Fall’s hottest accessory? Though monogrammed Goyard luggage and lizard Gucci clutches are undeniably important, this season’s most vital accessory is definitely a healthy, sparkling colon. Everyone who is anyone in Manhattan is having their bowels cleansed, scrutinized and even photographed. Colonoscopy parties will soon be replacing Botox parties! Between Katie Couric’s cancer-screening campaign and Sharon Osbourne’s recent scare, large intestines have never loomed larger.
When I turned 50 last year, both Joan Rivers and Fran Lebowitz harangued me into making a date for my colon close-up. “Stop name-dropping and make the appointment!” suggested my youthful and less colon-conscious husband. A gastroenterologist friend offered to do the honors, but I declined, reasoning that if anybody was going to drive a truckload of camera equipment up my bum, it had better be a stranger. After all, I’ve led a fairly eventful life, and who knew what they might find-beer bottles, Barbie dolls, old copies of the National Enquirer , a vintage LeSportsac, a Victorian penny-farthing bicycle?
As I prepped for the procedure-this involves a 24-hour fast, eating only Jell-O and clear broth followed by a massive ingestion of diluted laxatives-I found myself empathizing with all those actress broads who go through similar rituals in order to prepare for red-carpet appearances. After four Dulcolax pills, 255 grams of diluted MiraLax and 24 hours without food, my stomach was as flat as Nicole’s or even Demi’s.
The colonoscopy procedure, though hardly glamorous, was painless and quite stylish: The Hermès-orange gown I was obliged to wear complemented my skin tone perfectly. (I’m what Carole Jackson, the author of Color Me Beautiful , would call “a low-contrast Autumn,” and we Autumns look best in warm tones.) And can we talk about the buzz from the intravenous Valium? It’s truly one of the squishiest, most comforting “Strawberry Fields” highs I’ve ever experienced.
Drugs aside, there are several critical pointers which I feel compelled to pass on to any colonoscopy contemplators:
1. Be a drama queen: I forced my husband to come with me and hold my hand. If you don’t have a boyfriend, get your doorman to come. If the probing colon camera finds something nasty-as, thankfully, in my case, it did not-you will need moral support over and above that afforded by the aforementioned intravenous Valium.
2. Don’t operate heavy machinery after the procedure. Especially if you weren’t operating it before.
3. Don’t make important decisions afterward, either. My doctor specifically cautioned me about this. He was right to be concerned: As I staggered out of the office, high as a kite, I found myself entertaining all kinds of dramatic life-changes, e.g., rewriting my will, getting a radical wedge haircut, joining a cult, gender reassignment, etc., etc.
4. Whatever you do, do not, as I did, allow yourself to be talked into an afternoon appointment. Having starved and purged and gibbered with anxiety for the entire previous day, you must insist on presenting yourself as early as possible on the following morn. I sat, dehydrated and famished, in front of the telly from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., finally getting my big close-up at 2:30.
5. Pray that there will not be a terrorist attack the day of your scheduled procedure, and spare a thought for the many folks who prepped and laxative’d on 9/10/01.
6. If everything is O.K.-i.e., you have no polyps which have gone nasty and cancerous-then celebrate! Spread the word! The easiest way to do this is to make your bowel photos in to a cheery Yuletide-or Hanukkah-greeting card.
For a first-class colonoscopy (and a nice set of snaps), call the personable, handsome, intriguingly named Ian J. Lustbader, M.D., at 212-685-5252.
Re Ms. Rivers: Starting today, Oct. 29, the dynamic colonoscopy advocate and mother of all stand-up is back in Manhattan with a fresh bag of rants at Fez, 380 Lafayette Street, most Wednesdays through the New Year. Call 212-533-2680 for tickets.