Have a Story to Tell? Had a medical error?

This blog is about patient safety, medical malpractice, staying healthy, and preventing future errors. Help & empower someone else, Teach a lesson, Bear witness, Build our community - Email us or call 781-444-5525.

Frustrated with a health problem?

Need an ally in your health crisis? Call 781-444-5525, or learn more.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

When she had a second check: Kylie Minogue's breast cancer misdiagnosis

The Australian pop star Kylie Minogue appeared as a guest a few months ago on comedienne Ellen DeGeneres' TV talk show. She had just heard Ellen and her earlier guest, Senator Hillary Clinton, discuss the importance of the early detection of breast cancer. Ellen asked Kylie about her bout with breast cancer two years before.

"Listen, this is an opportunity for me to say something that I have not said before," Kylie said.
"I was misdiagnosed initially. So my message to all of you and everyone at home is, because someone is in a white coat and using big medical instruments doesn't necessarily mean they are right."

The misdiagnosis had happened before she embarked on her Showgirl concert tour. Later, when she had a second check, it was discovered she had breast cancer. She is now in remission.
Ellen DeGeneres also told the audience she had a mammogram and was given the all clear, but then "a couple of weeks later" she found a lump in her breast and had it removed.

Kylie Minogue's advice to women tested for breast cancer: "If you have any doubt, go back again."

Read a story of delayed detection of breast cancer.

The source article appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald of April 8, 2008.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A curmudgeon with a purpose: An activist disease foundation fighting Parkinson's Disease

He had long been the chief executive officer of Intel Corporation. Now Andrew Grove, 71, has Parkinson's Disease. So seven years ago, he launched the Grove Foundation, to combat Parkinson's. He also plays an ad hoc advisory role to the Michael J. Fox Foundation, to which he has donated $40 million. The creation of these two foundations in 2000 marked the beginning of targeted Parkinson's research.

At the time, Andrew thought that stem cell research would lead to a cure. By financing such research, which the government had decided not to do, he hoped to speed the cure.

While he is dissatisfied with progress to date, he realizes this approach has some unexpected results: "The most important thing we have figured out is the various things we didn't know and should have known."

As Joseph Nocera notes, "You have to be doing targeted research even to discover what you need to discover."

Andrew sees his role as being a curmudgeon with a purpose, whose job it is to push and prod and not let anyone become satisfied with the progress they have made.

His foundation is an activist disease foundation that is impatient with the pace of research and is using its money to stimulate researchers to advance in new ways.

Advice to those concerned about Parkinson's: Consider donating to an activist disease foundation.

Read a story about a similar effort against multiple sclerosis.

Thanks to Joseph Nocera for the source article in the New York Times of November 11.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

They strongly suggested we keep her in the hospital: Decisions at the end of life

When 32-year-old Rosaria Vandenberg lay unconscious in the hospital, a malignant brain tumor stealing her life, her brother decided to overrule her doctors' advice and bring her home to die. He believed, but he wasn't sure, that this was what she would have wanted. The truth is, when she was conscious, her family had never asked.

Back at home, Rosaria's two-year-old daughter, who had been afraid to touch her mother in the hospital, snuggled next to her in bed. Rosaria opened her eyes, the first time in a week, and took in the sight. She died the next night at home.

Her death made her sister-in-law, Alexandra Drane, realize that she had not thought about the kind of healthcare she would want at the end of life, much less discussed it with her family.

Such a conversation would have guided the family in the final days of Rosario's life. "When the end was near, the doctors pulled us aside and advised us of the options available. They strongly suggested we keep her in the hospital to make sure she would be well cared for – worrying that her case was so complex, there was no way we could care for her at home."

But her family could not get comfortable with the idea of Rosaria dying away from home and the daughter she so loved. In the end, the connection made between Rosaria and Alessia in the final hours was more than enough to convince the family that they had made the right decision.

Alexandra Drane wanted others to know that, so she launched Engage with Grace. Her website poses five questions for family members, e.g., "Could a loved one correctly describe how you'd like to be treated in the case of a terminal illness?"

Advice: Have the tough conversation with your family. It might help to show this to them to start the conversation.

Read another story about the decision at the end of life.

Thanks to Kay Lazar for the source article in yesterday's Boston Globe.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Eric has been reading a lot: Medical schoolitis and cyberchondria

Eric Horvitz is an artificial intelligence researcher at Microsoft Research. He remembers, years ago, while in medical school, "sitting on a cold seat with my legs dangling off the examination table," convinced that he was suffering from a rare and incurable skin disease. While the doctor was out of the room, Eric took a look at his medical chart and saw that the doctor's note read, "Eric is in medical school and he has been reading a lot."

