A Real Pain in the Ass

Note:- this article contains scenes of violence, drug use and nudity. Persons of a nervous disposition or refined sensibilities, and especially you, Des Manton, should stop now and turn immediately to the Breed Notes.

I have just had one of the landmark experiences of my life. Last Wednesday a sinister man, who had earlier told me I was too fat and drank too much, shoved a combination bicycle pump and flashlamp up my ass. The procedure is called a full colonoscopy, the perpetrator is called a specialist and I am going to tell you all about it.

Holding back nothing.


OK then.

It happened essentially because the Dragon Lady got a sore eye, which led by a tortuous route, details available on request, to my being diagnosed with a vitamin deficiency, requiring what they lightly call “Investigation”. The precise form of this investigation is chattily explained to you in a delightful booklet they give you before hand, all about how they will gently insert this thing into your posterior darkness and then, after pumping in air to distend the gut, examine THE WHOLE LENGTH of the colon.

This, in the words of Dr Johnson, concentrates the mind wonderfully.

And so does Prep Klean, an evil concoction tasting of vanilla and sea water, that you have to take on D-Day minus one. I had to imbibe four litres at the rate of a glass every ten minutes with a result expected at 4.30. In trembling anticipation we watched the clock. Nothing.

5 o'clock. Nothing.

5.15. No.

And then.

There is a famous film clip of the Hawthorne Ridge mine exploding on the first day of the Somme. I believe it was the biggest man-made explosion in history up to that time At 5.20 pm last Tuesday a similar event took place in north Co. Dublin, thankfully without the presence of cameras. Windows rattled over a wide area. Dogs barked. Babies cried. Extra staff were drafted into the pumping station. This was but the first of many explosions which gradually decreased until, hours later, there was peace once more, with only the toothmarks on the lavatory seat to bear mute witness to what took place here.

The following day, clutching a book by Bill Bryson appropriately titled “Down Under”, I presented myself at the hospital, where they made me put on one of those obscene hospital gowns that are open at the back, and immediately began addressing me by my Christian name. I thought this a little forward until I reflected that if you wear a dress that's open all down the back you are probably either a patient or a pole dancer, and in either case formality is probably out of place. Actually, I mistakenly put mine on the wrong way round, giving me what I thought was an attractive décolletage, but, while striding proudly through the ward, I was intercepted by a nurse who modestly averted her eyes and shooed me sternly back to my cubicle to correct matters.

At last a theatre nurse, terrifyingly clad in green overalls, appeared

“Now, Maurice, would you like to follow me?”

What a stupid question. No, nurse, I wouldn't, actually I'd rather stick needles in my eye, but I went anyway, and soon I was lying on my side on a sort of couch thing with a fence on it so I couldn't get away, and we were off.

You do not know the true meaning of humility until you have spent half an hour with your nether regions exposed to the vulgar gaze of strangers who are not only rummaging and inflating bits of you never before rummaged or inflated, but to whom these extraordinary events are just routine.

“Just relax now, Maurice” [rummage] “hey, did you hear Helen's going for that promotion” [pump, pump] “she'd need to do something with her hair” [pump, wriggle] “what is she like” [rummage, pump] etc.

And then, just when you are so full of air that your eyeballs are starting to bulge, they take out the tube and it's over, and they wheel you back to whence you came. I was dreamily considering the bizarre decision of a group of thirty-somethings in London who recently, I swear to you, gave one of their number a colonic irrigation voucher for his birthday [“Happy Birthday, Jason, and you know where you can stick it''], when I discovered that the rule that “what goes up must come down'' applies also to air, and puttered through the hospital like a V-1 rocket, to the admiration of all I passed.

And that's it for now. Nothing untoward found so far, although after four litres of Prep Klean that was hardly surprising. What was surprising, given how frightened I was beforehand, was that it wasn't actually too bad, in fact the only thing that really hurt was my pride.

Next week they've invited me for a barium meal. I am hopeful that this is some kind of traditional medical feast, served with a nice claret, but I could be disappointed.



Oh yes, dogs. I'm supposed to write something about dogs.

Boo on dogs.

Here's a picture of a blonde pole dancer instead.

blonde pole dancer