Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day Tribute – Linus Walter Russell

My great-uncle Linus was born in 1896 in Sherman, CT. The only known picture of him is with his father, Louis, and 2 of his 5 siblings, Erskine (my grandfather) and Loretta. Linus was about 7 at the time and his siblings were 9 and 5. The picture had been taken after the death of his mother and the resultant sending of the youngest siblings to live with relatives.

When WWI broke out the US was not immediately involved, but in 1917 President Wilson requested a declaration of war. Not wanting to go overseas, Linus, then 21 years old, instead enlisted in the Navy. He enlisted on January 19, 1918 at the recruiting station in Buffalo, NY. He was given the rank of Motor Machinist Mate, 2nd class and assigned to the port in Philadelphia. After a month of training, he was assigned to the USS Maine for two months, then transferred to the USS Louisville in New York City for nearly two months. He was discharged for unknown reasons on June 27, 1918, having served for only 159 days. However, his “freedom” did not last long.

Just 5 weeks later, on August 9, 1918, Linus was drafted into the Army and assigned to Company K of the 346th Infantry as a private. After just a few weeks of training at Fort Dix in NJ, he was scheduled to sail out of NY for Europe on August 26, 1918. His name appears on the ship’s roster, but is scratched out in red pen with the letters “AWOL”.

The story picks up again less than two weeks later in the form of an FBI report on September 4th. During a routine investigation looking for German aliens, an FBI agent encountered Linus on a farm in Trenton NJ. He asked whether Linus had registered. Linus said that his registration card was “up at the house”, but he first went into the barn. The agent questioned the farmer’s wife at the house who asked, “Is he a deserter?” The agent did not think so at the time and responded that he just wanted to see his registration. Looking back toward the barn, he spotted Linus heading for the woods and shouted for him to stop, which he did. After a few more lies, Linus eventually showed the agent his bag which contained his soldier’s uniform and admitted escaping from Fort Dix a few days earlier. He attributed his desertion to wanting to see his mother before going abroad (which of course was also a bit of a lie, since that would have been his step-mother).

Linus was returned to Fort Dix, was reassigned to Company G of the 30th Infantry on September 13, 1918, and finally left as part of the AEF on September 25, 1918. Unfortunately, this reassignment turned out to be a bad thing as it put him in “the wrong place at the wrong time.” During his short few months in Europe, his unit was involved in heavy fighting. I have tried to find out what exactly happened to Linus, but there are no definitive answers. One of the family stories I heard growing up was that he was involved in a mustard gas attack.

Linus returned to the US on January 30, 1919 on a hospital ship, the St. Nazaire. After several months of treatment, he was honorably discharged on June 16, 1919 but was 100% disabled. He spent the remainder of his life in various VA mental hospitals in CT and NY. He passed away in 1948, the same year that I was born.

On this Memorial Day in 2017, I remember my great-uncle Linus, whom I never had the opportunity to meet. Despite his two attempts at escaping from service in the Army in WWI, one via enlisting in the Navy, and one via going AWOL, he did serve. Although he was not killed in the sense that his body remained alive for another 29 years, his life was taken from him and he “lived” in a mental hospital for all those years. So, for making that ultimate sacrifice, I honor him as well.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Ernest Hemingway and Me

Last night I was reading an account of my great*7 grandfather, James Pierpont. The next-to-last line of the article I was reading was about James’ children. It said, “Hezekiah married Lydia Hemingway and settled at New Haven.” This made me wonder about the Hemingway family and if there was any connection to the author, Ernest Hemingway. After some research, this is what I found.

Ralph Hemingway was born in Yorkshire, England. In 1633, as part of the great migration, he came to the Massachusetts Bay Colony. There he settled in Roxbury. He married the following year and he and his wife had seven children, one of them being named Samuel. Ralph remained in Roxbury the rest of his life, dying in 1678.

Samuel Hemingway (1636-1711) moved to the fledgling New Haven Colony in Connecticut some time in his early years. It was there that he married Sarah Cooper in 1661. He was then 25 and she was 16. Samuel and Sarah had ten children, two of the younger ones being Abraham (1677-1752) and Jacob (1683-1754). As members of the New Haven Colony, the family would have attended the New Haven Congregational Church. When my great*7 grandfather, James Pierpont, became the minister of that church in 1685, the family would have been among those listening to his sermons each Sunday.

