I went to Duke Hospital a few days ago to have a “procedure” done at the Gastro Clinic, also known as the Doing Horrifying Things to Unsuspecting Morons Clinic. No, I was not there for a colonoscopy, and I made darn sure everyone there knew that before they gave me the lala juice. I was there for an endoscopy, which goes down the throat, a whole different end of the body, and that was scary enough. In fact, on the list of things I will never voluntarily do in life, colonoscopy is right up there with tongue-piercing and marrying again. And, before you tsk-tsk about how important a colonoscopy is, let me say I have no doubt about that and would urge everyone to ignore my insecurities and do the smart thing for your health. I’ve just never been one to do the healthy thing. I hate tofu, the thought of exercise makes me sweat, I love sunbathing, and I’ll take a Bloody Mary over a tomato any day. So, don’t go by me.

I digress. My day at Duke was as pleasant as a terrifying day can be. A nurse took me to a room where she gave me an adorable hospital gown with two ties on one side that in no way match up with the ties on the other side, and told me to get undressed. I was immediately suspicious. If they’re putting a tube down my throat, why do I need to take off my clothes, I asked. Do they expect something unforeseen to happen? Like they might have to use a defibrillator on me all of a sudden? Is that it?! The nurse told me to relax, that everything would be fine, then asked if I’d ever tried Prozac, and if not would I like to have a sample pack. I didn’t think that was extremely funny, but she left the room howling.

Another nurse came to put in my IV, which is always relaxing, then said I’d have to walk to the “procedure room.” Walk? I’m thinking, for what this little “procedure” is costing, you couldn’t at least wheel me to the room? But then I think, it could be the last walk I ever take, so why not enjoy it. When we arrived, I lay on the table and the nurse covered me with a blanket and gave me a few magazines, because the doctor was in the next room doing a procedure, which was taking longer than expected. Ominous words. I listened for the sound of “Clear!” through the wall, and strained to see if there were grieving relatives out in the hall, but the nurse had deviously pulled the door almost closed. I tried to read, but all I saw were tomorrow’s headlines: “Teacher Who Survived 17 Years in the Classroom Dies of ‘Procedure.’ Questions Lurk.”

Soon enough, the nurse-anesthetist came in to prepare me to go to sleep. She was very sweet. As she began the drip, she said, “Don’t worry, I’m just going to get you drunk.” And, the last thing I remember was answering, “And, you’re not even going to buy me dinner first?”