So – a ‘colonoscopy’? Hmm…

Benefit of a classical education. Somewhere inside me is a colon. (At age 69 my knowledge of human biology should be way better than this, but there you go…) And someone was going to take a look at it. OK. Given my symptoms, I was entirely happy about that. I was slightly less happy about the actual process.

Because – this not being Star Trek – they can’t just wave something vaguely like a mobile phone over your guts. They need a camera. Specifically a camera up your bum.


(For the record, the ‘medical tricorder’ shown above is actually a phone case. If you fancy one you could get it here the last time I looked…)

Actually it’s the preparation that’s the worst, because your bowels need to be empty. Yes, really empty. That involves drinking two litres of a mildly disgusting liquid. Which will almost literally turn your guts to water.

Don’t stray too far from the loo. In fact, bring a few books. Choose a playlist. Take up residence. With a red warning on the door. ‘Danger! Seriously toxic waste!’

You’ll also need to drink water. Lots of water. The more the better. As if drinking two litres of supposedly lemon-flavoured poo-shifter wasn’t enough.

On the day, fetchingly dressed in navy blue ‘modesty pants’ and a hospital gown, I met my consultant. We got off on the wrong foot when it took three attempts to get a canula into my hand. Because I definitely wanted a sedative before someone pushed a camera into my most intimate regions. ‘I hate you!’ he said. I laughed. So did he.

In the end – if you’ll excuse the expression – I didn’t really feel anything. But I did see what was on screen as the little camera revealed bits of myself I had only imagined before. It wasn’t the greatest movie ever made. Not even Fantastic Voyage. But it had its points of interest.

One of which was – quite definitely – a tumour. And yes, I heard that word. Even through the gentle fog of sedation.

Afterwards – when my wife was there – my consultant and his team broke it to me as gently as they could.

But I’d already put two and two together. It was cancer. The only question now was how I would choose to deal with it.

But I’m guessing you’ve already worked that out…