(Sister gave me permission to share this story, though she kindly requests that no one ask any embarrassing follow-up questions since, as you’ll see, she’s suffered enough embarrassment.)

So we’re still here, at Mayo, though it looks like we’ll get sprung tomorrow.  Yippee!

Part of the reason we’re still here is that the first tests revealed some Causes For Concern, which led to the ordering of more tests, being performed today.  One of the tests that revealed a Cause For Concern was a test that they call something like “endoscopitosiscopsiousohmygodlongname” but which Sister  calls “a super horrible extra-long colonoscopy, except without sedation.”

For those of you who had not had one yourself (AND are lucky enough never to have had anyone describe their own personal experience with colonoscopy to you in lurid detail thanks so much for sharing that, father-in-law!), Dr. Wikipedia describes colonoscopy as “the endoscopic examination of the large colon and the distal part of the small bowel with a CCD camera or a fiber optic camera on a flexible tube passed through the [um, let’s just call it hole in the rear, so I don’t get a lot of hits from google searches of words that rhyme with ‘heinous,’ mmmkay?]

Typically, when one gets a colonoscopy, one gets knocked out so one does not have to feel the aforementioned fiber optic camera on a flexible tube as it passes through your personal regions.  For the particular test Sister needed, however, the typical generous dose of intravenous sedatives was not an option- it slows down your whole system, and this test was trying to measure how fast certain parts of her system react to certain things, so sedation was out.  Thus, she was fully awake for the FIVE HOURS this test took, fully awake as the nurse patted her head and said “honey, I’m staying with you the whole time because this is going to suck,” fully awake when the doctor started debating with the other doctor about whether or not this was, in fact, the “worst colon they’ve ever seen,” fully awake when they injected her with drugs that made her heart rate drop into nearly-dead range to “see how her system reacted”.

All of which paled in comparison to the part where she was fully awake when the x-ray machine they were using BROKE DOWN in the middle of the test so they had to bring in a repair team!  Of 6 people! To fiddle with the machine and try to get it to work while they chatted about what they were doing this weekend!  And then they started chatting about her!  One said “geez, THAT does not look pleasant” when they saw her in her compromised position, butt facing them, all exposed and tube-filled. And they all laughed!  And then (of COURSE– why do people DO this, it’s like a colonoscopy compulsion or something) they started swapping stories of their own colonoscopies, and how unpleasant they were, and how it sucked so bad to have to drink the gallon of gross medicine the night before to clean out your system, and that must have really sucked for a girl as young as Sister to have to do that. There she was, trying not to die of embarrassment, when the doctor clapped his hands briskly, said “okay, guys, our patient is not actually anesthetized here, so she’s, um, awake, so maybe we could wrap this up and clear you all out of here?”

If only she had had her head, not her butt, facing them, so she could have seen the looks on their faces when it dawned on them that she had heard every single word.