus for this change in tactics. When the world shut down, they still needed to see inside our butts. All that depression eating in 2020 and 2021 might be turning into tumors in our colons.
Editor’s note: does eating cause colon cancer? Probably. Safe to say that people who never eat also never catch cancer.
Writer’s note: I do my own editing.
So a) we needed our colon’s checked out, but b) we can’t come into the office for ye olde reacharounde, so c) maybe we can just dip the poo.
Imagine the sales pitch: “Can’t come for the ass chaffing? We’ll bring it to you!”
As a bonus, it works just like the Covid test we were supposed to be taking that year. Sure, they were never available at the time, but here in 2022, I’m sure we’ve all done it at least once. Heck, you can dip a stick into anything these days, and get a reading. Covid. Colon cancer. Pregnancy.
Unless you’re looking for blood sugar. Then all you get is a humiliating trial and a Netflix documentary. Not the good kind.
But now I’ve got another question. Was this “Poke the Poop” technology available before Covid? If so, why were we making people come in for the ass ramming? I kinda feel like if I had Robocop feeling around on my insides back in 2019, and then all of a sudden they say, “All we need is a Stick o’ Poo,” I’d have a bit of buyer’s remorse. Like the last group of acolytes before the fraternity gets banned. What’s the fun of being hazed if you don’t get to haze the next group? Sure, I was tarred and feathered and the next guy only had to poop on a stick.
One more question: If I’m sending it through the mail, why did my doctor have both hands on my shoulders?
No wait, that’s not it. I know the answer to that one.
It’s this: What am I supposed to do with the rest of the poop sitting on a piece of paper in my toilet?