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Mein Health
By Sue Kolinsky

I am 47 years old and have an enormous distrust of doctors. It seems that, as I get older, they always find something else wrong with me. I go to my gynecologist for a routine exam and, before the paper nightgown hits the floor, I'm told there's a problem with my bladder. I feel like a '57 Chevy at the mercy of some greasy auto mechanic who needs some extra cash. There may as well be a dog-eared poster of Farrah Fawcett hanging on the wall next to my doctor's diplomas. "What is it this time, Doc? A ping in my ovaries?"

I'm totally convinced that the reason this happens is that all the doctors are in cahoots with one another. They send you from specialist to specialist, then divvy up the money amongst themselves.

So he says to me, "You should see a urologist. Here, give my friend Jimbo a call."

Jimbo? What?! Is this guy for real? You would think he'd be a little more discreet and not have the blueprints for the new house displayed on the x-ray screen.

The next day, I walk into "Jimbo's" office and, amongst the obligatory framed family photos on his desk, there's one of him, my doctor who sent me there, and another guy (probably the doctor he's going to send me to next), fishing on a yacht called, "The USS Unnecessary Surgery."

Well, it turns out there was something wrong. Jimbo said it was cystitis, a condition where you have to pee every second. (No exaggeration. In fact, I'm peeing right now.) No one knows how you get it, or how to cure it. So began my journey of second, third and fourth opinions. In the course of two months, I saw eight different urologists. (Four in one day.) I looked at the last one, a woman, and said, "If I have to take off my clothes one more time without having sex, I'm gonna kill somebody." I don't know if she was more frightened at the prospect I might be a murderer or a lesbian. She never returned my calls.

When there is something physically wrong with you and you can't rid yourself of it, you'll try anything to make it go away. Everyone I met had a remedy. "Lots of Vitamin B." "Nothing but kelp." "Stay away from Kevin Costner movies." I became a macrobiotic for about a second, until I realized that everyone I met who was a macrobiotic looked like they were dying of cancer. I never saw a group of people who were supposedly eating the healthiest foods on earth, including the earth itself, look so damn sick.

Around this time I was working a job where the make-up guy suggested I get a colonic. Not knowing anything about colonics, I was a bit reluctant because he was -- well, a macrobiotic. But the discomfort I was feeling was so unbearable I figured what did I have to lose?

For those of you who have never experienced a colonic, all I have to say is, if you're the kind of person that enjoys having a tube stuck up your ass with water gushing through it, then this is the procedure for you.

You walk into this room, and the first thing you see is this tubal contraption that's twisted around like a maze with water flowing through it, strapped to the wall. It looks like a water park for your ass. If your ass was a juvenile delinquent and skipped school, this is where it would go. The idea behind (no pun intended) this is that the water squirting up your ass is supposed to clean out all the impurities. So, as it flows from ass through tube to contraption, it looks like -- get ready, I hate to do this to you -- the Ganges River.

You lie on a table with your knees bent and the -- I don't know what you call her, she's not a doctor, I guess waste management professional -- sticks this tube up my derriere. All the while the lights are set low, lavender incense is burning, Enya is playing, and the waste management professional is trying to make small talk. I look at her and want to say, "You know, the mood is right, it smells great in here, the music is soothing, but it doesn't take away from the fact that THERE'S A TUBE UP MY ASS!!"

Now, before the actual process begins, she explains that, as the water fills up my hindquarters, if you will, I'll begin to feel some pressure. When it gets too great, I'm to signal her, and she will stop it by using a clamp. All I can think about is the trailer for The Perfect Storm. By the time I'm ready for the clamp, my ass feels like Mt. Vesuvius moments before eruption. She then repeats this process two more times. By the third time, I want to know, "Isn't there some shit that's supposed to stay in there?"

After it's over, she ushers me toward the bathroom, and then, in a Vincent Price-like manner, she says, "Take your time." Yikes! What am I going to find when I take off the bandages, Dr. Phibes?

I'm sitting on the toilet for -- I don't have a fucking clue how long. It's like I'm tripping on acid. Could be ten minutes. Could be two hours. All I know is that, no matter how long I have been in here, it isn't long enough. I seriously think I may have to spend the night.

Finally, I feel like it's time to make a break for it. Part of this feeling comes from the fact that I believe my work here is done, and the other part is out of embarrassment that I've overstayed my welcome. I pull up my pants and walk out the door.

As I go up the stairs, past the reception desk, I'm just about to walk out of the building when I feel this sudden rush of pressure running through my body, like my ass is being chased by the huge boulder that was chasing Harrison Ford in Raiders of the Lost Ark. And the only thing I can think of is that I'm going to have to ride home on the E train with shit in my pants. (On the plus side, I probably won't be the only one.)

As I run back toward the receptionist, in my attempt to find the bathroom, I lose all sense of direction and, in fear of losing anything else, I give her that frantic look that I know she's seen many times before and, without missing a beat, she points to a door which says, "Ladies," but I see "Nirvana." As my posterior touches down on porcelain, I let out a sigh of relief. I swear they videotape this and show it at parties, laughing with all their friends.

Oh, I forgot to tell you that the evil person who did this to me suggested that I should get a colonic twice a week, and to be careful not to get addicted. Addicted? Not on your ass.

I would like to end on a positive note. I am feeling somewhat better these days, partly because my condition has become less acute, partly because one just has to accept how one's body behaves, and partly because it's been a good four years since I've seen a Kevin Costner movie.

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