When he was 18, Jacob was among the first students of the Collegiate School of Connecticut (later Yale) which had been founded by James Pierpont just a few months prior. He graduated in 1704 and upon his graduation began a new church in East Haven (the Church of Christ). See ( for more information. One of his children, Lydia (1715-1779), married the youngest son of James Pierpont, Hezekiah (1712-1741). I have told the story of Hezekiah here (

Meanwhile, Jacob’s older brother, Abraham, married Sarah Talmadge (my 2nd cousin, 8 times removed), making a second connection to the Hemingway family. They continued living in the New Haven area. Their youngest son, Abraham (1727-1796), married Mercy Tuttle (my 3rd cousin, 7 times removed), making yet a third connection to the Hemingway family. Their youngest son, Jacob (1764-1838) moved from New Haven to Plymouth, CT, just one town away from my hometown of Wolcott, CT. The next several generations (Jacob Street (1791-1863), Allen (1808-1886), and Anson (1844-1926)) continued to live in Plymouth. They are mentioned prominently here ( Others in the church there with connections to my hometown included the families of Blakesley/Blakeslee, Pond, Barnes, Adkins, Beach, and Hoadley. The current mayor of Plymouth grew up just a few houses from me and his wife is a school classmate of mine.

Sometime late in Allen’s life, he moved from Plymouth to Oak Park, Cook County, IL, although when he died in 1886 his body was returned to Plymouth where he is buried. Anson, continued to live in Oak Park.

Anson’s son, Clarence (1871-1928), was born in Oak Park, as was Clarence’s son, Ernest (1899-1961). Ernest was born in his grandfather’s house. Through my several connections to him, Ernest is my 9th cousin, once removed.

In his early years, Ernest and his family spent the summers in Northern Michigan where the family had a home on Walloon Lake. However, Ernest developed a number of friendships in the small town of Horton Bay, MI – a one mile boat ride across Walloon Lake, then a 4-mile walk. The town of Horton Bay continues to celebrate the life of their famous “son” to this day. It was in the original Horton Bay Methodist Church that Ernest was married for the first time in 1921.

In a little book about the history of Horton Bay (, there are several mentions of Ernest Hemingway. I especially note that the person who drove the newly married Hemingways back to Walloon Lake was John Koteskey. I got to know several of the Koteskey family (more on that below). Horton Bay was the setting for several of Ernest’s short stories. See for more information on various Hemingway sites in the area. When my wife’s parents died, I was the executor of their estate and added it to the properties on the Horton Creek which belong to the Little Traverse Conservancy which is mentioned in this website.

Although the original church where the Hemingways married is no longer there, the predecessor church is the current United Methodist Church right across the road (it was a United Brethren Church back then until the two denominations merged to create the current United Methodists. My wife attended that church and that was where we were married in 1971 (50 years after the marriage of Ernest). The township school mentioned in the above “hemsites” list is where we had our wedding reception. This church is also where I got to know some of the older individuals (Koteskey, Crouderfield and others) who still remembered Ernest as a young man in the early 1900s.

It’s amazing to me the number of connections that I have to this famous author – from my great*7 grandfather being the minister to his family, to my several connections by marriage, to growing up in the town next to where his ancestors lived for several generations, to my being married in the same small village and knowing people who had first-hand knowledge of him. I’ve read a number of his writings over the years, but I’m now interested in reading his short stories about Northern Michigan.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Genealogy Story – Filling a Hole in Your Life

It all started somewhat innocently. Around the end of February I had written a blog about my great*7 grandfather, James Pierpont, and had posted a link to it in the Pierpont Family Association Facebook page. Two weeks later a person who I did not know, named Gaye, left a comment on the blog which said, “…this is a great and interesting article for me. I am trying to put together some genealogy or at least ‘connections’ for my friend here in Tennessee, son of Russell James Pierpont. Could you please email me?”

