An Inconvenient Inconvenience.

There are moments in your life where you realize that you have to do something right that instant.  Your entire existence is dependent on doing whatever it is that has overwhelmed you at that exact moment.  At 4:17 on Wednesday, October 27th, I realized that I was going to shit my pants at work.

You can instantly recognize that look on someone’s face when you see it.  For some it’s the realization that they need to return home because they left for their vacation and forgot their son Kevin at home.  Maybe it dawns on them that they forgot their grandmother at the airport.  Whatever it is, you know that the crux of their existence depends on completing that task.

But I’m sure most of you are wondering how it got to that point where I was sure that I would actually mess my dress slacks at my place of employment.  Well readers, let me Tarantino this story from you and take it from the top.

In the United States of America, telling a doctor that something is wrong with your stool can have dire consequences.  I realized this about two minutes after I told my doctor that there was some blood in my stool.  That was when I heard the rubber gloves snap on and my family physician got more intimate with me than I would typically ever allow someone who I haven’t taken on at least three dates.

Continuing up (or down?) the intestinal track chain of command, I won a free visit to my local gastroenterologist, courtesy of Highmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield.  Unfortunately I didn’t get to see the doctor at that time.   Instead I got to see his Physician Assistant.  She was way more knowledgeable about my stomach/bowel/colon than I could have ever imagined, and, since she wasn’t making the big bucks, she sat down with me for a whole half hour answering any and all of my questions before I even had a chance to ask them.

She was good.

Hoping for a second date, I was saddened at the end of the conversation to learn that I wouldn’t be seeing the knowledgeable stomach lady again.  However, as a consolation I learned I was the lucky winner of a colonoscopy.

Thus began my first experience with TriLyte.  My physician assistant told me all about TriLyte on the way to schedule my appointment.  The salient, somewhat viscous TriLyte mixture is intended to clear out your insides so the doc can get a clear look at what’s going on.

“Some people find the fluid off-putting, but it’s not that bad,” she said.  “You can even choose your own flavor to mix in the solution.”  Doesn’t sound too bad me.  I love orange flavored stuff.  “It’ll probably be like Tang,” I thought to myself.

Imagine my disappointment when I learned that this liquid is apparently disgusting.  As I was telling my friends about my new liquid diet (which is all the rage in Northwestern Pennsylvania), my friend Sam made a face of utter repulsion when I told him that I had to drink a gallon of TriLyte.  I thought he was exaggerating.  Sensationalism.  Give the people what they want hear; make it sound like my experience will be so terrible that everyone will have no choice but to laugh.

I can’t lie.  Sam shook me up quite a bit.  Up until that conversation, I was confident that drinking that fluid wouldn’t be that bad.  After that conversation, I was scared.  Scared like a little kid who is out of options and has to go get his booster shots.  Dammit!  If only the bathroom door in the doctor’s office wasn’t able to be unlocked from the outside.  I’d still be living in the safety of that doctor’s office bathroom and out of the potential death-grip of measles, mumps, and rubella.  No painful shot required.

Let me tell you right now that Sam wasn’t exaggerating in the least about how disgusting that solution is.

What my face looked like ingesting a gallon of that shit. In all sincerity, this does not even begin to describe the level of disgust. My body finally had enough and just made me throw a quarter gallon of it back up.

I’m not one to complain about things like having to drink a nasty liquid for a medical examination.  My belief is that most people make situations like that more difficult than they need to be.  If more people sucked it up, stopped complaining, and just did what they needed to, this world would be a much more efficient place.  So when 4 o’clock rolled around, I got my gallon bottle of TriLyte mixture out of the faculty lounge, sat down behind my desk, shook up the mixture, and cracked open an ice cold bottle of what I was sure would be delicious mineral flavored water, just like my gastroenterologist’s assistant said.  It’s the power of positive thinking and the dying optimist inside of me, I guess.

Boy, was she lying to me.

The salient TriLyte mixture is intended to clear out your insides, including your soul. It also comes with a few different “delicious” soul-cleansing flavor packets.  A better name for those flavor packets would be ironic packets, because there is very little flavor and certainly nothing delicious about them. And of course, the one thing they conveniently failed to tell me about TriLyte was how it specifically goes about leaving your insides more barren than an Arizona freeway;  by making you pee out your ass.

Literally.  It sounded like a Clydesdale peeing in my toilet when I sat down to drop a deuce.  For two days straight.  It was terrible.

I would typically say that’s funny, but only if it wasn’t happening to me.

So visualize, if you will, me.  I had been restricted to a liquids-only diet (no red dye in my liquids either) for the entire day.  I was exhausted from teaching and running on Blue Ice Gatorade all day long.  I was starving like a Sally Struthers’ Ethiopian.  And then, to top it all off, I had to prepare to present a lesson on literature circles for 20 parents at Family Literacy Night.  So at 4:00 that day as I looked over my PowerPoint presentation, I took a deep breath, held my nose, and then chugged the biggest swig of TriLyte solution that I could.  17 minutes later, as I briskly walked to the faculty rest room, I was sure I was going to shit myself when I turned the corner and saw the room occupied.

Panic stricken, I did what any desperate man would do in a situation like that.  I ran down the stairs into an unoccupied kindergarten classroom and sat with my knees in my chest on a tiny toilet made for five year olds.

Not my proudest moment.

Fortunately, everything turned out for the best.  I didn’t end up messing myself at work before my presentation.  Because of my empty insides, the pictures of my stomach turned out great.  Oh, and there was just some minor swelling, so I don’t have a tumor or anything, which is great news.

Just let this be a warning to those of you who may be experiencing a similar situation in your lives right at this moment; if you’re going in for a colonoscopy, make sure that you take adequate time off of work for your physical, and mental, well being.


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