Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Colonoscopy Broadcasting System

    "We wanted to show viewers that a colonoscopy wasn't that bad," said one of the people at CBS News. "The Early Show" host Harry Smith volunteered to go live with his yesterday. Just what people want to see first thing in the morning: the insides of a large intestine.
     Let me see if I have this straight. You have to fast for the better part of a day, drink a gallon of a high-powered laxative, deal with its consequences, undergo general anesthesia, have a fiber optic camera stuck up an unspeakable place, and the general public is supposed to believe that it's "not that bad?" 
    This is not something you do because you're 50.
    This is not something you do because a public figure has taken it up as a personal crusade due to experience. Ms. Couric, I tip my hat to you, and send belated condolences in reference to your late husband. But due to the invasive nature of the procedure, both physically and insurance-wise, it had best be considered carefully.
     The inconvenience, discomfort, tagging by insurance companies, and risks would be acceptable if someone had started showing disquieting symptoms (bleeding, constipation or diarrhea problems) or had a strong family history of colorectal cancer. It might be warranted under those circumstances.
    One friend of mine became severely dehydrated. An acquaintance who had end-stage pancreatic cancer was in the hospital. They insisted that she needed a colonoscopy, even though nothing could be done if beyond pallative measures had it spread there. It reeked of insurance money.
    Despite the serious consequences, the procedure has been the basis of plot lines on "Two and a Half Men," a show I tolerate for The Spouse's sake. I give the writers credit for making it funny.
    One also has to give credit to whoever thought up the Colonoscopy Sweepstakes, where CBS picked up the tab for one and for your stay at a swanky hotel in Manhattan. Being confined to a bathroom is just how I'd want to spend my time in one of the world's great cities.
    Paging Dr. Freud.

No comments:

Post a Comment