…or possibly in the bowel – which could be a good reason to check your poo…

Is that something you do?

Thanks to the amazing Dame Deborah I’m sure a lot of people do. Even if they’d never thought of it before.

Me? Yes, I do. Though it’s a lot easier since we refurbished the bathroom. These days the evidence tends to be sitting right there in all its smelly glory whenever I stand up to get the paper. (That’s German-made loos for you – clearly they cater for people who like to check every last detail. Ganz organisiert…)

For most of my life I’ve had a very well-tempered digestion. (Bach could have set it to music.) There it was, just quietly getting on with the job. But recently I noticed some changes.

Constipation – not shifting without a lot of effort. Narrow poo. Mucus – and, more worryingly, red-tinged mucus. And this despite having had regular negative results, every two years, from my usual bowel cancer tests.

Constipation remedies didn’t cut it. Nor, for that matter, did phone consultations with my GP. And then out popped something that might (or might not) have been a partially digested pickled tomato.

Whatever it was, I didn’t like the look of it. I’m pretty sure the Japanese restaurant where I’d been the day before wouldn’t have fancied it, either.

Time for a face to face.

Did I mind having my rear end investigated by a female GP? I did not. I’m old enough and ugly enough not to care.

Nothing obvious, she said. ‘But it might be an idea to take a stool sample. And some blood tests.’

That was Wednesday. On Friday I had the phone call. Blood tests all clear. Stool sample – not so clear.

‘Ever had a colonoscopy?’ asked my doctor.

‘Not to my knowledge,’ said I. ‘But I’ve a feeling I’m about to have one.’

And that, dear readers, was where the story really started…