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A Funny Thing Happens on the Way | Holly Elissa Bruno
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A Funny Thing Happens on the Way

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“We must be willing to let go of the life we had planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”*

A funny thing can happen on the way to our destination: A detour spirits us into the unforeseen. We can’t turn back. The known road is closed.

Have you experienced or witnessed this unfolding way life works? An unanticipated turning of the heart may result.

In my case, a funny thing happened on the way to a routine, unpleasant but necessary medical procedure. Katie Couric exhorts us to have this screening. Sandra Bullock quips: “Invite your friends to join you.”

Routine colonoscopies save lives and could perhaps have saved Katie Couric’s husband and Sandra Bullock’s mom. So we do what we have to do, grateful to get them over with.

As with many procedures, the actual event isn’t the problem: anticipatory anxiety and distasteful preparation are the problem. Some of us swear off lemon-flavored drinks forever after.

Thirsty and starving (no drinking for four hours or eating on the day leading up to the procedure), I want to be done with it. Having been sickened by an allergic reaction to the pills added to the preparation, I am cranky. Let’s roll!

So what if a rhumba is rocking the monitor? My heart has always beaten to a different drummer. The erratic rate is likely a PTSD response. Invasive medical procedures trigger PTSD. Once my heart feels safe, it will normalize itself. These things I tell myself.

The anesthesiologist’s eyes narrow; gastroenterologist Dr. Song himself rushes to my gurney. My denial protests, “Let’s finish the procedure. I feel okay. No chest pains. This happens a lot.” Dr. Song’s, “No. We need to get you to the ER,” is both resolute and gentle. I would travel the road ahead by ambulance.


*This quote is attributed to both E.M. Forster and Joseph Campbell, depending where you look. I agree with the sentiment, regardless of which of these men expressed it.