Enough About Millennials. What About Generation Colonoscopy?


It’s happened. I’ve entered a new demographic: Generation Colonoscopy. After several years of hemming and hawing, I made the appointment that puts me squarely in the cohort of people who talk about their medical procedures to just about anyone, just about anywhere. As I cross over into this new territory, I’d like to thank the people who got me here: my former college roommate and journalist Katie Couric.

I’m no historian, but as far as I can tell, the History of Colonoscopies looks something like this:

Once: No one ever talked about colonoscopies in public.

Then: Katie Couric got a colonoscopy on live TV as a public service in honor of her late husband, who died of colon cancer.

Now: Everyone talks about colonoscopies in public.

For 20 years Couric has used her platform to raise awareness about early screening for colorectal cancer, and that’s admirable. My college roommate Karah used our group text to shame me into making the appointment, telling me to get my act together with a GIF that featured celebrity chef-professional bully Gordon Ramsay. Also admirable. Other people may turn to a medical professional, but not me. I have Katie and Karah. In a town filled with excellent care, I prefer my gastroenterological advice to come from bossy women with strong opinions and no medical degrees. Let’s call them the Doctors of Guilting.

So, I’m putting on my big-girl pants, or possibly diapers, and steeling myself for the inevitable: one really long night before the appointment. What’s super cool about Generation Coloscopy is that we have our own motto, “The prep is worse than the procedure.” Because to a person, everyone who has gone before me into this abyss has repeated those words of wisdom back at me verbatim. All I know is that the package of preop goodies includes a host of brightly named products like Tush Wipes and EZ2go that I hope to never use again. There is also a box of lemon gelatin that I’m guessing is for dessert.

I can think of a lot of things where the prep is worse than the procedure: the SATs; standing behind that guy with the cowboy hat and the big brass belt buckle in the TSA line; dinner with the in-laws. But the colonoscopy crowd wins for staying on message. I get it, people. The prep is worse than the procedure. Check.

Now all I have to do is find a friend to drive me home from the doctor’s office on the day of my appointment. The nurse made it very clear that I would not be released to an Uber driver, much to the relief of Uber drivers everywhere. Any blank “Emergency Contact” line on a form is a relationship test, but the colonoscopy pickup is the ultimate favor. I’m currently auditioning candidates, including my spouse, who barely goes to his doctors’ appointments, never mind my doctors’ appointments. Possibly between now and then, someone will develop a Tinder-like app for this situation called Tender.

The good news is—and there’s always good news in this column because the real world is enough of a downer—every colonoscopy is a weight-loss opportunity. Almost a spa visit, really. I scheduled mine right before a wedding so I’d look my best the following weekend. I have a friend who did hers before a college reunion. Very smart. Like Emily’s Blunt’s character said in the greatest film of all time, The Devil Wears Prada, “I’m just one stomach flu away from my goal weight.” That’s how I’m positioning my entry into Generation Colonoscopy. I’m just one procedure away from my slinky silver dress.

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