The other day, Amanda announced that it was probably time for us to have another colonoscopy procedure. And by ‘us’, she meant, of course, me and her, because the last time we had it done, Saffy absolutely refused to join us on account of the fact that it meant she had to skip several meals the day before.
“No, no, no!” she’d said firmly on the day of the procedure. “No one said anything about starving! There are plenty of people in the world already doing that. I’m not joining them!”
Amanda had sighed. “Saf, you do know how a colonoscopy works don’t you?”
Saffy’s chest had inflated. “It’s not rocket science! They stick a little camera up your bum to see if you have thing growing inside you!”
“And how do you expect the camera to see anything if your bowels are full of vegetarian beehoon?”
“Hey, that stuff keeps me regular!” Saffy had snapped. “And besides, if they can land an unmanned space probe on Mars, I don’t see why they can’t invent a camera that can see through…uhm…stuff. Like infra-red or something!”
And that was that. Amanda and I skipped lunch and dinner the day before the procedure, drank the laxative solution, spent the next four hours running to the toilet and immediately dropped two dress sizes.
For a long time afterwards, Saffy was haunted by our instant weight loss. As she struggled to fit into her new pair of skinny jeans, she berated herself for not having had the guts to take the plunge, as it were, into the world of colonal-rectal therapy.
Because that was how she had already reimagined the procedure. A colonoscopy was no longer a sterile abstract medical thing that other people did. By the time Saffy was done rationalizing it, she had reimagined the colonoscopy as a holistic therapy that one could have in much the same way that one signs up for a seaweed mud wrap at an expensive spa.
“It’s no different really from colonic irrigation!” she told people at dinner parties. “But it’s got the additional benefit of a camera probe!”
People tended to skip their dessert course after this gripping little medical anecdote, but Saffy, so caught up in the fantasy of the instant weight loss, never noticed.
Which is why when Amanda’s iPhone suddenly pinged last week with the announcement that she was due for a colonoscopy, Saffy went wild like it was her very first Christmas.
While Amanda got on the phone to set up an appointment with the gastroenterologist, Saffy raced down to Guardian to pick up the laxative medication, pausing only very briefly to stroke the new range of figure-hugging jeans from Massimo Dutti.
“Oh my God, I can’t wait!” she told her best friend Sharyn who went straight home and told her children that if they ever turned into hypochondriacs, she would beat them into next Sunday.
We’re all booked for our procedure tomorrow and today we began our prep, which largely involves eating only from a short list of boiled chicken, steamed fish, boiled eggs, skinless potatoes, white bread and jelly. We’re not allowed to eat vegetables, rice, noodles, red meat or fruit. Of course, as Amanda pointed out, none of this makes any sense since we’re all going to be emptying our bowels in two minutes, so what difference does it make what we eat?
“I'm so hungry,” Saffy said this morning in a quite voice that suddenly reminded me of Hannibal Lecter.
Amanda looked at her watch and then at me. It was only 8.45am. At noon, we are meant to stop eating and only drink liquid till after our procedure tomorrow.
“Well, we get to drink the laxative solution at noon!” Amanda said brightly, desperately hoping to take Saffy’s mind off food.
“I just had a boiled egg for breakfast!” Saffy mumbled, her eyes already taking on the glazed look of a serial killer. “How am I going to make it through till tomorrow?”
“We get to drink Bovril!” I said desperately, waving the doctor’s sheet of dietary instructions at her. “And as much tea and coffee as we want! Oh, well, maybe not coffee for you,” I added, catching sight of Amanda’s frantic waving in the background. “Yes, no coffee for you. We don’t want you too hyper. You’re already too tense…No. No, we don’t!”
Later, Amanda cornered me in the kitchen. “I don’t think she’s going to make it!”
We poked our heads around the corner and peeked into the lounge room where Saffy sat, eyes wide open, watching an episode of Nigella Lawson on TV.
Amanda says she hasn’t been this scared since she watched Khloe Kardashian give birth.