Thursday, July 17, 2014

If one probe is good....

Well, I can now report that I have been probed through both major openings in my body; from my butt up and from my throat down. I know what you're thinking: Jim, you are one of those rare people who have been medically inspected from top to bottom and bottom to top. Tell us: Which was worse? The stick, and pardon me if this is indiscreet, placed into your system through your bottom bits, or a long cable with a tiny camera on the end shoved down your throat?

Before I get into all that, let me just say this: Those guys who claim to have been pulled from their fishing out back in Uncle Billy's portion of the swamp that they got permission from their cousin Wanda June to fish... those guys who claim to have subsequently been probed by aliens who came to earth to study why it was that first cousins couldn't marry... Well, I guess I can go to their conventions now. Since I couldn't rightly say what had happened during the probing, I figure I would fit right in; maybe even be a keynote speaker.

It seems to me that this sort of probing, alien or otherwise, could be a life-changing experience. I've already told you about the rectum swab I had to give while I was in Boston. As I prepared for my EGD, at the hospital here in Augusta, I couldn't help but think the camera was going to be a tougher experience to swallow. Ha ha. Get it? Sallow? Ha ha. Yeah, I'm laughing now; I wasn't so amused as I considered the experience prior to my appointment.

Fortunately, I didn't have a great deal of time to think about this. The appointment was set up on Monday for a Wednesday. But, in truth, it didn't take much time for me to think all I could about a process like this. I only had so much information, and I was able to play it over and over in my head on the crazy train.

They were going to put this...thing... down my throat; the same throat I used to stick my fingers down to induce vomiting. They were going to stick something down that throat that had a camera on the end And don't tell me it was a small camera. When they are about to stick something down your throat that has a camera at the end of it... then we can discuss camera size.

Still, common sense said the medical team had done this hundreds of times and you never heard anything gruesome about it: “Man speaks fluent Japanese after EGD probe goes horribly wrong”; 'Woman can hear only Yanni tunes after probe takes wrong turn.” No. There was none of that.

Okay. That was good. But, then I started to consider the math. Though it has never been a strong point for me, I am able to perform simple math calculations quite easily. For example, as near as I could figure, the distance from the top of my throat to the bottom of my stomach, or wherever it was the probe was going to end, had to be at least two feet, it it went straight down, which I doubted. So, that seemed like a non-starter to me. No way it would get past my gag reflex.

But then I thought about professional sword swallowers who stick all sorts of things down their throats, and don't seem to suffer any adverse effects, other than the need to wear hideous costumes and perform to crappy Gypsy music. So obviously, it could be done. But that seemed like the sort of trick magicians would keep to themselves. How did the doctors learn about it?

As you can see, yet again, I shouldn't be left alone with my brain for any great length of time. All this speculation sounds absurd now. But when your thinking is done to the tune of “Dueling Banjos,” there's only so much of it that an be discounted.

And one other thing. The medical team, at least in my case, never let me see how long the actual probing device was. First, it was behind me and difficult to focus on. Secondly, it had stuff covering strategic portions as it curled. You never got a clear view of the thing.

Anyway, after some relaxing medication and something sprayed down my throat to ease the gag reflex, we began. And then we were done. I kid you not. It was like, ready? Yeah. Okay, Mr. Arnold, you can have a snack now.

And they cleaned up after themselves real good. There was no sign of the probing device and I no longer heard banjo music.

You're probably wondering what the point of all this was. Well, there was still no answer to the question of what was causing my stomach pain, and why it was getting worse every day. It was agreed by all that taking a closer look at the problem area, from inside, would provide some answers.

One look at the doctor's face after the procedure told me that wasn't happening. As previous tests had done, the probe was able to rule out a lot of things it wasn't, but there was no definite clue as to what the problem was.

The next thing is going to be a thoracic spine MRI. My local oncologist knows that pain that presents in one place, can easily have begun in another. Since my ribs have been really painful lately, it makes that that's the next logical place to look.

I'm very familiar with MRIs. Some time back, I was having brain trouble and they wanted to take an in-depth look. So, not only was I shoved into the Pringles' can that is the bulk of an MRI machine, but I had to have my head in a cage, strapped to the table so it couldn't move at all. The thought alone gives you the shivers, doesn't it?

It was worth it though, because after five MRIs on my brain they told me there was absolutely nothing in there; my brain was empty. So that was good... Hey, wait a minute. Now that I play that back, a guy could feel insulted when told something like that... Nah.

There are a variety of versions of the story that gives this blog its name. The pony is the constant in all of them. A man is on his way to a party when he comes across a young boy shoveling ass over tea kettle at an enormous mountain of manure. The man asks the child if he wouldn't rather go with him to the party than shovel all that poop. The kid says, “No way man. With all that poop... there must be a pony in there somewhere.”