On a slushy gray day in New York City, I made what turned out to be a very impulsive purchase. I had moved to New York City a few months prior and was having a severe case of the homesick blues. I missed my car, my friends, and my savings account. I was feeling sad and needed a little pep in my step. So, I hopped on Groupon. A $20 gel manicure sounded nice, but I was in the mood for something new. A 12-day juice fast sounded boring and a lifetime membership to an oxygen bar sounded worse. Scroll, scroll, scroll….and then I found what I was looking for. For only $60 I could experience an introductory Colonic session. Without hesitation, I flicked my finger, and it was mine.
The following afternoon, I walked several miles to a brownstone office in Crown Heights. From the outside, it looked like a professional space－space where I would feel comfortable having someone shove a tube up my rear end. So, I pulled open the door and walked in. The office was softly lit. Plants were neatly arranged in the windows. A framed picture of the Buddha hung above a love seat. Palo Santo was burning in the corner. Ah yes, mmmm. The positive vibes were high.
From behind a beaded curtain, a woman named Julia emerged and invited me to follow her back into the office space. I entered a dimly lit room and stood before an exam table. I was given a gown to change into and asked to lay down. All very normal, except for the tubes hanging down from the ceiling like octopus tentacles.
As a registered nurse, I have come to appreciate the art of the intake exam. This process ascertains pertinent health information from the patient to familiarize the medical professional with the patient’s health history and establish rapport. During this Groupon encounter, the intake process consisted of “spread your legs and breathe.” It was as abrupt and to the point, like getting the oil changed in your car. I felt myself clench and freeze – I wanted her to know that this was my first colonic and, since we had only just met, I had a few questions before I handed over the keys the the backdoor. Anticipating the sensations to come, a flurry of word burst from my mouth:”Your office space is really lovely…this-is-my-first-colonic-and-I’m-a-little-nervous!” Breathing, breathing.
She reassured me that I would likely feel some cramping as my intestines were pumped with water and that if I felt intense pain, I should let her know. I tried to find this reassuring. The insertion of the tube was slick and easy. The tube was lubed, liked a Slip’N Slide. During a Colonic there is a filling phase, where warm water is pumped into your intestines, and a removing phase, where the water and fecal matter is sucked out of you. The rest is small talk. Since Julia saw what was coming out of me via the clear plastic tube, our chit-chat consisted of her analyzing my poo and doing a fun little character sketch. “I see that you’re a healthy eater－you have daily bowel movements, don’t you?” I nodded. “How was the Pad Thai you had last night－was that from India Palace?” Then her face lit up－the way it does when you’re about to give someone the biggest compliment of their life. “You have one of the strongest sphincters I’ve ever seen,” she said. I smiled and wondered if she really just called me a tight ass.
After an hour of this in and out routine, my session was over. Julia immediately directed me to the bathroom with explicit instructions to “let it all go.” I scurried to the toilet and sat down, transforming into a human water fountain. Wait, a water fountain is too pleasant and reassuring. The “evacuation” felt more volcanic than human. I finished off the pack of baby wipes that sat in a wicker basket next to the toilet and emerged from the bathroom with flushed cheeks and a strong desire to get dressed.
I was advised to drink plenty of fluids and have a restful evening. As I donned my coat and started towards the exit, Julia turned to me and gave a final piece of parting advice: “Oh, and one more thing! On your way home, you’re going to feel like you want to fart, but I want to make it clear that it won’t be gas that comes out. It will be much, much worse.” I gave her a thumbs up and almost made a joke about forgetting my brown pants at home. Then I fully registered the serious look on her face. With an earnest gulp, I held my tongue, clenched my anus, and walked out the door with a newfound pep in my step.