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Colonoscopy Journal

I called my friend Andy Sable, a gastroenterologist, to make an appointment for a colonoscopy.

A few days later, in his office, Andy showed me a colour diagram of the colon, a lengthy organ that appears to go all over the place, at one point passing briefly through Minneapolis.
Andy explained the colonoscopy procedure to me in a thorough, reassuring and patient manner.
I nodded thoughtfully, but I didn’t really hear anything he said, because my brain was shrieking, ‘HE’S GOING TO STICK A TUBE 17,000 FEET UP YOUR BEHIND!’

I left Andy’s office with some written instructions, and a prescription for a product called ‘MoviPrep,’ which comes in a box large enough to hold a microwave oven. I will discuss MoviPrep in detail later; for now suffice it to say that we must never allow it to fall into the hands of America ‘s enemies.

I spent the next several days productively sitting around being nervous.

Then, on the day before my colonoscopy, I began my preparation. In accordance with my instructions, I didn’t eat any solid food that day; all I had was chicken broth, which is basically water, only with less flavor. Then, in the evening, I took the MoviPrep. You mix two packets of powder together in a one-litre plastic jug, then you fill it with lukewarm water. (For those unfamiliar with the metric system, a litre is about 32 gallons!!). Then you have to drink the whole jug. This takes about an hour, because MoviPrep tastes – and here I am being kind – like a mixture of goat spit and urinal cleanser, with just a hint of lemon.

The instructions for MoviPrep, clearly written by somebody with a great sense of humour, state that after you drink it, ‘a loose, watery bowel movement may result.’
This is kind of like saying that after you jump off your roof, you may experience contact with the ground.

MoviPrep is a nuclear laxative. I don’t want to be too graphic, here, but, have you ever seen a space-shuttle launch? This is pretty much the MoviPrep experience, with you as the shuttle. There are times when you wish the commode had a seat belt. You spend several hours pretty much confined to the bathroom, spurting violently. You eliminate everything. And then, when you figure you must be totally empty, you have to drink another litre of MoviPrep, at which point, as far as I can tell, your bowels travel into the future and start eliminating food that you have not even eaten yet.

After an action-packed evening, I finally got to sleep.

The next morning my wife drove me to the clinic. I was very nervous. Not only was I worried about the procedure, but I had been experiencing occasional return bouts of MoviPrep spurtage. I was thinking, ‘What if I spurt on Andy?’ How do you apologise to a friend for something like that? Flowers would not be enough.

At the clinic I had to sign many forms acknowledging that I understood and totally agreed with whatever the heck the forms said. Then they led me to a room full of other colonoscopy people, where I went inside a little curtained space and took off my clothes and put on one of those hospital garments designed by sadist perverts, the kind that, when you put it on, makes you feel even more naked than when you are actually naked.

Then a nurse named Eddie put a little needle in a vein in my left hand. Ordinarily I would have fainted, but Eddie was very good, and I was already lying down. Eddie also told me that some people put vodka in their MoviPrep. At first I was ticked off that I hadn’t thought of this, but then I pondered what would happen if you got yourself too tipsy to make it to the bathroom, so you were staggering around in full Fire Hose Mode. You would have no choice but to burn your house.

When everything was ready, Eddie wheeled me into the procedure room, where Andy was waiting with a nurse and an anaesthesiologist. I did not see the 17,000-foot tube, but I knew Andy had it hidden around there somewhere. I was seriously nervous at this point.

Andy had me roll over on my left side, and the anaesthesiologist began hooking something up to the needle in my hand.
There was music playing in the room, and I realised that the song was ‘Dancing Queen’ by ABBA. I remarked to Andy that, of all the songs that could be playing during this particular procedure, ‘Dancing Queen’ had to be the least appropriate.

‘You want me to turn it up?’ said Andy, from somewhere behind me.
‘Ha ha,’ I said. And then it was time, the moment I had been dreading for more than a decade. If you are squeamish, prepare yourself, because I am going to tell you, in explicit detail, exactly what it was like.

I have no idea. Really. I slept through it. One moment, ABBA was yelling ‘Dancing Queen, feel the beat of the tambourine,’ and the next moment, I was back in the other room, waking up in a very mellow mood. Andy was looking down at me and asking me how I felt. I felt excellent. I felt even more excellent when Andy told me that it was all over, and that my colon had passed with flying colours. I have never been prouder of an internal organ.

On the subject of Colonoscopies…
Colonoscopies are no joke, but these comments during the exam were quite humorous….. A physician claimed that the following are actual comments made by his patients (predominately male) while he was performing their colonoscopies:

1. ‘Take it easy, Doc. You’re boldly going where no man has gone before!’

