Friday, September 26, 2014

My Colonoscopy and The Week in Reviews

[I review the new movie "The Maze Runner," as well as the DVDs "The Stories We Tell" and "The Signal," recommend a biography for you Jon Stewart fans and bring you up-to-date on my quest to see all of the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die"]

But First


Let's talk about my colonoscopy...




Just like death and taxes, a colonoscopy is inevitable.

And just like childbirth, if you have already had one, you have forgotten just how awful it was.

I just had my second one last week.  Because my first one didn't show any early signs of cancer, I was given a reprieve for ten years.  That ten years was just long enough for me to think I remembered that I didn't remember anything.

I thought I would share my experience with you, because as I learned when I was trolling around the Internet trying to find out why I couldn't have wine during the prep period, I found that people like to talk about their colonoscopy experiences.

And so do I.

First of all, have you ever noticed how difficult it is to make appointments for things like this?  You could be on hold for hours.  As I am on hold, I am thinking, "Why am I working this hard to make an appointment for something I don't want to do?"

"They" call it preventive medicine because colon cancer grows slowly and in most cases, can be treated during the procedure if found early.

But let me tell you, this is one preventive measure where the prevention is almost as bad as the cure.

Since this blog tries to be helpful, I thought I would share a few things I learned this time around.


1. It doesn't get any easier.

It's been ten years since I had my first one. You would think it would be easier this time around.  Think again.  What with all of the technological advances that have taken place in the world - we can talk to each other on tiny phones we carry around, we can access the Internet almost anywhere and get instant answers to our questions and we have been to the moon for god's sake - can't we have a colonoscopy prep that doesn't include drinking vile liquid and sitting on the toilet for hours?  No, I guess not.  We aren't that far advanced yet.  Moon? Yes. A colonoscopy prep that doesn't make you feel like you are drinking antifreeze?  No. 
(Please, lord, don't let me see another bottle of Gatorade ever again).

2.  Make an early morning appointment for your procedure.

I had this mistaken idea that if I made an appointment for late in the day that I wouldn't have to start the, should I say, "purging," until later the day before, thus being able to celebrate Hubby's birthday which was that day before (I know, my bad).  Anyway, I was wrong.  No matter what time your procedure is the next day, you have to stop eating the whole day before, like as soon as you get up.  So Hubby had to go spend his birthday at McDonald's by himself (wasn't he considerate to not eat in front of me)?

3. Everyone says the day before the procedure when you have to clean everything out is the worst.

Not sure about that. It is difficult for me to think that sitting on the toilet with your insides falling out is worse than having a camera looking around inside of me.  However, everything I read said don't worry about the procedure itself.  By the time you get there, you will welcome it, like a little mini-vacation.  I wanted to think that.

4. The whole process doesn't just start the day before. 

Several days before you are told to lay off nuts and corn.  So what do I crave the most?  Nuts and corn.  The day before the procedure, nothing red, purple or blue so naturally I was fixated on red jello with blueberries and a bowl of beets.

5. Have a sense of humor.

As I was trolling the Internet trying to find out why I couldn't make this process better via a few glasses of wine (you aren't supposed to drink alcohol - naturally, let's make this REALLY NO FUN!), I came across a cheeky article giving advice on the procedure. I think it was written by someone in the U.K. which would explain some of the humor, but her advice was to write something on your posterior for the amusement of the doctor doing the procedure, something like "Easy Does It" or "Hey Sailor."  Well, maybe not that last one.  I thought that one up myself, but thought better of it.  I ran the idea of writing a message to my doctor on my backside by the nurse who was getting me ready, and though she thought it was funny, told me my doctor was a serious type.  So good thing I didn't go through with that.  You don't want to piss off a doctor standing behind you with a colonoscope!

6.  Be prepared for a bad night. 

Yes, I knew I would be getting up in the night, but didn't think I would be dry heaving into the sink.  Geez, can this thing get any worse?

7.  It's best to wear comfortable clothes that you can get in and out of easily since you will be terrified when you are getting out of them and woozy and violated when getting into them.

When I finally made it to the clinic and was getting undressed for the procedure, the nurse helping me complimented me on my choice of clothing.  She was remarking on the easy on/easy off aspect, not the fact that I was dressed entirely in black.  I didn't want to say I was wearing black, because I was in mourning for what my colon had been through the night before.

8.  Forget flirting with your cute doctor.

When my doctor came to see me briefly, I thought, "He's cute.  Too bad the only side of me he is going to get to know is my backside."

9.  No matter how much you tell them you don't want to watch, realize you have little control.

I made it clear I did not want to be awake.  As I got onto my side on the gurney in the operating room, I was facing a TV screen.  The nurse came over to administer the "happy juice" as she called it and said "Let me know if you need anything" and THEN THE DOCTOR STARTED THE PROCEDURE.  I thought, "Hey, wait a minute.  Let the happy juice kick in!"  There I was watching my colon, feeling crampy, thinking I was stuck there for the long haul with no "happy juice."  I do remember thinking, "Gee, that's a nice clean colon."  That must have been when the drugs kicked in.