In medical school, the common "diagnosis" by medical students of very rare conditions is called "second year syndrome" or "medical schoolitis." Medical students, according to the well-known joke, often jump to the conclusion that hoofbeats and whinnies are the signs of a zebra rather than a horse. Patients often make the same mistake, fearing they have a rare and dread disease when, much more often than not, they have a less serious condition.

On the Internet, the large number of stories on any topic often indicate to the lay reader a very wide variety of diagnoses, and many patients latch onto the most serious, even if very rare, condition. "Cyberchondria" is the name of this new malady.

Advice to those searching the Web for medical information: Take it with a grain of salt.

Read a story of a misdiagnosis of a harmless condition.

Thanks to John Markoff for the source story in today's New York Times.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Thousands of patients won't take it: Online drug studies using PatientsLikeMe

Karen Felzer's father has ALS (amytotrophic lateral sclerosis), or Lou Gehrig's Disease, so she read with special interest an article about the results of a new drug. Italian researchers had published a small study in February saying that lithium, a drug used to treat bipolar disorder, seemed to slow the progress of ALS.

A scientist herself – she's a seismologist - Karen helped to launch an online study by patients of the effects of the drug. Participating patients use the web site PatientsLikeMe.com. Karen says, "We want to keep track of how people are doing on [lithium]. It's important for the whole community."

Lithium didn't seem to help her father, and he experienced some side effects, so he stopped taking the drug. That is consistent with the reports of other patients, which indicate that lithium seems much less effective than reported in the Italian study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

As a result, says James Heywood, the co-founder of PatientsLikeMe, less than a year after the Italian study was published, "we now have data on over 100 patients who have been on a drug long enough to demonstrate the hope of that drug was not what was originally assumed – and that means thousands of patients won't take it."

Advice to patients interested in clinical drug trials: Look into PatientsLikeMe.

Read another ALS story.

Thanks to Carolyn Johnson for the source article in the Nov. 17 issue of the Boston Globe.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

He was later convicted of murder: Mercy killing with the help of Dr. Kevorkian

Ten years ago today, the CBS News program "60 Minutes" aired a videotape of Dr. Jack Kevorkian, an advocate of assisted suicide, administering lethal drugs to Thomas Youk, a terminally ill patient. Dr. Kevorkian was later convicted of second-degree murder. He was released in 2007 after serving eight years in prison.

Advice: Write a living will to clarify your wishes to give your family, and you, peace of mind in a health crisis.

Read a related story.

Friday, November 21, 2008

They walk the talk all the way to Japan: The healthiest response to a fatal medical error

I was privileged to hear a talk today by Dr. Gary Kaplan, the CEO of Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle. He described their long quality journey in using the Toyota system of lean production.

He spoke of a preventable death of a patient in 2004, and what the medical center has done to systematically prevent medical errors.

Mary L. McClinton had moved from Alaska to the Seattle area in 1996. She had dedicated her life to helping others, her family said. She was even adopted by the Tlingit tribe for her work as a vocational coordinator. She worked at the Greater Trinity Missionary Baptist Church in Everett, Washington, helping to find jobs for people with physical and mental disabilities.

Mary went to the hospital in 2004 for an eye procedure, and as she was sitting in a waiting room, a large picture, about 6 feet square, fell onto her head, and "knocked her silly," her son Gerald said. In the days afterward she felt dizzy, so he took her to an Everett hospital where a brain scan revealed a swelling in a blood vessel in her brain - an aneurysm.

Later, she came to Virginia Mason Medical Center for treatment for the aneurysm. The hospital had recently switched from a brown iodine-based liquid to a clear antiseptic for cleansing a patient's skin before and after procedures. During the procedure to treat the aneurysm, hospital staff would inject a clear marker dye into the patient's blood vessels to make them visible on X-rays. "At some time during the procedure, the clear antiseptic solution was placed in an unlabelled cup identical to that used to hold the marker dye," according to a hospital memo tracing the root causes of the error. The antiseptic, rather than the dye, was then mistakenly injected into a main artery that carried blood to Mary's leg.

The antiseptic solution was highly toxic when injected into a blood vessel: it blocked the flow of blood to her muscles, causing the leg to swell; her blood pressure dropped, her kidneys failed, and she suffered a stroke. She died soon afterward, in November 2004.