2. ‘Find Amelia Earhart yet?’

3. ‘Can you hear me NOW?’

4. ‘Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?’

5. ‘You know, in Arkansas , we’re now legally married.’

6. ‘Any sign of the trapped miners, Chief?’

7. ‘You put your left hand in, you take your left hand out…’

8. ‘Hey! Now I know how a Muppet feels!’

9. ‘If your hand doesn’t fit, you must quit!’

10. ‘Hey Doc, let me know if you find my dignity.’

11. ‘You used to be an executive at Enron, didn’t you?’

12. ‘God, now I know why I am not gay.’

And the best one of all:

13. ‘Could you write a note for my wife saying that my head is not up there?’

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dave Barry is a Pulitzer Prize-winning humour columnist for the Miami Herald.

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Into the darkness

There I am, at my desk working diligently.  I have my earphones in to help distracting noises out of my head. I have a concentration span of half a brick so this helps tremendously. I keep bashing away at the keyboard of my laptop, putting incredibly impressive spreadsheets together so non accounting salesmen can understand what the accounts are doing. Suddenly, it’s dark and very quiet. There is no electricity!  Aaargh – load shedding has struck again. But wait, you have a laptop so its all okay when this happens,  surely? Well yes and no. In a perfect world – yes but the world is not perfect and this means that my laptop has no battery life whatsoever.  Effectively rendering it useless as a laptop and turning it into a fancy looking desktop!

So now what?

Thankfully,  the building we are in has backup generators and after about 10 minutes, they kick in and destroy any hope of an afternoon off.
Load shedding is a very real situation here in South Africa and involves blocks of the country being without power for between 2 and 2 1/2 hours. This gives the power utility enough time to do maintenance or to lessen the load of the power grid. This is a very hot topic in SA and one that everybody will have their little temper tantrum about given half a chance. For me, I actually think it’s a good idea and should be implemented on a semi permanent basis.
Here are a number of reasons to enjoy and benefit feom load shedding or no power.

1. Cost savings.
No power equals less power used equals less money spent.  Enough said.

2. More family time.
No one looks back on their life and says ‘I wish I spend more time watching television or working late’. Use the break from television to spend with your family. Here is a very novel idea – talk to your family during this time. (Note the sarcastic tone in that comment?) More than any other reason – this will ALWAYS benefit you and your family.

3. Explore options.
If your favourite shopping centre or local hangout is in darkness, use the opportunity to break away from the usual places and explore new places to visit. You may find a very exciting place to visit that you will visit more often and even tell your friends about. There will change the usual answer of ‘we went to the usual place’ or ‘we always go to the same place’. Even at home you can do this. This works especially well if you have smaller kids but there is no reason that any age can enjoy it. Have a picnic for dinner. Make something that does not need a firm surface like a table and set up a picnic blanket and pillows etc in your lounge or on the verandah or even in the garden. This is great fun and works wih the lights on too! If the lights are on, NO ELECTRONIC GADGETS!

4. Learn to plan ahead.
Instead of moaning about not having electricity, plan ahead. Load shedding is generally according to a schedule widely published to the public in all forms of media. This gicea you no excuse to not know. Knowing when it’s going off helps you plan ahead of this time. This might mean having dinner slightly later or earlier than normal. It may may , ean bathing childrwn by candlelight. This can be turned into another family experience. My 3 year old daughter loves it when the candles come out and its such a blessing watching her face light up with anticipation. No amount of electronic gadgets can give anybody that joy. If you habe planned a meal out and the restaurant is going to have no electricity – plan a different meal or another branch of the restaurant. The main word here is plan. Refer to point 3.

Being in the dark does not have to be a dark experience. If you put a little effort I to it, it can turn into a great experience that you will cherish forever. What have you got to lose?

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On the cover of every magazine – you find it. It is the topic of literally 1000’s of blogs. It is the topic of self improvement. Start exercising or stop smoking. Even find your true self.

This is great … IF you WANT to change yourself or improve your life.

Improving your own life is exactly that – your own. I think it is a very good effort to improve your life. However, it is a very personal journey. You can bring people together to support you and I think you should do that. Not every one you meet and share your journey with is going to be your supporter. you cannot expect it either. It is your journey and not theirs.

I repeat what I said earlier – I am in 100% support of the improvement, just keep it to you and your true supporters. You WILL encounter people who actually just do not want to change and that is perfectly okay. If they do not want to change – you must not try and force them to. Do not try and convert them to your way and try to get them to improve with you. They may be on their on journey.

