a newspaper man adjusts his pen

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Amanda's musings

Tje Colonoscopy table, originally uploaded by neilransom.

The colonoscopy winning table

Somehow, some way, the colon has become America's "it" organ.

While anti-cancer campaigns promoting awareness of the disease are admirable and necessary for prevention, I think there is a better way than televising the procedure.

Sure, Charles Barkley has a wide fan base. But I wonder how many of them will tune in to see his colonoscopy televised.

Then again, televising the thing is kind of old hat. Katie Couric did it. And John Gerard of NBC is going to jump on the bandwagon soon, too.

CBS, though, has shunned this trend, instead raising awareness by sponsoring a "Colonoscopy Sweepstakes."

When I heard about it, I was sure it was a spoof. I thought someone at "Saturday Night Live" or some sketch comedy group beat me to a punchline. But a quick inspection of the official CBS Web site confirmed that the promotion is no joke.

The "lucky" winner will be flown - along with a companion - to New York, where he will be put up in a luxury suite at Loews Regency Hotel.

The entry page tells potential entrants that the hardest part of the procedure is the laxative drink needed to clear the colon the night before the "award" is given.

Then the powers that be at CBS try to make the screening hip.

Please allow me to share: "When the colonoscopy is about to begin, you'll be given drugs that will make you feel like you're at Woodstock ... only without the music."

And it only gets better, as the CBS public relations flak continues: "If you start to think you are actually at Woodstock (for example, Dr. Paul Miskovitz starts to look like Jimi Hendrix or you feel inclined to answer "far out!" in response to questions) please report the side effect to Dr. Miskovitz or Jimi Hendrix (whomever you see first)."

I guess I just never thought I'd see "Jimi Hendrix" and "colonoscopy" in the same paragraph. They don't seem like natural bedfellows.

After the initial shock wore off, I must admit that I kind of dig CBS' style. Some things, after all, are so serious you can only laugh at them.

Or at least, you should laugh at them.

Colon woes are common in my family, and one of my uncles recently underwent the procedure to ensure that he was polyp-free.

It didn't take long, and he might have thought I was Jimi Hendrix when they wheeled him into the semi-private room for the drugs to wear off.

He was still groggy when the doctor popped in to give him the results.

"Well, Tim, everything looks good. There were just a few small polyps we removed."

My uncle was looking at him seriously and nodded his head in agreement.

"Do I have to feed them?" he asked.

Having little class and less couth, I laughed immediately.

Surprisingly, so did the doctor.

(Published with permission from the Observer-Reporter)

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