There is light — and pancakes — at the end of the tunnel

By Raul Ascunce - Contributing columnist

Author’s note: No internal lower digestive organs were harmed in the writing of this article.

I recently had a colonoscopy. I’ll just let that sink in for a little bit. When you are done shuttering and shaking I will continue.

For those of you who have had one of these explosive experiences, you are probably filled with sympathetic empathy for me.

For those of you have never had a colonoscopy, you are probably trembling in your skivvies at the mere thought of this kind of personal invasion.

And for those of you who have no idea about how this colonoscopal (a word I made up for the purpose of this column) procedure works, let me provide you with an effective analogy:

Picture a mountain with a tunnel. And then there is this locomotive with a huge headlight pulling about a hundred cars. It slowly chugs into the tunnel — way into the tunnel until it can go no further. Then it hits the reverse lever and backs all the way out. All the while the passengers on the train are snapping little pictures of the inside of the tunnel which you can purchase for $25 at the end of the ride.

I will spare you the details of prep day because as a literary expert, there are really no words to describe that kind of expulsatory (another word I created for the purpose of this column) experience. Suffice it to say I saw God three times on prep day.

On the day of my procedure, the wife said to me, “So are you ready for the 30-minute drive to your colonoscopy?”

“I can’t move,” I said. “I’m afraid if I take one step the consequences could be detrimental to the carpet or your leather car seats. Why don’t you just go without me? Call me when you get there and we’ll do this whole thing over the phone.”

“It doesn’t work that way, dear. This is one of those up close and personal procedures.”

“I really can’t imagine anything more personal. I mean what if the train gets stuck in the tunnel? What if a passenger drops his camera?”

“What in the world are you talking about?” the wife asked. “They haven’t even given you the loopy medicine yet and you’re already talking crazy. Come on, we don’t want to be late for your colonoscopy.”

“Oh yes we do,” I argued. “What do they think they are going to find in there? Trust me. There couldn’t possibly be anything left. In fact I am quite sure that my entire digestive system has left the building.”

Helping me on with my coat the wife said, “You are going to do this and afterwards I’ll take you out for a big breakfast of pancakes, eggs, bacon, and coffee. Doesn’t that sound good?”

“OK,” I said. “Let’s get this over with.”

We arrived at the clinic, checked in, and I donned the appropriate attire for the procedure, a backless gown that provided no protection from random breezes.

“In just a few minutes this whole thing will be over and we’ll be on our way to breakfast,” the wife said.

And just as I was starting to relax, “Midnight Train to Georgia” came on the office sound system. My eyes widened and I passed out.

“Thank God!” the wife said to the nurse as she rolled me to the procedure room. Then she sang with the sound system: “He’s leaving, on that midnight train to Georgia…”

Raul Ascunce is a freelance columnist for the Sentinel-Tribune, an AIM Media Midwest newspaper. He may be contacted at

By Raul Ascunce

Contributing columnist