Hadrian's Wall

Hadrian's Wall
Hadrian's Wall at sunset

Monday, September 21, 2009

Colonoscopy Tales

Just came home from work, which is an Endoscopy unit in a large hospital. For those of you without a medical background, that's where you go to have a colonoscopy (scope into the colon), an EGD (scope into the upper GI tract), or a bronchoscopy (scope into the lungs).

By far, the procedure we do the most is the colonoscopy. Which brings me to the topic for today.


And their underwear.

For the life of me I cannot understand why a man, in our unit to have a colonoscopy, would ask if he can keep his underwear on.

The first time this happened, 14 years ago, I thought the patient was kidding. But he wasn't. So I guess I'm used to the question by now but honestly, if you know where the colonoscope goes, how could you possibly think you should wear your underwear into the procedure?

So I started telling the male patients, after I had given them the gown to change into, "you need to take off all your clothes INCLUDING YOUR UNDERWEAR." I figured this would take care of it.

One time I came into the room after the patient had changed, and as I helped him into the bed I could see that he still had his underwear on. So I said to him "Now I know I told you to take off your underwear. Why didn't you?" (I said this very nicely, not mean.) And he said "I didn't suppose you really meant it." True story, no lie.

Now if a patient asks me if he can keep his underwear on, I tell him it's OK if he has a trap door in it. (This is only if I think the patient has a good sense of humor.) Or sometimes I'll say "Now what do you think?" At which point he smiles sheepishly.

I told a patient once that nurses had to have a good sense of humor to work in the Endo unit. And he said "Whaddaya mean! You have to have a good sense of humor to be a patient here, too!"


  1. I clicked on this immediately since yesterday my doctor was urging me to get one. I've put it off. I was scheduled once but got so sick with a virus I had to cancel. I think I dread it so much, I get sick just at the thought of it. :) I'm glad God made people like you who can nicely joke about the underwear with the very modest people like me. You are so funny!

    1. Thank you! I try to insert humor in everything I write.


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