The hospital promptly took the unusual step of publicly explaining, and apologizing for, the error. The only way to improve patient safety, Dr. Kaplan said at the time, is to be "open and honest about our errors. ... You can't understand something you hide."

Since the error, the liquid antiseptic has been removed from the hospital and replaced with a swab on a stick. It's now impossible to mistake the clear liquid dye for the swab. This is an example of pokayoke – a safeguard that makes an error impossible.

Most of us try to suppress the memory of a big error. It's to the credit of Dr. Kaplan and his management team that they instead tried to use this awful error to stimulate their continued improvement. Indeed, the hospital has developed the Mary L. McClintock Award, and has made awards annually since 2006, to teams that have significantly improved safety in the Critical Care unit, the IV [Intravenous] Unit, and the Stroke Center, in the last three years.

Dr. Kaplan mentioned Mary in his talk this morning, but, appropriately, did not make her the centerpiece of his talk. The hospital's quality journey started before the error that killed Mary, and is far more system-wide than even the clinical functions that ripple around her care. Board members are now expected to join the CEO on trips to Japan to continue learning how to improve quality, using Toyota’s methods. Each Board meeting begins with a story by a patient or family member about an error. Staff on various teams have now participated in 500 intensive five-day sessions to redesign specific elements of the hospital's care.

Virginia Mason used several of the same elements that CareGroup (then a six-hospital system in eastern Massachusetts) did in its multi-year quality attempt to become the safest hospital to get medication in the world: The CEO very publicly led a high-profile multi-year broad project. Clinicians regularly discussed errors to learn from them. And well-grounded, proven change concepts provided the basis of the transformation.

Advice to people needing hospital treatment: Find a hospital that learns from its errors rather than hiding from them.

Read about another look-alike error.

Thanks to Nick Perry and Carol Ostrom for the source story in the Seattle Times of Nov. 25, 2004.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Medical Mishaps that Cause Misery: IVF and an ectopic pregnancy

There are times when we labor under false impressions – which medicines always help find a cure and that doctors always know what's good for us. A close friend helped me see these truths through two unpleasant incidents in her life - while one was a blatant betrayal of trust, the other was an oversight that nearly killed her.

The desire to have a baby is a normal and innate craving for most women, and my friend Jean was no different. Having not been able to conceive for a couple of years though, she and her husband sought the services of a fertility clinic. To cut a long story short, let me just say that after five years of failed artificial inseminations, they decided to try their luck at an IVF (in vitro fertilization) clinic – where they found to their dismay that Jean had just one Fallopian tube. The doctor at their previous clinic had removed it on the pretext of a cyst and FAILED to inform them that she had just one tube that worked.

Deciding not to sue them, (money was running low what with all the expenses for the medications and clinic visits) Jean continued with her IVF treatment – and tasted success. Well, for a short while at least. She was admitted to the clinic when she started bleeding, and had to hear the horrible news that there was no heartbeat and that she would have to undergo a D & C procedure.

Taking the news it stoically, the couple came home to recuperate and rejuvenate themselves, but Jean was unable to get out of bed for the next two days. She kept throwing up and undergoing dizzy spells. And then the abdominal pains came with a vengeance – she would literally pass out from the pain which usually lasted for a few minutes. A close family friend suggested a scan, which revealed the presence of another fetus in the Fallopian tube, which had now burst.

A classic ectopic pregnancy syndrome, and the doctor had failed to notice it. Jean was rushed into emergency surgery; she had already lost a lot of blood, but the docs somehow made her pull through. The worst part of the whole ordeal was that she lost her one good Fallopian tube because of this costly error. Jean and her husband have decided to adopt now, and are content to put these incidents behind them, and wait for their ready-made child. But the rest of us can learn from medical mishaps like these, and ensure that we are not at the receiving end. Here's what we can do:

• Always seek a second opinion: Doctors are human, just like the rest of us. So seek a second opinion from a different source before you decide to take any long-term medication or go under the surgeon’s scalpel.
• Consult a family member or other trusted person who's a doctor or paramedic: Members of the family who are doctors or who work in the medical field are your best bet to check out the efficiency of your attending physician and to tell you if there are others who are better at their job.
• Learn from others' mistakes: Pay heed to the stories of people who have been at the wrong end of the medical field and are suffering as a result. Learn from their experience so that you don't have to sail in the same boat.

