I wasn't going to write about this, but when you have an opportunity to write about butt cancer, you ought not to pass it up.
No no, don't worry, I haven't got butt cancer, or cancer of the colon, as it is more commonly known, but my Grandmother did (and beat it!), her uncle died from it, my father had pre-cancerous polyps, my sister had juvenile polyps and I have had them as well. That means I've had a colonoscopy before, and will have to have them every five years for the rest of my life. Yesterday I had my second colonoscopy, and since I've now had this procedure done in two countries, here, as a public service to my readers, is a comparison of what to expect when undergoing a colonoscopy in America and France.
America: no solid foods and only clear liquids for two days before the procedure. I subsisted on Gatorade and clear jello.
France: restricted diet with no fiber for three days before the procedure. I had coffee and biscuits with jelly for breakfast, meat and starch for lunch and dinner, and chocolate for dessert.
Sorry, there's no nice way to say it, but the colon must be cleansed before the procedure. This is done by force-evacuating everything you've eating for the last ten years of your life...
America: The two evenings before the procedure, a small bottle of liquid is added to a glass of a clear drink (7-up was highly recommended). Pretty nasty but doable.
France: The night before the procedure and the morning of the procedure, a powdered medicine is added to two liters of water, which must be drunk in two hours. It was recommended to keep the water very cold but this didn't stop it from tasting like ass-flavored sea water. Then I ran up and down the stairs all evening/morning. I could have added lemon juice, but I figured it would have just tasted like lemony-ass-flavored sea water, so I didn't bother.
America: Performed in an examination room at a clinic. I wasn't completely knocked out, but was in what is commonly called "twilight" - I could have forced myself to stay awake and even watch the procedure if I wanted, but I have better sense than that and slept through the whole thing.
France: Performed in an operating room. Actually checked into a room at the same clinic where Fry was born, hung out in the room (and did a bit of knitting, actually) before I was wheeled into the operating room, where I was given a shot intravenously which knocked me out cold and my vitals where constantly watched by an anesthesiologist during the procedure. I felt a lot safer knowing I was already in an operating room in case anything went wrong, even though it only very rarely does with this kind of procedure.
America: Woke up in a large room filled with beds with only sheets to divide them. Here is another embarrassing fact about a colonoscopy - you will experience epic farting afterwards! You'll have to bring someone with you because you won't be able to drive, so make sure that person is someone very, very close. Very close. Was released under my friend's care, and we went to IHOP before I crashed on her couch for the rest of the afternoon.
France: Woke up in the operating room, was transferred to a rolling bed and wheeled into the recovery room. Was given oxygen and my vitals were monitored until I was totally awake. Wheeled back to my room, where luckily I had the room to myself so I could fart in peace. Was offered a choice of coffee, tea or hot chocolate and given a little snack and rested for a couple of hours. The doctor passed by my room and told me all was well and to come back again in five years, the needle was removed from my arm, and I was released under my husband's care while Fry charmed everyone he came in contact with. We went home and I made chicken wraps for dinner.
Well, I have to admit, it looks like France wins out, but considering how nasty that liquid ass is, I think I'm going to have to call a tie!
And finally, in case you're wondering whether you shouldn't run right out and have your own colonoscopy done, most people don't need to start screenings until they're fifty years old. However, if someone in your immediate family has ever had polyps or cancer, your risk is much higher. I was thirty when I had my first colonoscopy, and I had two polyps. Luckily I didn't have any this time around, but I won't take any chances and will go through the whole rigamarole again in five years. I'll let you know if they make any improvements on the ass flavored cleansing products...