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Finding my 'Happy Place'

Is this what I saw?

Is this what I saw?

If there were a place where humor goes to die, it would be my doctor's office. It's strictly business there, a place where most How's Bayou? columns would hit the floor with a dull thud.

So why did I try to convince his nurse, a seasoned transplant from a Central American nation, that the first colonoscopy was performed by none other than Cristobal Colón on the Atlantic crossing of the Niña, Pinta, and Santa Maria in 1492?

Thud.

No acknowledgement of the clever Spanglais conjunction of the 21st-century procedure and the 15th-century explorer's name in its original Spanish form. Just silence.

"So, you will take this to the pharmacy, and the very special coupon will return you a discount. You shall be glad you spend the money on this prep instead of the one that comes to you free. Bye-bye."

As it turned out, I was glad; I applauded her professionalism, while grudgingly acknowledging to myself the arcane nature of my little joke.

On our way home from North Carolina last week, with the pups exhausted from their romp in The Cradle of Forestry and snoozing in their palettes in the back seat, Millie and I listened to CDs of David Sedaris' newest collection of essays, "Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls."

We only made it through five discs, but the next morning, on the way to cash in the coupon at a nearby Walgreen's, CD6 flipped on with Sedaris' side-splitting chronicle of his first colonoscopy.

"Well," I thought, "if he can have that much fun with it, so can I."

The next morning, I presented myself, brimming with enthusiasm, to a charming RN named Trellis, whose poetic name convinced me this whole thing would be nothing more than an early-morning stroll through a garden adorned with fragrant blossoms, pergolas ... and trellises.

Discussion in the prep room meandered from how blessed New Orleans is to have so many daiquiri shops (you can't get them just anywhere, you know -- and honey, you try drinking on the street in the cities those poor people wound up in after Katrina), to Wendy Davis's pink filibuster sneakers, to my horoscope that day, which cautioned that I would surrender control of something very personal to someone I didn't  know too well.

My Christopher Columbus. To my doctor of few words.

Surprise: My generally-silent doctor found the horoscope amusing as he sat at the mission-control-like deck of computers in the procedure room, where I lay on my side, feeling a cool breeze through the open back of my hospital gown.

A genial man named Kirby, wearing a frightening, face-shielding welding mask, like Rosie the Riveter, startled me as he burst through a hidden door, momentarily shattering my Garden of Eden approach to the experience. Is my breath that bad, I wondered? To make matters worse, the two solutions being fed into the IV on my wrist brought up echoes of Dead Man Walking and death row.

As he slipped into semi-consciousness, Sedaris' nurse had told him to go to his "Happy Place" as the drip began. And so I began to slip off into mine.

That little hose with the camera at the end: just there to water the garden. How sweet!

I pictured any polyps dancing like animated flowers, waving in Disney-like Technicolor to a lilting melody, or glowing and fluttering in the alien atmosphere of Avatar. Oh yes, oh my!

Then I was awake again, the lovely little dream gone.

"Gonna go out an' get yourself a daiquiri now?" The RN chortled as she removed the last monitoring device. "Better hurry. There might be another Katrina on the way."

How's Bayou? the secrets of remaining sane while running an upscale B&B on Bayou Lafourche, is written weekly for NolaVie by Keith Marshall, a former Rhodes Scholar and graduate of Yale and Oxford universities who now runs Madewood Plantation House in Napoleonville.

How’s Bayou? the secrets of remaining sane while running an upscale B&B on Bayou Lafourche, is written weekly for NolaVie by Keith Marshall, a former Rhodes Scholar and graduate of Yale and Oxford universities who now runs Madewood Plantation House in Napoleonville.