As is often the case when I get such rather scanty information like this, I like to do some quick checking to see who it is that is being asked about. Within a short amount of time that evening I had determined who she was talking about (by checking her out, finding her Facebook account, and locating a Pierpont in her list of Facebook friends). I then made a quick check of the Pierpont Family tree (which I have saved in my favorites), and located her “friend” as well as where he fit into the tree. My response to her was,

“I also sent you a message via facebook. I’m presuming that your friend is Ron James Pierpont. I’m good at doing research! He is my 4th cousin. His family tree is Ron James P_ (1952) <- Russell James P_ (1929) <- Russell Raymond P_ (1905) <- William Seabury P_ (1833-1883) <- Austin P_ (1791). Austin is also my great*3 grandfather.”

“It also appears that Ron’s brother Keith as well as his sister-in-law and niece attended the Pierpont Family Association meeting in 1998 (they are also on his friend list in Facebook). How am I doing?

As our conversation continued, I learned that Ron had virtually no knowledge of his ancestry on the Pierpont side. His parents had divorced when he was just a toddler, and his mother cut all ties to his father (including calling Ron by the last name of her new husband). So Ron grew up knowing nothing about his father or any of his Pierpont relatives. He was soon going to be turning 65 and Gaye, a friend from his church, wanted to be able to present him with some information about this side of his family. She had stumbled onto the Pierpont Family Association Facebook page, noticed my blog, and wondered if I would be able to help her.

Thus began a rather exciting (for both of us) couple of weeks of my putting together a comprehensive genealogy report for Ron – all without him knowing anything about it.

Because of the excellent records in the Pierpont Family tree (maintained with care by my cousin Bob Kraft), and because Ron and I were 4th cousins (relatively close as things go), I had a lot of basic material already, including the complete family line from the origin of the family name to Ron in the 31st generation. I also had written a number of blogs about our common Pierpont ancestors. But I had to fill in the blanks for the more recent years, including (I was hopeful) seeing if I could find any pertinent pictures of his family.

Doing research on more recent events is a bit more challenging than looking through historical records such as census records, etc. But I have done a bit of that too and was up to the challenge. Through things like online obituary archives, Connecticut marriage records, Facebook friend lists and other sources, I was able to piece together a lot of what I needed. Through the above sources, I was able to identify contact information for Ron’s older brother who lived in Long Island, and Ron’s step-sister (who had been adopted by his father when his father remarried right after divorcing Ron’s birth mother). While I could put together a pretty complete family tree for Ron, including all of his father’s descendants from both marriages, I decided to contact Ron’s brother and step-sister to see if they could help me in my search for pictures, as well as to help verify the other information that I had found.

While some people are very upset to receive unsolicited questions about events that may have been painful, that turned out to be the right move in this case. I was able to get a couple of good pictures, including a 4-generation picture of Ron’s brother, his father, his grandfather, and great-grandfather (the whole Pierpont line). I was also able to get a picture of Ron’s father’s grave back in Connecticut.

I put all of this together over about a 2-week period into a 42-page report that included genealogy trees, obituaries for his relatives who had passed away, several pictures, and copies of all the genealogy stories about our common ancestors that I had blogged about over the past few years. I sent copies to Ron’s brother and sister-in-law (as a thank you for their help), as well as to Gaye. She printed it and put it into a nice presentation folder for giving to Ron on his 65th birthday.

Her email to me the following day said,

“Hey! It was pretty emotional. I was going to take a picture but it became really personal real quick so I just couldn't take a picture. He stared and turned pages and made remarks 'I did not know that,' 'I have never seen them.' 'There's my grandfather!' He really got emotional and thanked me but I told him you had all the work ready for him. I just found you! He was silent and engrossed in the pages. I believe his whole view of his life has changed. He has that sense of security of his past that most of us have and he just hasn't. Your contact info is there for him.  I believe he will want to call you when he is ready.  It is still all sinking in. Thank you so much for just being there prepared for this time for Ron. My short part of this was a special journey of its own.”

I recently had a chance to talk to my new cousin on the phone. He is excited not only for himself, having now been able to fill in this major hole in his background, but for the opportunity to pass this information on to his two daughters.

