JEFF PEARLMAN

Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

The colon bleeds

We all have strengths and we all have weaknesses.

I happen to be able to flip 40 quarters off of my elbow, then catch them in the palm of my hand.

On the down side, I shit blood.

Maybe this qualifies as TMI (Too Much Information), but, well, I’m OK with that. Hell, I’ve blogged about pooping red before, so much so that it even appears on my Wikipedia page (not by choice, but I’m too lazy—and amused—to change it). Why this morning, while teaching my journalism class at Manhattanville College, I explained how, yesterday, I had an exciting, wonderful, amazing colonoscopy.

Which is the official segway to today’s blog post—my colonoscopy.

Because I’ve been shitting blood for three months, and because shitting blood isn’t so normal, and because staring down at your bloody shit sucks, and because every WebMD knockoff equates “blood in stools” with “colon cancer,” I finally decided to undergo a colonoscopy and put an end to my worry—or confirm my worst fears. I arrived at the hospital at 8:30 am, fresh off of a hellish 38-hour stretch where all I could eat was Jell-O, chicken broth and chunks of ice. I was greeted by a nurse who clearly doesn’t care for the black people of America, or Bobby Brown. Or brushing her teeth. I was gifted with an embarrassing robe and an even more embarrassing beige pair of slipper-socks, then rolled into an adjacent room, where another nurse talked for 50 minutes about her new boyfriend, who proposed to her last week, but who she doesn’t want to marry, but who has a nice apartment in the city, but who is much quieter than her old husband. It was an oddly personal exchange, but one that kept me distracted.

After about an hour of hearing about the boyfriend, I was greeted by the doctor who would proceed, with great care and dexterity, to shove an object far up my ass toward my colon. A woman walked in, asked me about Jeremy Lin, then wrapped a tube to my nose. “You might feel some burning …” she said. “Nah,” I said. “Actually …. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.”

I woke up 45 minutes later. Nothing hurt. “You have inflamation,” the doctor told me.

I breathed a sigh of relief and changed back into my T-shirt and jeans. With that, an old man, probably 5-foot-4 and 120-pounds, came to wheel me away. I was forced to sit in the wheelchair, which may well have been the most humiliating four minutes of my life.

Upon returning home, I entered the front door, picked up the mail and checked phone messages. Then I went to the bathroom.

And pooped blood.