This article is contributed by Sarah Scrafford, who regularly writes on the topic of EKG classes. She invites your questions, comments and freelancing job inquiries at her email address: sarah.scrafford25@gmail.com

Read a very different fertility treatment story.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

With no sarcasm at all: Medication compliance and tough love with Lewy Body

Blogger KnittingDoc’s story:
This week I had three very good days in a row. So good that I overblogged on those days. Pam even said, “You’re spending a lot of time on the computer. Why don’t you take a break?” I felt well. So well that on this past Wednesday evening I began to ponder whether I really needed to take all these ‘memory pills.’ ‘Dementia pills.’ Nothing wrong with me. I don’t think I need to take them. I could go to work again. On those days you feel poorly, kick yourself a good one and get going. It’s all in your head (oops, excuse the pun).

So I mentioned it to Pam. A good mistake, I guess. Talking about tough love! The earth shook. The dogs barked. And the wind blew. I ended up stammering, “Yes, yes. I’ll take them and no, I didn’t stop taking them. I swear to God with both hands on the Bible.” Caregivers……..tough love does work! My red face grin.

Later that evening, Chad said goodnight to which I responded, “I hope you don’t die tonight.” In my heart, I was trying and meaning to say, “OK. You have a good night and sleep well.” I walked into the bedroom. Again the earth shook. Pam told me how inappropriate my comment to Chad was. I wasn’t sure what she was talking about.

Evidence of lacking good judgment twice within hours of each other. Before going to bed, she said, “You really did stop your medicine, didn’t you?” I had to convince her that I didn’t. Whether it was poor judgment, word or phrase finding difficulty or just plain not thinking, it wasn’t the real David. Pam reminded me of my past couple of years and the symptoms I’ve shown. She reminded me of my abnormal SPECT scan.

And then the next morning — Thursday. I awakened having slept poorly. I was in a fog and feeling fuzzy. My gait was a little stiff and slow. Good morning, Lewy Body Dementia. I see you’re back. Reality smacked me in the face! With no sarcasm at all, Pam said, “Do you still want to go off the Namenda and Aricept?” I had no retort……..


Advice to spouses and people with Lewy Body Dementia: Be gentle with each other – and use tough love as indicated.

Read another story about a physician suffering from Lewy Body Dementia.

Thanks to Dr. David Thomas for his insight, openness and humor in the source story in his blog post, “Swallow This! Bittersweet Memory Pills.”

Monday, November 17, 2008

I recharged my purpose batteries: Purpose and long life

For 77 years, Marge Jetton, a nurse, had identified herself proudly as a doctor's wife, and found meaning in the work she did to support her husband. Their partnership was magical, she says, but ended abruptly when he died suddenly.

She grieved for months, and then she regrouped. She began volunteering again at her church, worked as a fundraiser for a gospel radio program, and delivered used magazines to elderly hospital patients. "I realized the world wasn't going to come to me, so I went back out into the world," she says. "I reconnected with old friends and felt satisfaction from helping the community. I guess you could say that I recharged my purpose batteries."

That was five years ago. Today, at age 104, she says she owes her can-do vitality to her religious faith and her fervent belief that as long as she's around, she can make a difference.

Advice to widows: You can live fully, and productively, even after your long love has passed away. As Dan Buettner says, Add years to your life by adding life to your years.

Read a very different story of finding a new purpose in life.

Thanks to Dan Buettner for the source story in the November/December issue of AARP magazine.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

One fifth of her income: Medication compliance for Alzheimer's medication

Lori Stewart of Champaign, Illinois, is trying to decide whether to discontinue her 66-year-old mother’s Alzheimer's medications, which seem to have only marginal benefit.

"The medication is $182 a month," she said. Lori recently wrote about the dilemma on her blog. "It's been a very agonizing decision for me. It is literally one-fifth of her income."

Advice: Ask your doctor, or your parent’s doctor, about your options in light of the heavy cost of drugs.

Read another story on the effects of the high costs of healthcare.

Thanks to Stephanie Saul for the source article in the NY Times of Oct. 22.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

To care for him who shall have borne the battle: Ongoing care for veterans

In a small room at the San Francisco Veterans Administration Medical Center on Monday, a dozen old soldiers sat in wheelchairs to one side of the podium.

Michael O'Neal pushed up from his chair and stood on his only remaining foot. After a bit, everyone sang the national anthem. Michael raised his hand to his face and held the salute. A tear formed at the corner of his only remaining eye. He had lost his foot and his eye to diabetes, long after his service in the late 1960s in Korea.