As I have said a number of times, I get excited about the research that I do and the connections between genealogy, geography, and history. And having the opportunity to help change someone’s life through this research is a real blessing to me as well.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Scenes from My Hospital Bed

One finger typing is not my forte, but it's all I have here in room 4KS40 at the hospital so I'll see how it works. This is the third bed I've occupied since Friday night - first the ER, then the ICU, and now the CCU. It's probably going to take me all day to write this in between all the sleeping, but more on that later.

Setting the Stage

It's hard to know how this infection began and where it got into my blood. My body, that wonderful creation of God, had been fighting it for a while, but those defense mechanisms broke down on Friday morning. I had come back from running errands and about 9.30 started getting chills and sweats. (Interestingly, one of those errands was my every 8 weeks donating blood but this time the needle got a clot almost immediately. Just one more evidence of God's timing as not only was I going to have a full supply for all that was about to happen, but this prevented my infected blood from being passed on to others.)

Continuing the story, I wrapped myself in blankets and got into bed, figuring this was something like a stomach flu. But over the next several hours I kept getting worse. Meanwhile my wife (another of God's blessings), was managing taking care of the boys by herself. Friday is bath day. She would check in on me from time to time, brought me some juice but I just brought it back up. By early evening she gave me an ultimatum (thanks Honey), either start eating or I'm taking you to the hospital. I told her to call 911 as knew I wouldn't be able to manage the stairs and the ride in. I crawled over to the living room on Kim's side of the house since that has outside stairs, climbed up on the couch and promptly passed out. The next I knew the EMT was standing over me. They put me in a chair stair, took me down and loaded me into the ambulance.

The ER - Organized Chaos

By its very nature the ER is a busy place. My bed was room 2, all the way across from the ambulance entrance, but close to the CT machine across the hall and the hall to the rest of the facility. While I was only there a few hours, a lot happened. Remove clothing in exchange for a hospital gown, two IV lines, chest and foot x-rays, abdominal CT scan, blood draws for analysis and cultures, check of vital signs, and other things I probably missed. Because they needed to wait for lab results and because my blood pressure was so low 80/40, they sent me to the ICU.

Because it was relatively early on Friday night I didn't hear any reports of gunshot wounds, knifings, or drunken drivers. But then I was only there for two hours.

The ICU - By the Book

Around 10pm on Friday I was transported by gurney down a number of halls to my new location at 2KS34 one of the several ICUs in the hospital. Because of the terrain I was now on the second floor even though at the same level as the ER had been.

The ICU is also a busy place, with teams of doctors, nurses, techs, and assorted others like housekeeping, food specialists, patient representatives and others I've probably missed. One of the several nurses’ stations was right outside my door. With so many involved in the patients, of necessity they do everything “by the book”.

I had a nice view out my window of a patio area with large planter boxes of trees, etc, and the treed area south of the hospital beyond. But because I was confined to bed the only thing I could see was the reflection of it in the windows of the adjacent wing - my wife described the rest of it to me.

By this time I had lots of tubes and wires connecting me to the room. Five leads for continuous vital monitoring, a finger lead for blood oxygen monitoring, an IV in each arm/hand (one with 4 drips of various types and the other free for periodic ones), a blood pressure cuff on a 15 minute cycle, leg cuffs on a one minute cycle, and a tube concoction called a Foley (a urinary catheter with a balloon on the end so it wouldn't come out). I wasn't going far!

I spent the next two days in the ICU. In addition to all the connections, I got finger sticks every few hours for blood sugar levels (and an insulin shot if it was over 155), and periodic blood draws for lab work or cultures. I felt like a human pin cushion!

After the first day they had determined that the infection was primarily strep group B with a little staph on the side. By then the Foley was out, and I was down to a single type of antibiotic. Yeah!

But that meant that I was going to be moved to my third bed.

I should also mention before finishing this stage that the ICU was on lock down mode as they had two patients with protection orders. But at least my wife as well as both our pastors and an elder were let in to visit me.

The CCU - The Storm within the Calm

Yes, I know, that statement usually goes the other way. But this way seems to match the circumstances. My third and final bed was 4KS40, just two floors up from the last one, but a world apart.

