Keeping healthy involves tests that often seem like punishment

Published 6:00 am Sunday, August 14, 2016

jim mccauley 1The letter that came in the mail said:

“According to our records, it’s time for you to have your ********** test.” Signed, Jennifer, Insurance Clerk.

What?  I just had that done a few years ago. My first thought and prayer was that someone in the doctor’s office surely had made a mistake — it couldn’t be this soon. I called the number in the letter and talked to Jennifer.  Of course I was wrong and Jennifer was right. I pouted for a while and then accepted the fact that I am at the age when, my wife tells me, I’m no longer allowed to complain.

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I received that letter a few weeks ago and after another call to Jennifer, trying once again to convince her that this procedure was really not necessary, she set it up for tomorrow morning — Jennifer will not be getting a valentine card from me next year!

It’s now noon, the day before, and I’ve started to “drink a load of approved liquid and wait on it to work through your system.”

Then tonight drink another load of liquid and stay up all night.

That sure sounds like a one-man slumber party. I would not want anyone else around and I’m sure they wouldn’t want to be here. Over the years I’ve had several of these inner-body excursions and I can tell you that the procedure isn’t really as bad as the prep.

I do remember the days when you had to drink gallons of “stuff” that taste something like spoiled Gatorade. Today it’s really not that bad — a couple of 6 ounce bottles of “something” mixed with water and several more 16 ounce glasses of water till midnight and bingo!

In recent years I have wondered who came up with this invasive procedure and did it start with cave men and women and if so, what did they use for instruments and perish the thought!   

Oh, that’s right, it would take a battery or electricity to light the light and they didn’t have either one back then, however, I will say that those cave people were really lucky they didn’t have to drink what I drank an hour ago. On second thought, I would hate to think what the alternative would have been.

OK, let’s move up many years. Let’s say doctors had a very special camera on a very special tether that obviously did not have any sharp edges. After all that, they had to have someone who was smart enough to know what they were looking at. I think it’s fairly obvious that someone should have received a Noble Peace Prize for figuring out how to pull this procedure off without getting a lawsuit.

Today I guess it’s pretty much a routine procedure and not much to worry or complain about. I will say that if I were young and going into medical school I would not stand up and declare that I wanted to be a gastroenterology major.  I know it’s a noble profession, and one that is important to the good health of all of us, but I’m sure I would not be quite that nosey.

By the time you read this all will be forgotten and I’m sure that my results will show that I am alive and well. In case you’re wondering why I never mentioned the actual name of the procedure it’s because I obviously didn’t have enough time in between the trips to the bathroom to look up the spelling.

Jim McCauley is an Oxford citizen enjoying life as an active retiree. You can email him at