10.  In the end (pardon the pun), you won't care much about what happens.

I swear I was awake, but as I was told, even if you drift awake, you won't really care and that's kind of how it was.  "Oh, here I am lying on my side with my backside exposed to a total stranger and I am admiring my colon on a TV screen.  This must be what it's like to not care about much."

11.  No alcohol before, no alcohol after.

Don't listen to them.

12.  When it's all over, don't feel guilty for lying around feeling sorry for yourself, especially if you don't have a sympathetic significant other. 

You deserve a little pity party.  It was awful.

13.  Hopefully, good news will arrive that all is well and you won't have to go through this again for another 10 years.

In the meantime, you can gaze lovingly at the picture of your lovely colon they gave you upon exiting.  A nice little souvenir of a mini-vacation from hell.
 
Want to commiserate?
 
 
Now on to something more pleasant...
 

The Week in Reviews
 
 

***In Theatres Now***
 
 
 
 
 
Thomas (Dylan O'Brien) wakes up in community of boys surrounded by a seemingly impenetrable maze with no memory of where he came from. How will they get out?

The movie begins with Thomas being transported by an elevator like device up, up, up.  Suddenly, it is opened and he is confronted by a gang of boys.  He can't remember anything, not even his name, but one of the leaders, Alby, (played by Aml Ameen, an engaging young actor we will no doubt see more of in the future), gains his trust and helps him understand what has happened to him. Every month a "Greenie," a newcomer arrives out of that elevator with supplies.  All of the boys are in the same boat, all arrived the same way.  All found themselves here in "The Glade," and no one knows why.  All they know is that they are surrounded by a maze, and they need to find out how to get out. 

Every day the huge stone door of The Maze opens and some of the boys appointed "Maze Runners" go into the Maze to try to map it and find out its secrets, but they must get back before the door closes again because no one has survived a night in The Maze.  The Maze is home to some very inhospitable and ugly mechanical tarantulas called The Grievers.  This has been going on for three years with no luck, but now that Thomas is there, things start to happen. He is asking questions and really wants out.  But there is always the one averse to change, forever playing devil's advocate, who appears to be content to just stay put and that's Gally (Will Poulter). He provides the conflict - well, the human conflict, anyway. There is nothing that Thomas says or does that Gally approves of, to the point that it actually gets annoying.  Eventually a girl shows up, Teresa (Kaya Scodelario), and though I give this film props for not creating the usual sexual tension that occurs when a woman shows up in a community of men, I will also say she didn't seem to have much to do or need to be there.

Along with O'Brien, Maze Runner, Minho (Ki Hong Lee) and fellow Glader, Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) are stand-outs in the cast.

Based on the best-selling young adult novel of the same name by James Dashner, this film starts out well with lots of excitement as the boys try to discover the secrets of The Maze but the last part of the film falls into melodrama and doesn't make much sense, partly because it's obvious a sequel is in the offing.
 
I really get disturbed when I realize I have just spent two hours watching a movie that needs a sequel to be satisfying.  That's what happened here.  It's so blatantly part of a new Teen franchise that I felt ripped off. 
 
Rosy the Reviewer says...a cross between "Lord of the Flies," "The Hunger Games" and a 50's B horror film starring gigantic tarantulas, but not as good.


***DVDS***
You Might Have Missed
(And Some You Will Be Glad You Did)
 




Stories We Tell (2012)


Actress Sarah Polley discovers her parentage in this imaginative and dramatic documentary.

Polley remembers people saying she didn't look like her Dad at all.  Turns out there was a reason for that. 

This film is mostly about Sarah's mother, Diane Polley, a Canadian actress, who died in 1990 from cancer when Sarah was 11, who was married to actor Michael Polley, and who gave up her career to raise her family, but was able to dabble in acting from time to time.  Diane was the life of the party, living life to the fullest.  Michael a more quiet, withdrawn sort.  She becomes discontented with her marriage and embarks on an affair while in Quebec doing a play.

But this is also a story about a family and the secrets that exist there.

Polley is joined in telling this story by her two older brothers and her two older sisters and others who knew her mother and her father provides the narration, reading from a memoir he wrote.  Each tells their story from varying points of view, trying to recollect memories full of cobwebs, while Polley weaves home movies in with film that looks like home movies, but you realize that some of it is being done by look alike actors. But it's so seamless, you don't notice it until the end when you go "Wait a minute, how could someone have filmed that back in the day?"

Polley came to stardom in "The Sweet Hereafter" but avoided the lure the Hollywood, instead preferring to work in Canada in smaller films and to direct.  Her first directorial effort, "Away from Her," was a wonderfully heartbreaking story of Alzheimer's starring Julie Christie which earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress and Polley a nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Rosy the Reviewer says...a wonderful, intimate, poignant portrait of a family, reminiscent of another wonderful personal documentary about family secrets, "51 Birch Street."