I checked in here about 6pm on Sunday and would be here a little less than 3 days. I'd gotten my supper downstairs but hadn't been able to eat much. I really wanted to catch up on lost sleep. I tried for a while but my fever was back and I couldn't get comfortable. Finally asked for a dose of liquid Tylenol (I have a psychological block on swallowing pills dating back to my growing up in a Christian Science household). After taking that I was able to get about 3 hours sleep. This floor is very quiet at night. When I woke back up I became very aware of what my body was telling me, now that the initial symptoms and the fever were gone. It was telling me how hard it was working for me. I was aware that my kidneys were working hard to remove all the white blood cells as well as the spent medicine from my body. My heart was telling me about how it was trying to stay healthy all the while it continued to pump the infected blood around. So while the room was quiet there was a war being waged on the inside!

It's interesting how your body can talk to you when you take the time to listen to it.

Meanwhile, I was down to just one antibiotic and all the continuous monitoring was replaced by the tech coming by every several hours. So I had a lot fewer wires and tubes. I was almost able to be mobile, but my body was telling me to give it time to continue the battle. So I just lay there, periodically switching from side to side, and resting as I could in between nurse/tech/doctor visits. I ordered meals, but didn't eat much of it. My body just wanted time to do its thing.

The doctor told me that my release criteria was 48 hours after my last fever spike. Since that was the one in the early hours of Monday, that meant early Wednesday at best. So I decided to just continue listening to my body and not trying to push it.

Monday night was my best ever. Apart from having to wake every so often for vitals checks or another dose of my meds, I slept the entire night. Tuesday, that's today, I felt “normal” whatever that means. I sat up in bed for an hour, ate my entire breakfast, then got in a chair (with permission of course), got a sponge bath and fresh gown, brushed my teeth, ate my entire lunch (food here is excellent), used the bathroom instead of a urinal, went for a walk (again with permission), and began living again.

My discharge is set for tomorrow afternoon as I can't miss more than one dose of my IV meds and the home health care person can't see me at home until Thursday. So now I'm waiting for a delicious supper to arrive and I'll have a few more good meals and more quiet time tomorrow. But I can't wait to get back home, to shower and shave (I'm pretty scruffy looking), and give my family some overdue hugs.

Closing Thoughts

Listen to your body. If it's telling you to get medical attention, do it. If it's telling you to give it rest, do it.

Listen to your spouse/significant other/family. Sometimes they can see what's going on when you can't.

Enjoy the world around you for as long as you have. There is beauty in many things.

Appreciate those who you come into contact with. I've been saying thanks to not only the nurses and doctors, but the unsung others like housekeeping, patient transport, food service, etc. One of the transport guys this morning has only been doing this for a few weeks, so I complimented him on learning his way around so well.

And, most importantly, thank the God who gave us such marvelous bodies. To Him be the glory!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Surviving a Colonoscopy

Why do this?

I know, I know, I should have had my first colonoscopy back when I turned 50. But I ignored the mention of it from my family doctor back then, and since I saw him very infrequently it didn’t come up again for a while. When he retired and I had to choose a new primary care physician, she mentioned it again, but wasn’t insistent because she was more concerned with properly managing and tracking my cardiac issues because of the heart attack I’d had at age 56. So it got put off again. About two years ago she retired and my most recent primary care physician became much more insistent and wrote me a referral. So, here I am at age 68 finally doing what I should have. I’ll give the results toward the end of this blog later today and then I’ll post this – so keep reading to find out.

I made my first visit a month ago. It was essentially a pre-surgical physical – check my vitals, get my medical history, answer any questions I had, and let me know what would be taking place – then scheduling the actual procedure. They also issued the prescription for the “preparation”. I picked up the prescription a few days later, read all the required material, but didn’t spend too much time with it. I also had a series of phone calls from a company that makes sure that I picked up the prescription, that I was following the instructions, etc. It’s a nice service and does a good job at keeping you on track – and makes sure that you are NOT planning on skipping out (which evidently some people do).


