Bit of a hate rant coming up…
Tomorrow afternoon, I will subject myself to the indignity of a colonoscopy. This consists of having an extremely highly-paid gastro-enterologist slide a flexible pipe with a light and tiny lens at its tip up your backside and all the way up your innards to the top of your colon. I do this because Mum died of colon cancer, a heritable tendency, and as long as I remain vigilant I will detect any occurence of this condition in myself early enough for it to be a relatively minor problem.
What do wowsers, that cursed breed, have to do with this?
A sampling of advice from the brochure the clinic gave me and many many websites shows that, as part of the very detailed and fairly unpleasant preparations for this rectal adventure, one must abstain from alcohol. Of course. It almost goes without saying. Doesn’t it? Tell me you’re surprised.
And because it is so utterly expected, I tried and finally succeeded in googling up the answer to that question used by so many three-year-old boys to drive their mothers to the brink of fury: Why? Why Mum? Why?
Apparently, the answer is dehydration. Alcohol can cause dehydration, which I guess is a bad thing when you’re wanting to shove things around inside. Wouldn’t want to scrape or scratch anything.
But hang on. The main thrust of the preparation for colonoscopy is to pour a small lake of special fluids down your gob until you’re so clean and flushed, and every cell in your body so saturated with liquid that any further liquid taken on board comes hosing out the other end in two minutes flat.
Dehydration? You dream of dehydration. Dehydration is Shangri La. Oh, for five minutes of sweet dehydration!
What has happened, of course, is that the wowsers have stuck their oar in again. The Fun Police have seen an opportunity to deny us the comfort of a glass or two of wine as we soak ourselves in this foul solution of caustic salts. In (almost) every brochure or website dispensing advice about the run-up to the stick-up there are authoritative and detailed explanations of why you’re to do this, take that, what effect it will have and how. Except for the alcohol bit. There, it’s just: Don’t.
You see what’s going on now, don’t you. It’s everywhere. They think, because it’s a good piece of general advice, they should spread it around everywhere, every opportunity they get. And because they are so certain they are doing a Good Thing, they pretend that it is a requirement, like drinking the two litres of MoviPrep, or not consuming anything with pips and seeds. Which is stupid. Spraying unconsidered, unscientific do-good caveats and strictures here there and everywhere they just makes sure they are ignored by anyone with half a brain.
Which is where the damage is done. Because every now and then the advice is important, really important, even. But it is missed. Because it looks like all the other stuff, and we ignore it, and three or five or X years later we’re looking into the grey, concerned eyes of a doctor who is saying to us – “You didn’t know this? How could you not realise what this might do to you, and now has? Surely someone told you?”