Screening for colon cancer is your ‘wakeup’ call

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We are happy (and somewhat bold) to report favorable results on my sigmoidoscopy. The skilled gastroenterologist discovered no new gremlins and assured me that I needn't enjoy his company again for a full three years.

We are happy (and somewhat bold) to report favorable results on my sigmoidoscopy. The skilled gastroenterologist discovered no new gremlins and assured me that I needn't enjoy his company again for a full three years.

As part of this procedure I received anesthesia. As such, in order to address issues of liability, the doctors of this practice dispense specific discharge instructions. I found it very liberating that a physician's recommendation mandated I “rest at home for at least four hours and avoid exercise or activities that require coordination or balance for the balance of the day.”

But the most striking advisory from these directives read as follows: “Do not drive, operate machinery, sign legal documents, make decisions, or drink alcohol for the rest of the day.”  It seems to me that this sort of recommendation should be applied to a much greater variety of everyday situations. 

For example, poor nutrition has been scientifically shown to profoundly affect an individual's ability to reason.  Research subjects who consume meals loaded with sugar and fat score poorly on cognitive tests. And as far as decision-making is concerned, let us not forget the murderer acquitted partly on the notion his mind was not sound due to the ingestion of too many Twinkies. I’d guess sponge cake and sugary goo confection should be labeled “do not make rash decisions for the rest of the day.”

Maybe the people most closely associated with the Club for Growth, MoveOn.org, or any other think tank/lobbying group at the far ends of our political spectrum should also be admonished to stay away from decision-making. Being steeped exclusively in your own facts with so rigid and narrow a perspective certainly must leave you unable to decide things in any sort of a well-thought-out fashion.

With public school systems in so many states being systematically starved so as to allow private corporations to board educational gravy train, the instruction students receive is all too often subpar. Perhaps our children will later need to heed the suggestion that they do not sign legal documents or make decisions given the dearth of real learning they experienced in favor of test-taking techniques.

And would it not be in the public interest as well to have a warning before and after any television program involving the Kardasians? After all, witnessing their vapid, soulless existences surely undermines any viewer's ability to keep a clear eye on what is important in life.

Of course, the advice to not make decisions or sign legal documents should also be given most heartily to those who watch Fox News all day. Surely exposure to one-sided drivel deeply diminishes a person's ability to think straight, let alone make clearheaded judgments.

Heaven knows, with many slings and arrows of everyday existence, I think everyone deserves some anesthesia. As such, discharge instructions like mine should apply to everyone, each and every day.  Let us resolve to follow them to the letter.

Pat Grimes, a former South Bay resident, writes from Ypsilanti, Mich. He can be reached at pgwriter@inbox.com.

Screening for colon cancer is your ‘wakeup’ call