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Live, From Up Your Butt!
"Although colonoscopy is very effective in detecting cancer, some people are reluctant to undergo the procedure," writes Anthony J. Brown, MD, apparently confused at why going to the proctologist's office to get a camera shoved up one's butt isn't commanding a bigger share of America's leisure dollars.

According to Brown's article, it sounds like doctors will soon be able to get the picture from the outside looking in, by taking a special x-ray of your colon -- called "virtual colonoscopy" -- an admittedly dull alternative for those who prefer to let their doctor relive his recent car trip through winding mountain roads by revving a video camera up and around their large intestine.

Posted by aalkon at September 8, 2003 9:14 AM


Last month it was anal fissures, this month colonoscopies. I'm starting to think - maybe you need to be getting out a little more, Amy.

Posted by: Brick at September 8, 2003 12:36 PM

You missed pubic wigs?

Posted by: (Amy Alkon) at September 8, 2003 1:20 PM

Ah, the blazing minds of the insane!

Posted by: Lena Cuisina at September 8, 2003 3:14 PM

No. (sigh). I read the pubic wigs thing. (sigh.) Amy, it just reminds me that you and I have jobs to do. I've been around for fifty four years, and I don't think you were born last week either. Our job is to keep reminding young people that (for men) seeking the sexiest or prettiest women, and (for women) devoting all of one's efforts at beautification, are not, in the long run (or maybe even the short run) as fulfilling as finding useful roles, and seeking out opportunities to help others, and to be kind to others. I know that that may sound corny to a lot of youngsters, but, if they try it, in time, they may find that it is very good corn.

I was lucky. When I was about twenty, I made a conscious decision to avoid seeking a "trophy wife" and decided to seek a women with a personality and outlook which reached outward, toward engagement with the world, rather than inward. I found her. It has proved to be the wisest decision of my life. She cares little about looking good, she cares a lot about doing good (for others), and I have cared a lot about her for an enduring time.

Posted by: Brick at September 8, 2003 5:45 PM

Reminds me of a joke I often used in gay chats. Someone would come in and say,"Anyone for phone sex?" (Actually, in chatroom speak it tended to look like "ne1 4 phone?")

I would respond, "I don't like phone sex. It hurts. And when it rings, I can never get it out in time."

Someone else might respond, "Maybe you shouldn't use a cordless."

Someone else said I should use an answering machine. Oh, right... "Hi! Guess where you've reached!..."

Posted by: Patrick at September 8, 2003 5:46 PM

Thanks, Patrick. That humor is at just my level. And Brick, I would rather remind women that men like beautiful women, so if women want to optimize their chances with men, they should go to the gym and smear on some Revlon. A smart man is one who only hooks up with a woman he finds hot -- because if you don't have that, your heart might remain "in the right place," but the lower extremities are going to be pulling you in a lot of other directions.

Posted by: (Amy Alkon) at September 8, 2003 5:50 PM

What's your job, Brick? Are you an advice columnist, too? Actually, I think a great percentage of those who write to advice columnists might need less advice if they could get one critical piece of information through their heads: YOU CAN'T CONTROL THE ACTIONS OF OTHER PEOPLE! YOU CAN ONLY CONTROL HOW YOU RESPOND TO IT!

People get so head-banging-against-a-brick-wall frustrated by insisting on what they need from other people. Guess what? "Other people" are free moral agents. You may "need" something from them, but unless you suddenly become a master puppeteer and the rest of the world your marionette collection, YOU MIGHT NOT BE GETTING IT! DEAL WITH IT!

Just in the last couple of Amy's columns, I've noticed an awful lot of whining along the lines of, "How do I get him to open up to me...?" and "How do I get her to tell what went wrong with the relationship so I can have closure...?" "How do I get him to come and see me...?"

Answer: You don't. You don't "get" anyone to anything.

Posted by: Patrick at September 8, 2003 5:54 PM

Amy, go for it.
Patrick. Wow! That's quite a temper.

Posted by: Brick at September 8, 2003 6:19 PM

A temper? Not really. I just find it amazing when people get themselves worked into a lather because they aren't getting what they want from other people. They'd save themselves a lot of frustration if they just realized that there's really no way to make anyone do anything.

Posted by: Patrick at September 9, 2003 1:48 AM

Patrick, you have made an excellent point. I hear you. I understand you. I agree with you. Actually when I made my "Amy, and I have jobs to do" rant, my mind had drifted off to the more extreme cases of the fourteen year old anorexics who literally starve themselves to death obsessing about body fat. I don't want to control people, but I don't want to look away when a young potentially healthy person is killing himself either. When I was sixteen, a neighbor told me that my adult sister was threatening suicide. There was no other responsible adult available to help. Just my neighbor and me. I was asked to keep a continuous watch on the car keys, knives and medicines. An experience like that changes a person. Alarm bells go off in my head when I think I see warning signs. (My sister has done quite well since then.)

Posted by: Brick at September 9, 2003 7:25 AM

Ooh, the obsession with thin... dangerous practice, this self-induced starvation. Kind of a sad irony: half the world starves and the other half diets.

And anorexia truly is self-defeating. In a way, you can't starve your body. Your body needs certain things in the way of nutrition, and if you don't give it, it will take it from itself. Calcium, for instance is an invaluable mineral. In fact, you need more calcium (1 gram a day) than any other mineral. If you don't eat it, your body will take it from your bones, which is what causes osteoporosis.

When you deprive your body of protein, your body releases some nasty hormones like cortisol, which cannibalizes any protein it encounters, including blood, muscle and organ tissue. This is why starvation diets tend to backfire. Yes, you'll lose weight but it won't all be fat. So, while you'll lose some fat, because you're also losing lean mass, you tend to look the same. You'll jiggle just as much because you've lost the lean mass to offset the fat loss. It's probably why anorexics tend to think "just a few more pounds," but when the few more pounds come, they are not pleased with the results and it becomes "a few pounds more."

I'm glad to know your sister's doing well. And I commend you for intervening and attempting to control her in such a manner. There's a difference between saying, "I need you to be this way for me..." and tackling someone out of the way of a speeding car. While they both are attempts to control someone else, the similarity ends there. Blocking the anorexic's path to the grave more closely resembles the latter, in my opinion.

Posted by: Patrick at September 9, 2003 8:18 AM

I had one of those. Not for idle curiosity, either. It's pretty mortifiying, not only because of the large medical crew on set for the chute (sorry), but because having suffered the ultimate invasion of privacy, you get to watch the proceedings live on TV with everybody else.

That's after you have fasted 24 hours and eaten a sh--load of barium flour.

Bring on the virtual whatsit.

Posted by: Uranus at September 12, 2003 5:00 AM