In the business of journalism, you can write a lot of weird sentences and have a lot of strange thoughts. It just kind of goes with the territory. One of those weird sentences is about to grace your eyes if you keep reading.
Few things can make you feel more loved than a screaming 6-year-old and a colonoscopy prep on the same day.
Told you. Weird.
After that kind of strangeness, an explanation is very needed — dare I write demanded.
Welcome to a day of my life, and to the inner sanctum of my brain.
Sunday was the day that prompted all the weirdness. The day started with my middle child — my darling, brown-eyed most-beautiful-girl-in-the-world daughter being a screaming, upset fit-filled mess. Anything, and everything, was setting her off and getting her sent to "the thinking spot" or her room to cool off — and to give the rest of us a moment to breathe.
She was clearly upset about something. I was a little suspicious I knew what was going on, but chose to not ask a lot of questions of her while she was in this state.
The truth is, Sunday was kind of a big day in our house — at least it was a really big day for me. It was the day I was to prepare for my first colonoscopy.
I will spare you the grossness of what that really entails and means. Most people 50 and older know what that is, and how unenjoyable that day can be. The cocktail of fluids, stool softeners and laxatives entailed leading to a time-consuming and very unpleasant process.
On Sunday, my date with the porcelain goddess had arrived. The weeks of joking by my wife were now over and time to become serious was at hand.
On Saturday I had told my wife that, quite honestly, I wish everyone in the family — from the preschooler on up — would just stop talking about it. I had been briefed by my father (who has gone through this process 11 times) on what was in store for me. I had listened to Jeff Foxworthy's comedy bit about this thing I was about to do several times.
I had resolved and was prepared mentally for Sunday.
I was more nervous about Monday or, more accurately, what would be found. I was, and am, pretty tired of living with the symptoms that had led to my doctor saying that I should get a colonoscopy — and that because of my family history with colon cancer it was a good idea for me, even without any symptoms to suggest there was a chance something was going on in my colon.
Sunday morning arrived, and I was ready for that part of the test. My calendar for both Sunday and Monday was clear (a rarity!) and all I had on my agenda for Sunday was to drink a lot of fluid mixed with the prescribed meds and watch football.
At noon, I ate my "last meal" consisting of green jello. I popped the prescribed pills. After about an hour of time with the kids, it was time for a nap. It was about then that I noticed a change in my daughter.
The fits were gone. The yelling was gone. The defiance and rebellion were gone. She was reserved, quiet, obedient and meek. Her face was filled with concern.
She walked down the hall to start quiet/nap time in her room. I started drinking what my wife had dubbed a "poop cocktail."
It took a while, but the medications started working — quite well. I spent my time watching football and making trips to the restroom. My daughter was quiet in her room.
After nap time was over, and the worst of my afternoon was over, my daughter came to cuddle with me on the couch. We spent some time there, watching football. I don't remember who was playing. I remember checking my fantasy score and marveling at how while my team was massively underperforming it was also blowing out the friend's team. He'll be OK, he just had a bad week of football.
As a family, we ate dinner. For me, chicken broth. For everyone else, real food. My body had slowed down, and I was able to be at the table for as long as I could stand to be there.
After dinner, more cuddling on the couch. My daughter was a little extra-cuddly. That is not, in any way, a complaint. Often, those few minutes I get with her to just cuddle on the couch are the best part of my day — tied with the moments spent with my sons.
It was then that I asked her if she was worried about my tests at the hospital. She meekly said yes. One of her friends' mother went to the hospital last year, and she never came home. We haven't seen that friend in a long, long time, but my daughter remembers that he lost his mom.
My daughter was worried about me.
See, a screaming child and a colonoscopy prep can make you feel pretty loved.
— Chad Frey is managing editor of The Newton Kansan and lives in Newton with his wife and three children.