The real job of preparing started three days ago (on Friday, it’s now Monday morning as I’m starting to write this). For two days I had to essentially eliminate fiber from my diet (you know, that stuff that you’re supposed to eat lots of because it’s good for your colon). No nuts, no seeds, no raw vegetables, etc. So I skipped the baby carrots at supper (which I like), made my sandwich with white bread (which I don’t like) instead of the 12-grain bread with the seeds on top (which I like), etc. Made me intensely aware of how much fiber-rich stuff I like when I had to look at it and not take any. But it was only for two days, right?

Day 3 was worse. “NO SOLID FOODS, CLEAR LIQUIDS ONLY” was written in bold red letters in the instructions. That also means no dairy products and nothing containing red or purple (like cranberry juice). That meant that I was restricted to the bottles of apple/peach juice that I’d purchased the previous week. Soda/coffee/tea chicken broth, and gelatin are also allowed so I did have a little diet soda to supplement the juices. But my stomach wanted real food! After church, when the rest of the family was having their lunch I went to another part of the house where I couldn’t see/smell what they were having. I found things to keep me occupied while I ignored the rumbles from my stomach that really wanted to eat!

After 2:00 I also cut back on the liquids as I knew that I was going to need space in my stomach for the next phase of the preparation. My digestive tract had no idea what was about to come its way!

At 6:00pm, as instructed, I began the first round of the prep. They had prescribed a product called SUPREP Bowel Prep. The contents of the box were innocuous enough – just two small 6-ounce bottles of a clear liquid, a cheap plastic 16-ounce glass/cup (a “polypropylene mixing container”), and an instruction booklet. The primary ingredient is a combination of sodium sulfate, potassium sulfate, and magnesium sulfate. As described in the booklet:

“Sulfate salts provide sulfate anions, which are poorly absorbed. The osmotic effect of the unabsorbed sulfate anions and the associated cations causes water to be retained within the gastrointestinal tract. [This,] when ingested with a large volume of water, produces a copious watery diarrhea.”

The instructions ask that you dilute the contents of one of the 6-ounce bottles by adding another 10 ounces of water to fill the 16-ounce container. After drinking all of it, you must then refill the container twice more and consume another 32 ounces of water (for a total of 48 ounces of liquid), and it must be completed within one hour or less! That’s a quart and a half! Then you wait a certain amount of time before the entire thing (plus whatever else you may have in your digestive tract) is going to come speeding out the other end.

The liquid itself had a slight fruity smell, kind of like a diluted kid’s cough medicine. But you only take a little bit of cough medicine, you don’t chug the whole bottle! So even though this is diluted, the sheer volume of drinking that 16-ounce glass full of it is a little daunting. Ice water is my beverage of choice (I keep a large insulated mug of it on my desk all day), so I’m used to drinking a lot of water. Even so, after the first full glass and ¾ of the next glass, I had to stop – my stomach was full. I finished the 2nd glass about 5 minutes later, then waited another 15 minutes before chugging down the final glass of water. I’ll score the taste 7 out of 10, and the drinking procedure similarly – but then what do I have to compare that to?

I then lay down in bed to do a little bit of reading while waiting for the results. My bed is only 15’ from the toilet and I didn’t feel comfortable going much further away (and I was right). It took about two hours for the stuff to work its way through my system – all the while I kept hearing gurgles, so I knew it was working.

Just before 8:00 it hit! Because I hadn’t had a bowel movement since Saturday evening (when you don’t eat much there is nothing to help push out whatever is in there), the first part was a fairly normal bowel movement. But right behind it was like a fire hose. The entire volume of water, which would normally get absorbed as it makes its way through the intestines, was pushing its way through unabsorbed.

It took about 1.5 hours before I finally felt that this phase was done. I’d manage to get up from the toilet, start reading again, get only a few pages done, then hear some gurgling and quick lay down the book and sprint to the toilet. By 9:30 I was ready to finally lay down, pull up the blankets around me and get some sleep. I had to get up only twice more after that, but with long intervals. So, I’d rate the effectiveness of the product a full 10 out of 10 – it really cleans you out.

