See that hamburger that Neal is sharing with his boy? Well, that triple with cheese, jalapenos, grilled onions, lettuce, tomato, mayo, barbecue sauce, coke zero and fries was the most well-deserved meal of Neal's life. It was his post-colonoscopy and surprise barium enema "break the fast" meal.
It was a crazy week, that week before Christmas. The crazy thing about it, besides the medical stuff, was the opposition of it all. On the one hand, we had some amazing opportunities as a family as well as individually, to serve others. Opportunities that provided wonderful feelings of peace and joy, which was extra potent, because it happened to be Christmas. So, our hearts were a little soft, and that's a good thing.
Then, we had the juxtaposition of it all, and the opposition that threw our soft hearts towards tragedy. A dear family in our ward lost another son. As Bishop, Neal was very involved, and our soft hearts were moved to mourning with this family as they suffered.
With soft hearts, we, and so many others, were exposed to another tragedy, when we imagined, then tried not to imagine, the terrible suffering of the events in Newton, Connecticut.
All of these things happening in one week, along with the blessings of the Christmas season, and the blessings of family and friends, made for a very intense week. I happened to teach the Relief Society lesson that Sunday. It was entitled, "Righteous Living in Perilous Times." I'd say it was pretty relevant.
Back to the colonoscopy. . .
Neal has had some issues on and off for several years now. He had a diagnosis of diverticulitis, and that was that. However, he had a particular day in November that sent him to the urgent care because he lost quite a bit of blood. So, he had a CT scan, and a wonderful colonoscopy scheduled for December 19th. After seeing him go through the cleanse, I really don't want to ever have one of those.
Lucky for Neal, the cleanse coincided with a very busy couple of Bishop days. Not only with the death of a ward member, but also other random Bishop phone calls and crisis, as well as work business that needed to get done. Much of that business was conducted via text, email, or phone, all while the poor guy was trying to cleanse. We had some really good laughs about it. He would be on the toilet, talking on the phone with the Relief Society President, and when he would hang up, we would just look at each other and laugh! It was a hilarious image that I don't think I will be able to ever forget.
Just a couple of nights before that, we were literally eating dinner at the Sizzler, talking about Neal's upcoming colonoscopy. Just that image in my mind had me asking, "Who are we? A couple of 78 year olds? What couple still in their 30's goes to the Sizzler on a date?" Yes, their toast and endless shrimp is still delicious.
Anyway, back to procedure day. After about an hour, the Dr. came out to consult with me. He took me in the consultation room and told me that they were only able to see about 75% of his colon. Apparently the sedation they gave him didn't work as expected. He was awake and aware, despite the fact that they gave him enough to knock out an elephant. The Dr. said that Neal was moving around, and yelling and screaming for them to stop! Yelling quite emphatically, the Dr. said. The Dr. had to stop and wasn't able to go around the last corner of his colon. I just had to laugh! Except part of me wasn't laughing, because our health insurance sucks, and this thing just went from "expensive" to "more expensive," because Neal had to kick the trend on sedation.
Meanwhile, Neal came to, and didn't remember a thing. So, the sedation worked with the amnesia part, but apparently it doesn't relax him or put him into a semi-conscious state, like it does for the other 99% of the population. Poor Neal had to be the statistical outlier.
The Dr. suggested we have anaesthesiology come down and knock him out generally so they could finish."Sure!" I said, because Neal was being seriously weird and abrasive due to the sedation they gave him, so I told him to be quiet, and I would do the talking.
Scratch that. The anaesthesiologists were too busy. So, the next option was a barium enema, operative word is enema. When you're already cleaned out, you might as well get the job done.
I never want one of those. Neal was very uncomfortable, and it almost didn't work because the barium wasn't going where it needed to due to all of the air they had pumped in him during the colonoscopy.
Now I wasn't laughing. They called the MD in to help them with some tricks to get the procedure to work. Just as they were about to give up, I said one of those silent, "Heavenly Father, PLEASE let this thing work!" prayers, and sure enough, I watched on the screen as the barium suddenly filled up the rest of his colon.
Everything checked out, so now Neal is back to square one. What is wrong?
I'm pretty sure Neal is not comfortable with me sharing this information about his colon. But how can I resist? It is something I cannot keep to myself.
Good thing he doesn't read my blog!
*Crap. He read my blog. *