The Signal (2014)


Three friends on a road trip are taunted by a hacker who previously hacked into their college's computers (MIT) and find themselves in a waking nightmare. 
 
Three computer geek MIT students - Jonah (Beau Knapp), Nic (Brenton Thwaites, you saw him in "The Giver" and he's the hot new thing in town) and Haley (Olivia Cooke) - are on a road trip to take Haley to California where she plans to live for a year.  Nic has muscular dystrophy and doesn't want to hold Haley back so he has bottled up his feelings for her.  Haley is worried about their relationship. While en route, Nic and Jonah discover that a hacker NOMAD (who nearly got Jonah and Nic expelled for breaking into MIT servers), is taunting them with strange and ominous emails. They track NOMAD to an abandoned house in the middle of the Nevada desert and decide to go after him. After finding nothing in the house, Nic and Jonah black out as Haley is pulled upinto the air.  They all wake up in a HASMAT like controlled environment.
 
It was all going so well up until the unseen forces got into this thing.  When Nic and Jonah were in the abandoned house, it felt a bit like "The Blair Witch Project" and it was eerie and scary.  But then once Laurence Fishburne (Damon) got a hold of them, it started to unravel. This has bits of the aforementioned "Maze Runner," young people in a controlled environment who must find a way out. But there the comparison ends.
 
This is a low-budget sci fi film with engaging young stars and gorgeous cinematography.  That's the good news.  The bad news is it is ultimately unsatisfying.

There is some underlying gobbledygook about logic versus emotion and the "signal" being that clear, small voice inside that tells us what's true, but unfortunately, the character development here doesn't bring that out sufficiently.
  
Rosy the Reviewer says...if you like Science Fiction, you will probably enjoy this.  There are definitely worse sci fi films out there (think "Transcendence.")
 
 

***My 1001 Films You Must See Before You Die  Project***
 
 
 
I am starting to work through the 300+ films I need to see to get to the 1001 I must see before I die.  I think I started with 316 - now it's 314 to go.  At this rate, it will take me three years to see all of these!
 
The daily struggles of a poor Brahman family in Bengali in the early part of the 20th century.

The first film directed by acclaimed Indian director Satyajit Ray and the first film in what would comprise "The Apu Trilogy," it is known for its mise-en-scene, it's lyrical and expressive story-telling.

Rosy the Reviewer says...it is a simple poetic story punctuated by Ravi Shankar's music. (b & w with subtitles)


 

Detour (1945)
 
 
 
A hapless loser tries to hitchhike across country to meet up with his lady love only to end up a victim of a series of chance events.
 
"1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die" says, " One of the greatest of all B movies...[it] makes no attempt to rise above its budget...instead reveling in its cheapness, presenting a world somewhere between pulp fiction and existentialism..."  I don't know about that but, boy, is it a classic 1940's B movie.  It is the precursor for such films as "A Simple Plan," where wrong decision after wrong decision is made to excruciating effect.
 
Rosy the Reviewer says...It's about as noir as you can get in film noir, but it's also very campy by today's standards.  It feels like an episode from "The Twilight Zone." This would make a great midnight movie feature along with "Rocky Horror."
 
 

***Book of the Week***
 
 
 
 
Jon Stewart's unlikely rise to stardom.

Born Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz, Stewart is one of today's major comedy players and admitted liberal voice.  Growing up in New Jersey, Stewart was a smart-ass and grew up in a typical middle class Jewish household. He was small in stature so learned from an early age that his humor could ward off the bullies.  He was class clown and a troublemaker, but he also excelled at soccer. He went to college on a soccer scholarship and there experienced prejudice for the first time.  His soccer dreams did not pan out so after graduation he worked a series of uninspiring jobs until he decided to move to New York City to pursue his dream of being a stand-up comic. He always knew he was a witty smart-ass so why not do it for a living?  He paid his dues  on comedy stages for seven years until MTV came knocking. "The Jon Stewart Show" debuted in 1993 but when the show was canceled, he moved to LA where he acted in films until he landed "The Daily Show" in 1999. Author Rogak sheds light on Stewart's personal life, what goes on behind the scenes at "The Daily Show," and how Stewart has become a major liberal player in the U.S.
 
Rosy the Reviewer says...if you are a Jon Stewart fan, you will love this.
 
 

Thanks for Reading!
 
 

See you Tuesday

for

            "Fitbit on My Shoulder"



 
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4 comments :

  1. Hysterical Rosie! I sent it to my husband and could hear him laughing all the way down the hall. :-)

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    1. Thanks, Tamara. I hope it wasn't all the way down the hall as he was heading for a colonoscopy! :) Rosy

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  2. I'm sure you saw the Apu trilogy in the film history class at K (unless you didn't take the class). I sure did, probably twice, which has lasted for me.

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    1. Ii did take a film history class at "K" but the only film I remember seeing was John Korty's "Crazy Quilt." I saw "Night and Fog" and "Un Chien Andelou" at "K" but I think those were college showings, not class. I don't remember the Apu films but now have them under my belt from my 1001 Movies Project.

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