After a normal night’s sleep (albeit not as long as I would have liked), my alarm went off at 5AM (!) to start round two (there were two bottles, remember?). As I suspected, everything went much quicker this time. By the time I was taking my third 16-ounce drink (about 15 minutes after starting), the fire hose from the other end was already starting. Without any prior materials from the past days in the way, it just runs all the way through in record time. But I was prepared for that and had brought my smartphone into the bathroom with me and was planning on just sitting on the “porcelain throne” for the duration.

But just like starting more quickly, it also ended sooner. After only an hour I was basically done – cleaned out – empty from one end to the other. I even had time to climb back into bed, pull the blankets up to warm back up, and rest a bit before my alarm went off at 7:20.


After packing up the grandboys (daily responsibility doesn’t take a day off), my wife and I took them with us on the trip across town to the gastroenterology center for my 10:30 check-in. While I was there she went to the shopping center across the street. Not long after arriving, they called my name and I went through the door into the surgical center. This is a busy place – they have about 10 waiting/recovery areas in addition to the procedure room.

Much as expected – sign a few forms, blood pressure, temperature, remove all but t-shirt and socks and don the typical open-in-the-back, figure-how-to-tie-it-behind-your-neck “gown”. They then stick in an IV where the sedation drugs will go shortly and the oxygen tubes in your nostrils to help you breathe later. A quick visit from the doctor, then the anesthesiologist talks to you as well before she wheels you a few doors away to the procedure room. By this time I no longer had my glasses, so I couldn’t see well enough to describe any of the equipment – however I knew that one of the items was a camera and implements on the end of a long tube. A quick roll over onto my left side, adding the put-you-to-sleep drugs into the IV, and 30-40 seconds later I was in la-la-land.

I came to sometime later (don’t know how long since I didn’t have my watch on or my phone available). But I’m guessing that it was 45 minute to an hour. The rooms that had been occupied when I went in were now empty and the fellow just being wheeled back to his room was quite obviously having trouble with sleep apnea (my wife says that mine is much better than it used to be (a product of my weight loss) but this guy could have woken up anyone!).

The nurse said to me, as she was disconnecting the various tubes, etc.), “your new doctor did you a real favor based on these results.” (I’ll discuss them more below). I also had a bit of “gas” to pass – actually just some of the air they pump in to inflate your intestine so they can see better. It passes quietly and without incident just lying there in the recovery room.

After another brief visit from the doctor to give me a quick oral summary (I guess that’s how his day goes – squeeze in pre and post-op talks to each patient while the procedure room is being cleaned up and prepped for the next patient). Then they drew the curtain so I could get dressed. Meanwhile they called my wife to let her know that she could come and pick me up. They escorted me back to the waiting area where she arrived shortly thereafter and I went home.

First item of business – have something to eat – I’m starving for “real” food. Can’t drive for the rest of the day, but that’s fine with me.


The results of a colonoscopy can vary from (1) we didn’t find anything, see you in 10 years (which in my case would be never since they typically don’t do screenings after age 75), (2) we found a couple of polyps and removed them, see you in 5 years, (3) we found more than a couple of polyps and removed them, see you again in 1 year, to (4) you have colon cancer and we’re going to schedule you for surgery. In both cases (2) and (3) the removed polyps are sent off for biopsy just in case, but the doctor’s experience tells him that it’s not cancerous.

My results were, unfortunately, the third case. All of them were removed and sent off for testing, but I’ll have to do this again in a year just to see if any more have appeared.

So, while not what I was hoping for, this is exactly what a colonoscopy is for – to see what’s going on and take care of things before the polyps potentially develop, albeit quite slowly, into something far worse. I have no family history of colon cancer, but this way I can avoid being the first one.


If you’re over age 50, or you have a family history of colon cancer – just go ahead and get one. The worst thing is the volume of water you have to drink in such a short amount of time – but it’s just water. And while there is a feeling of embarrassment at knowing that someone is going to be shoving a long piece of tubing up your rear end, you sleep through the whole thing so it’s really not a big deal. As for getting not the best results like I did – while it means that I have to do this over again next year, it’s a far better alternative than not getting things taken care of now and having a much worse situation five years from now.

So go ahead – just do it!