Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Joy of Colonoscopy

"I do not know what you are eating, but the eating program should be nutritious and simple, not luxurious. That means capatis, dahl, vegetables, some butter, some fruits and milk. This is necessary for keeping good health. But we should not indulge in sweetballs or halevah or like that daily. Too much first-class eating may stimulate our sex desires, especially sweet preparations. Anyway, eat Krishna Prasadam, but be careful that we may not indulge in luxury. For Krishna we can offer the most beautiful preparations, but for us Prasadam should be very simple..."

Letter to: Gargamuni -- London 20 November, 1969

Monday I had the almost universally dreaded colonoscopy. One of the most recommended procedures by the medical community for everyone 50 years old or older, no one ever seems happy about having one. I had avoided it so far but during the transplant screening, it was made clear to me it was a deal breaker. No colonoscopy, no transplant.

It is a look inside your colon for polyps or cancer. I turned out to be completely clear. Colon cancer has two major contributing factors. One is having a family history of colon cancer, the second is basically environmental. Decades of chronic low fiber diet will lead to several different conditions, colon cancer being one of them. People who spend a lifetime eating meat and white bread, while drinking low amounts of water, and eating little or no fruits and vegetables are the prime candidates. Most vegetarians who eat lots of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, plenty of legumes (which are a high fiber source of protein) and drink water instead of beer and sodas are probably low risk. Though eating a feast type diet, with opulent foodstuffs like halavah, puris and milk sweets as a major part of a daily diet could also be a factor. Even though prasadam is transcendental, its effect on the body remains the same.

Turns out the worst part of a colonoscopy isn’t the procedure itself. You are sedated for that, so you don’t remember much of it. The one side effect of the sedation is that any family members who are there end up having a good laugh at how silly you can be while the sedative wears off. My son even came over between classes at WVU to watch the fun. It takes a while before full memory function returns. You are required to have a driver with you or they won’t perform the procedure. You may think you are able to drive, but, trust me, you aren’t.

The worst part for most people is the fasting required in advance of the procedure so your colon is completely clean. Most devotees wouldn’t have a hard time with this, but for those who don’t fast on a regular basis, it could be rather trying. Still, the worst part is that the night before. While fasting, you have to drink an impossible amount of fluid that contains a purgative. That’s right, you induce diarrhea. It is a mild diarrhea, with no abdominal cramping, but still a sense of urgency and a lot of time on the toilet. Such fun.

Aren’t material bodies fun? Yee ha.


At 7:59 PM, Anonymous Chaits said...



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