Have you ever noticed that a gastroenterologist’s waiting room is rarely filled with happy faces? And the furniture is rarely upholstered in nice, bright pastel shades but rather in sickening, dull green hues.

A few years ago, I accompanied my husband (herein known as “The Big Baby”) for his much-dreaded colonoscopy. Even if a designated driver wasn’t required, the thought of him driving without even being sedated makes my eye twitch. 

I noticed he wasn’t exactly deep breathing, so I felt the need to soothe his jitters. “Just think of it as an oil change, babe,” I said. “You know how your car feels all clean and running like new after one? Now you, too, can run smoothly with all your various internal combustion parts lubricated. And just because you’ll have a three-inch wide PVC pipe with a camera up your nether regions, do not even think it’s anything like going through childbirth. Well, maybe close.”

Entering the waiting room, I saw a virtual Noah’s Ark full of paired-off couples. The calm individual with the book or knitting needles was obviously the lucky one. The suckers – I mean patients – sat pale-faced, eyeing each other with sympathetic glances. It was like a silent Twitter convention. I could hear the less-than-140-character thoughts bouncing off the beige walls: “I chugged that crap in 6.5 seconds.” “I set up the big screen in my bathroom.” “I can never look at Crystal Light. Ever. Again.” “I’m buying stock in baby wipes.”

And I’d like to meet the Dr. Jekyll who came up with the rule that you need to be in the office one hour before your procedure. That is just cruel. The form took 3:01:04 minutes to fill out. Then there was the waiting and pacing. Stomachs growled and echoed in their cavernous solar plexuses. Feet shuffled. The cumulative blood pressure in that waiting room had to be going through the roof.

I breathed a sigh of relief when they called my husband into the great abyss known as “the back room,” which I pictured as a large automobile assembly line. But it was nice to be released from The Big Baby’s sweaty-palm vice grip and let the nurses mother him for a change.

I proceeded to bolt to the nearest deli. God forbid the waiting room would have refreshments for those waiting. But I understand why. I know the smell of coffee alone would probably have had Starving Sam grabbing those knitting needles from his wife and stabbing someone’s eye out. 

Upon my return a few minutes later, I noticed the waiting room was filled to the brim, and the natives were getting restless. The receptionist came out from behind her desk and made an announcement that their computers were down, and there would be about a 15-minute delay, so things were a bit backed up. I giggled. Nice choice of words.

I glanced at the woman sitting next to me knitting and said, “Uhhh, does this mean our husbands are in there with their innards being sonared with no camera to smile at?” I asked. She just shrugged, methinks a little perturbed that I made her lose count in her reverse stockinet stitches. She was as uptight as a nervous sphincter.

The receptionist then came back out and suggested, “If anyone wants to reschedule, please come see me.” She turned and tip-toed away as TwelveAngryMen gave her the death stare so bad it relaxed her perm. She advised the IT guy to move quickly and quietly less he start a mutiny.

Alas, all was well within minutes and before I knew it, I was accompanying The Big Baby back to the car. He was cleared by the doctor who indicated that everything was “uneventful” (easy for him to say), and I drove to the closest fast-food place to get Hungry Herman a double cheeseburger with fries.

Apparently, he never noticed there was a delay since he had been off in la-la land. But just to be sure, I double-checked that there was no unprocessed film floating in the toilet bowl that night.

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