Your Facebook Colonoscopy

By Teddy Wayne

Hey, it’s me, your favorite hip, tech-savvy, “with-it” gastroenterologist, Dr. McGrath! I emailed before, but the auto-reply said you’re out of the country and gave this phone number. Anyway, I’ve taken the liberty of posting the photographs of your recent colonoscopy to Facebook, tagging you in each of them. Just a heads-up that they’ve generated a lot of comments, so be prepared to sort through a bunch of email when you get back…

No, not just the internal photos of your colon and small bowel — also the preparatory shots of you, half-naked and anesthetized on the table, as we inserted the long flexible tubing.  How did I get pictures of that? Um, I think my brand-new iPhone might have a digital camera with zoom!  Duh!…

“A serious breach of patient-doctor confidentiality, ” you say? The very fact that you accepted my Facebook friendship after I invited you fourteen times sounds like you wanted me to share images and news of your polyps-removing procedure. Well, tentative news, in that I labeled one of the albums “High-Risk Colorectal Cancer Pics of Large Villous Mass in Cecum-What’s YOUR Vote?” and invited everyone to observe the forthcoming follow-up exam.  (You’re already scheduled for next Wednesday, 11:00 A.M.  Don’t be late, as we’re expecting a big crowd)…

No, you don’t need to worry-though I suggested that you become a fan of “Chronic IBS Sufferers in Dayton, Ohio,” you’ll find you aren’t the only one. I also posted my suggestion on your wall, so I’m sure a lot of your friends will sign up, too. And it includes that story about the time you had a mortifying accident at work you’ve kept hidden so far, so the stigma for others will be alleviated…

Hold on, I’m having some problems uploading the photos to TwitPic. God,  that’s annoying…

Yes, I understand, but think about the positive aspects of this: you’re now going to get a ton of relevant health products directly advertised to you, thanks to the email I sent with my diagnosis to your Gmail account and the hospital’s listserv…

Oh, that sound you just heard? It’s an MP3 of the severe gas you experienced post-procedure caused by air insufflation into the colon. I’ve put it on my blog for medical reference, along with a recording of this conversation as it’s occurring. Technology, huh?  So, see you later-though, to be technically accurate, I’ve installed a camera inside your large intestine, so I guess I’m “seeing” you now, as are 3,258 other viewers on the live YouTube channel. Judging from what’s going on in there, it looks like you’re vacationing in Mexico…

Yep, that’s right–I also posted a candid picture of you from the waiting room. Given the fluorescent lighting and low-quality security camera, it’s not the most flattering shot. Totally understood  if you want me to take it down.


Teddy Wayne is the author of the novel Kapitoil, available from Harper Perennial.