Your wife’s so gentle, insists Two. She won’t mind, right?
Don’t be fooled by the calm exterior, cautions Six. Women run this world. They just let men rent space here.
“Relax, guys,” I say, soothingly. “I’m letting Miss Laura tell the story.”
About her colonoscopy? gasps Five. All six screens shudder.
“Quiet, buddies. Let’s give her the floor.”
At 5pm I start drinking the horrible laxative. Hours later, I finish the entire gallon jug – still no results!
What does she mean by “no results”? asks Two.
Nothing is happening gastrointestinally, explains Five. A gallon of laxative normally begins the Mount St. Helens effect!
Midnight arrives, and I have to stop drinking entirely (in prep for the next morning’s anesthesia). Blackie and I laugh at the absurdity of it all, but just drinking the laxative is giving me a meltdown.
May I butt in? asks Four, pleased by his own joke. Does anybody else find it odd that we’re eagerly awaiting a digestive explosion, yet we’re witnessing an emotional implosion?
If I flunk my prep, the doctor may cancel the test … and all my suffering will be for nothing … and I’ll need to do it all again for the re-scheduled test. With that image in mind, I now am wailing. My thoroughly exhausted Blackie, being the only rational person in the house, takes me for a walk to try to get things “moving.”
After 30 minutes of “cruising” up and down the street, I begin to feel the need to stay close to the house. Fortunately, all that brisk stepping did the – ugh – trick.
What does she mean by “the – ugh – trick”? asks Two.
Black, says One, time to tell the tale on Laura’s behalf.
At the hospital several hours later, Laura is prepped and wheeled to the holding center just outside the operating room. Nurses walk in, put up the sides of Laura’s gurney, tell me the procedure takes 30 to 45 minutes and wheel my smiling wife away at 9am.
Ignoring my chattering screens, I sit to read one of the hospital’s magazines. Suddenly the doctor, Laura’s very own doctor –
Who holds her life in his hands! reminds One.
– is standing beside me. He is calm and he is quiet.
Almost funereal, whispers Three slowly, leaving other screens wondering what that word means.
I look at my watch. Laura left the room 17 minutes ago. Screens panic.
Something’s wrong! Where are the nurses? Why isn’t this doctor with your wife? Run to Laura, she’s in trouble! How could they screw up a colonoscopy? Pray for Miss Laura, hold her, kiss her!
“Mr. Blackwell?” He is so professionally composed, I fear his next words.
She’s – she’s alive?
“The colonoscopy is completed. We went through every part.” He smiles, faintly. “In fact, your wife was so – ‘clear,’ shall we say? – that we scoped her twice. There was nothing to snip, clip or recheck.”
Snip, clip or recheck, repeats Three rhythmically. Know what, guys? Suddenly I want Dairy Queen.
My already shaking hand extended, the doctor shakes it and exits the room.
“She’s OK!” I shout, spooking two nurses returning with one Laura, who already is speaking. I kiss my unsleeping Snow White as the “discharge” nurse begins to issue detailed instructions.
You don’t know how to kiss? asks Two.
Not those instructions, retorts Five who, ever practical, suggests I take notes. Two thinks I can remember them. Four alerts me to groggy Laura’s lips forming the word “Babe?”
I wave off the nurse’s fast-flowing speech to better understand Laura’s pillow talk. But as I bend painfully over the bed’s upright side rails, my bride sighs and drifts back to sleep. I laugh, straighten and bid the nurse, “Please continue.”
She gets just one sentence into vital care practices when Laura murmurs “Babe?” again. The nurse stops, I bend, Laura fades. I smile, slowly straighten as I closely watch Laura’s mouth, and tell the nurse to resume her talk.
My speediest bend loses to Laura’s sleep. I straighten, but I do not smile.
Two nurses hide their smirks, but not well. The first nurse speedily recaps what must happen at home; the second, looking me directly in the eye, demands two Blackwells go nowhere until one of us passes significant amounts of wind.
Makes sense, nods Five. All that knockout gas pumped into your wife … gotta exit sometime, somehow.
“We will grow old before my wife, um, de-inflates,” I delicately say. “She is a most proper woman.”
Squeeze her! suggests Six.
Both nurses laugh. “Hear that?” they ask. I’m abruptly aware of the tooting echoing from behind other curtains across the hall. Trumpeting is so voluminous I question whether elephants take shelter nearby. “That’s involuntary,” says one nurse, matter-of-factly. “It will happen whether Laura likes it or not.”
“In her sleep?”
Both nurses nod yes and Two shyly pleads, Don’t tell her. Please, don’t tell her.
In our peaceful room, clocks tick loudly. Across the hall, bull elephants rage.
Say, this is all a bit awkward, don’t you think? asks One, as Laura soundlessly rests. Here sit the three of you, all just waiting to cheer the moment your bride is indelicate. How bizarre.
Immediate smiles, broad and beaming, from knowing nurses. Ten silent minutes later, I alone am smiling. I smile because I know that the only thing passing in this room is time.
“You may go,” declares one nurse abruptly. Laura walks to our car and directs me to the Aldi’s food market, where she shops as if she has not just been inflated to the size of a Thanksgiving Day parade balloon. As we wheel our purchases out to the car, Laura makes a suggestion that drops my jaw.
“Let’s unload all the groceries and go out for a special lunch, shall we?” she says sweetly, so home we go to put everything in the cupboards.
Begs Four, Keep her away from sharp objects and open flame!
Back in the car, we are just one mile away from the restaurant when Laura semi-slumps, strength drained. “Babe?” is murmured in a soft, hauntingly familiar way. “Ho … home,” she ekes out in whispered syllables.
I tuck my heroine on the couch and choose music to cover my puttering around the house. From the player waft strains of The Tokens’ familiar and melodious “weema-wep, a weema-wep.” I laugh, because I know Laura is healthy, the lion sleeps tonight …
And so will the elephants.
Postscript: The Blackwell sibs are, of course, grateful my wife is OK. Being Blackwells, the sibs also must, of course, create a small thread to express their sentiments …
Thor: HAHAHAHA – classic ! You are a WAY BETTER husband than I, bro. I’d be covering my wife’s mouth so I could hear the nurse.
DiAnnie Oakley: Mine wasn’t nearly so entertaining … darn. 🙂
Cousin Kenny: My wife gets embarrassed by me every time. (I’ve had way more colonoscopies than I care to discuss.) It really isn’t fair that nurses let you be around people while you are still influenced by the drug cocktail they gave you. I usually sing to everybody. My favorite is “Whiskey for my men, beer for my horses.”
Walk a mile in my shoes? Fuhggedaboudit!