About 100 people were crowded into a small auditorium at the VA Medical Center in the Richmond District to pay tribute to all veterans, but more specifically to those suffering various illnesses requiring treatment at the center.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, thanked the veterans for their sacrifice and vowed to bring legislation in Washington to provide more help to veterans.

"There's a saying among the troops that you leave no man behind," Pelosi said. "We aim to make that, leave no veteran behind, either."

In the words of Abraham Lincoln at his second inauguration: "Let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan - to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations."

Advice: Ask a vet you know if he’s getting good medical care.

Read stories of the medical errors affecting our veterans.

Thanks to John Koopman for the source story in today’s San Francisco Chronicle.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

He's hiking 2,000 miles: Lou Gehrig's Disease

Ben Davis became committed to fighting ALS (amytrophic lateral sclerosis, Lou Gehrig's Disease) after watching Bill Jackson, a chef at the restaurant he manages, die from the disease. An endurance athlete, Ben is hiking the length of the 2,175-mile Appalachian Trail to raise money to fight ALS.

He is going south toward the end of the trail in Georgia. You can follow his progress at www.2175forALS.com

Advice: Get friends like Ben Davis.

Read another ALS story.

Thanks to George Vecsey for the source article in the Nov. 8 issue of the NY Times.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

I chased his friends down the hallway: Flu shots

As the daughter of one Minneapolis firefighter and the wife of another, Linda DeLude thought she knew the dangers that her husband, Barry, faced on the job.

The flu virus didn't even make the list. Until one day in 2007.

In late January, Barry DeLude and his crew responded to a medical emergency at a nursing home. Two days later, he started feeling achy and complained of the worst headache of his life.

He was a healthy 44-year-old with two jobs, two kids and the strength of an ox. No one, least of all his wife, suspected that a bout of the flu would kill him.

"I hate the word 'flu' because it sounds so innocuous," she says now, 20 months after Barry, her high-school sweetheart, died. Looking back, Linda DeLude believes her husband could have survived if he had had a flu shot. Since then she has become something of an evangelist on the subject. "I don't want to see anybody go through what we've gone through," she said.

This fall, she joined a campaign by the American Lung Association, called "Faces of Influenza," sharing her story publicly to encourage people to get vaccinated. She is also volunteering at a flu-shot clinic starting today at a Minneapolis fire station to take the message to her late husband's friends and colleagues. Last fall, she said, "I literally chased some of his friends down the hallway" to make sure they got their shots. "I have no shame," she said. "It would just break my heart to see any of them get super sick."

Flu shots weren't even on her radar, she admits, until her husband fell ill.

She had heard the statistics: Every year, an estimated 36,000 Americans die of complications from the flu and more than 200,000 are hospitalized. But like many people, she said, she didn't take the threat personally.

When her husband woke up on Feb. 2, 2007, feeling lousy and his head throbbing, he insisted on going to work anyway. He returned home at lunchtime "sick as a dog," his wife said, but refused to call a doctor. Two days later, on Super Bowl Sunday, he collapsed in the bathroom. Linda called 911. The emergency responders all knew him and insisted that he go to the hospital. Doctors found that he had not only influenza, but pneumonia and a host of other infections that can flourish in the presence of flu. Sending him home on antibiotics, the doctors told him he'd "have to ride it out." But within two days, he was back in the hospital struggling to breathe. Linda remembers seeing the terror in his "beautiful blue eyes," before he lost consciousness. "He went into the intensive care unit, and he never came home."

His death was caused by an infection in his blood stream, a complication of influenza.

Last month, Barry DeLude was honored at a national ceremony in Colorado Springs for firefighters who have died in the line of duty. Officials determined that he was probably exposed to influenza on the job.

At the home they shared in south Minneapolis, Linda DeLude still wears a bracelet with his name. She points with pride to the coffee table he built by hand, and admits she sometimes talks to his box of ashes, which she keeps on the fireplace mantle. Their sons Jake, 19, and Mark, 17, "miss him desperately," she said. Last Sunday, as she returned alone from a family weekend at Jake's college in Duluth, Linda remembers thinking: "This is ridiculous. Barry should be here with me."

"Of course, I started to cry," she added. "This is something you never get over. You learn how to live with it. Kind of."

Advice: Get flu shots now for your family.

Read another flu story.

Thanks to Maura Lerner for the source article in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Star Tribune of Oct. 29.