Keep going on your journey!

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I often find myself watching the progress of a program on my computer and lately I have been asking myself ‘why are you watching this when you can do other things while it finishes?’

Another example is at traffic lights (robots in South Africa) – you see people edging forward when it’s red. In cities with public transport – people cannot stand still when the transport is expected.

What are we waiting for? What is the rush? The computer will finish what it is doing for you in its own time – not yours? We all know that the Microsoft minute is not actually a minute and can range from seconds to multiple minutes. The transport will arrive soon enough. If it does not – it is not your fault and it is out of your control. No one can hold you accountable for those situations.

Next time you find yourself in the situation as above, try and relax. If you can do something else while waiting – do it! Take that long needed toilet break, make that cup of coffee or just sit back and take a breath and chill out for that time. If you are waiting for transport, look around you.

While you are waiting for something or even someone try the following:

1. Try and notice things around you. Even in an underground train station, there are things to watch and notice.

2. If you are fortunate enough to have music, have a good song going. Dance if you want.

3. People watch. There are 7 billion people in the world so this is always an option.

4. Are you waiting in an office? Take 10 seconds to memorize the space around you. Close your eyes and paint the picture of the space around you.

 

Before you know it, it will be time to go.

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If you ask people about the year of 2011, they are likely to say it has been rough or ‘a shocker’. Is this because most people tend to find the negative aspects of life before the positives? I do not know.

Personally, 2011 has been a very turbulent year with the usual ups and downs but accentuated by some traumatic and life changing events, both positive and negative. Here is my review of the year that was 2011.

3 jobs: I have had a pretty rough year vocation wise. It started well with (what I thought) was a good job but at the beginning of March, the contract was not renewed and I was out of employment. The next employment I was employed for most of the year. I had an opportunity to move upwards and onwards. I took the opportunity and was enjoying the move when I was handed a retrenchment letter not 2 months into the opportunity. Yes – I had a shocker.

Study (UNISA): This was dependent on the above so was not great. The first semester was also disrupted by the announcement that Carrie was pregnant in April (see below) as well as the loss of the job in early March. I vowed to make the second semester count and was making head way until the job fell over. I was also not able to buckle down with the baby chaos that was around. The second semester was not great either. I did, however, managed to pass some modules and only have 4 left to complete my BCompt degree.

A bundle of chaos: As stated above, our world turned upside down with the excitement of Carrie being pregnant. It was planned and awesome news for the whole family. Bumpy was the name as we decided not to know what the sex was. The excitement grew as bumpy grew as did the speculative odds on the sex. Carrie had a relatively easy pregnancy except the first 4 months battling with nausea. A close check on food was the solution and the diet was very selective. The scans at 36 weeks revealed a big baby and all was in good shape. The 38 week (on the Friday) midwife appointment revealed high blood pressure and bed rest and constant monitoring was prescribed for the weekend. Monday arrived and the blood pressure was still up. A phone call and a trip to the gynae landed Carrie in hospital for observation. After dinner and the visiting hour we all went home. About 1 hour after that about 22:12 I received a phone call saying I needed to get to the hospital! Only God knows how I got there so fast and safely. Makayla Ann was born at 23:23 and was perfectly healthy. Nothing prepares you for parenthood at all. Having said that, there is nothing that compares to having a bundle of chaos around. Yes, it is hard. Yes, it is tough. It is the hardest thing we have ever done but the best thing we have ever done by a LONG way. It is a blessing to her.

On reflection on the year 2011, it was a tough year in certain areas but a fantastic year in other areas. 2012 poses its own challenges and will be different, difficult and brilliant in its own way.

See you there.

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This is something we should all read at least once a week!
Written By Regina Brett, 90 years old, of The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio

To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me.
It is the most requested column I’ve ever written.

My odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here is the column once more:

1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick.

Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.
8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.
12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don’t compare your life to others.

You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye.

But don’t worry;  God never blinks.
16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

17. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
18. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.
19. It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the
second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion.

Today is special.
22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words ‘In five years, will this matter?’
27. Always choose life.
28. Forgive everyone everything.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.
35. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
36. Growing old beats the alternative — dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood.
38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.
41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need
42. The best is yet to come.
43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
44. Yield.
45. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.

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This is the second part of the blog post published yesterday called Never Drop A Brother. In that post, the first 2 principles were discussed. In this post, the third will be discussed. The principal is: Never squash enthusiasm.

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