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.

5 thoughts on “The colon bleeds”

  1. Thanks a lot.
    Didn’t need to read that but like a voyeur at an accident scene I had to read it.
    I turn 60 next month. Been promising my Dr., for the past several years, when I turned 60 I’d get a prostate exam and a colonoscopy.
    I’m healthy, just don’t look forward to it.
    I really have an aversion to having things shoved up my ass. Did the prostate thing 30 years ago, felt like I had been violated.
    You didn’t help.

  2. Jeff,

    I have been there! I am 47 years old & began seeing bloody stools at 37. I went in for a colonoscopy and was told that I had diverticulitis. “Big Deal” I thought. Wasn’t that what Doug & Wendy Whiner had?

    Anyhow, late 2007 I was sitting at my desk at work and decided that some peanuts would hit the spot. That decision led to two of the worst years imaginable. Within two days, I was hospitalized with a diverticulitis attack. That was in October. The following April I was back in the hospital. In May, surgery was performed, supposedly clearing up my issues. I had multiple blockages & was back in for a simple two hour procedure in December of 2008. WHen I woke up after 5 hours on the table, I had a fun new attachment on the right side of my belly. This was the ostomy bag I was supposed to have on for a few months. When I went in in May of ’09 to have the bag removed, the new doctor realized that the prior doctor had botched the surgeries, and that my colon and bladder had become attached, so after two weeks in the hospital, I was sent home with my ostomy still attached, a pic line to prevent infection, another bag to capture any infectious fluid and the worst thing of all, a catheter! After a month of this discomfort, I was back where I started with the ostomy bag only.
    FInally, In December of ’09 I had a final surgery to close me up and have had no issues since then.

    In my long-winded, almost bragging sort of way, I am telling you to investigate the seemingly benign disease of diverticulitis and prepare yourself to begin making changes to your diet. Avoid nuts, corn, anything with seeds, etc.

    You will not regret making the changes!

    Good Luck,


  3. I’m 34 in July, and getting a ‘scopy on Monday. Why? Granddad died of Stage IV colon cancer 20 years ago, dad and mom have both had polyps, mom had them in her 40s.
    So why wait till I’m 50 to have a problem? Why wait until I’m 40 to find an issue?
    Having a colleague who had colon cancer in his late 20s certainly motivated me.
    To anyone reading…if you have any family history, stop being a baby and get one of these! Or just die earlier than you have to. Your choice I guess.

  4. Your post came up in one of my random searches. I frankly enjoyed the post, as I have no issues discussing blood and stool and everything associated with colon cancer. As a 3-time survivor who still plays soccer, I’m literally and figuratively AliveAndKickn. Some of your fellow sports guys will be at our NYC Blue Genes bash March 31, 2014. Want to write another colon piece?

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