Friday, November 7, 2008

I've never been prouder of an internal organ: A colonoscopy

David Barry's story:

I called my friend Andy Sable, a gastroenterologist, to make an appointment for a colonoscopy. A few days later, in his office he showed me a color diagram of the colon, a lengthy organ that appears to go all over the place, at one point passing briefly through Minneapolis.

Then Andy explained the colonoscopy procedure to me in a thorough, reassuring and patient manner. I nodded thoughtfully, but I didn't really hear anything he said, because my brain was shrieking, quote,


I left Andy's office with some written instructions, and a prescription for a product
called 'MoviPrep,' which comes in a box large enough to hold a microwave oven. I will discuss MoviPrep in detail later; for now suffice it to say that we must never allow it to fall into the hands of America 's enemies.

I spent the next several days productively sitting around being nervous. Then, on the day before my colonoscopy, I began my preparation. In accordance with my instructions, I didn't eat any solid food that day; all I had was chicken broth, which is basically water, only with less flavor. Then, in the evening, I took the MoviPrep. You mix two packets of powder together in a one-liter plastic jug, then you fill it with lukewarm water. (For those unfamiliar with the metric system, a liter is about 32 gallons.) Then you have to drink the whole jug. This takes
about an hour, because MoviPrep tastes – and here I am being kind - like a mixture of goat spit and urinal cleanser, with just a hint of lemon.

The instructions for MoviPrep, clearly written by somebody with a great sense of humor, state that after you drink it, 'a loose watery bowel movement may result.' This is kind of like saying that after you jump off your roof, you may experience contact with the ground.

MoviPrep is a nuclear laxative. I don't want to be too graphic, here, but: Have you ever seen a space-shuttle launch? This is pretty much the MoviPrep experience, with you as the shuttle. There are times when you wish the commode had a seat belt. You spend several hours pretty much confined to the bathroom, spurting violently. You eliminate everything.

And then, when you figure you must be totally empty, you have to drink another liter of MoviPrep, at which point, as far as I can tell, your bowels travel into the future and start eliminating food that you have not even eaten yet.

After an action-packed evening, I finally got to sleep. The next morning my wife drove me to the clinic. I was very nervous. Not only was I worried about the procedure, but I had been experiencing occasional return bouts of MoviPrep spurtage. I was thinking, 'What if I spurt on Andy?'

How do you apologize to a friend for something like that? Flowers would not be enough.

At the clinic I had to sign many forms acknowledging that I understood and totally
agreed with whatever the heck the forms said. Then they led me to a room full of other colonoscopy people, where I went inside a little curtained space and took off my clothes and put on one of those hospital garments designed by sadist perverts, the kind that, when you put it on, makes you feel even more naked than when you are actually naked.

Then a nurse named Eddie put a little needle in a vein in my left hand. Ordinarily I would have fainted, but Eddie was very good, and I was already lying down. Eddie also told me that some people put vodka in their MoviPrep. At first I was ticked off that I hadn't thought of this is, but then I pondered what would happen if you got yourself too tipsy to make it to the bathroom,
so you were staggering around in full Fire Hose Mode. You would have no choice but to burn your house.

When everything was ready, Eddie wheeled me into the procedure room, where Andy was waiting with a nurse and an anesthesiologist. I did not see the 17,000-foot tube, but I knew Andy had it hidden around there somewhere. I was seriously nervous at this point. Andy had me roll over on my left side, and the anesthesiologist began hooking something up to the needle in my hand.

There was music playing in the room, and I realized that the song was 'Dancing Queen' by ABBA I remarked to Andy that, of all the songs that could be playing during this particular procedure, 'Dancing Queen' has to be the least appropriate. 'You want me to turn it up?' said Andy, from somewhere behind me. 'Ha ha,' I said. And then it was time, the moment I had been dreading for more than a decade. If you are squeamish, prepare yourself, because I am going to tell you, in explicit detail, exactly what it was like.

I have no idea. Really. I slept through it. One moment, ABBA was yelling 'Dancing Queen, Feel the beat of the tambourine,' and the next moment, I was back in the other room, waking up in a very mellow mood. Andy was looking down at me and asking me how I felt. I felt excellent. I felt even more excellent when Andy told me that It was all over, and that my colon had passed
with flying colors. I have never been prouder of an internal organ.

Advice: Grin, and bear it - a colonoscopy is a worthwhile 50th birthday present to yourself.

Read another famous person’s colonoscopy story.

Thanks to David Barry for the source story.