1. Schedule a CT scan to attempt to solve the mystery of your abdominal pain.
2. Wonder what contrast is.
3. Go get two bottles of contrast from the lab. Read the label. "Berry Smoothie Readi-Cat 2, Barium Sulfate Suspension." Look dubiously at the nice picture of berries on the label. Wonder if they will help.
4. Also wonder fleetingly if you should change your physical therapy appointment to another time, or if it will be fine going straight from an abdominal CT w/contrast to physical therapy.
5. Drink a lot of radioactive fluid in two hours. At least feel like it's radioactive.
6. Decide the picture of berries on the label does not help at all. Not even remotely.
7. Start to hate berries. All berries. For all time.
8. Pray for death so that you can stop drinking berry barium.
9. Bring your smoothie with you to your CT scan as instructed, and hope against hope that the receptionist tells you to throw the rest out. When she doesn't, picture yourself pouring it over her unsympathetic head.
10. Walk meekly to the waiting room clutching your half-finished bottle of nastiness, and try as hard as you can to drink the rest of it without projectile vomiting all over the nice family across the way.
11. Manage all but four swallows. Take the remainder into the lab with you and feel tears of relief spring unbidden to your eyes when the radiologist shrugs and tells you it's okay that you weren't able to finish it.
12. Feel your intestines cramp and gurgle throughout the CT scan.
13. Ask the radiologist if she thinks it will be okay for you to go to physical therapy after this, or if it would be better for you to postpone your appointment, onaccounta, ya know... berry barium.
14. Naively, innocently, ignorantly believe her when she says it's fine and there shouldn't be any problem.
15. Go to physical therapy. Think about using the restroom when you first arrive, but decide you'll be fine and you can hold it.
16. Head to the bosu ball and try to balance on it and do rows.
17. Realize too late that in order to balance on the bosu ball, you have to use all your core muscles. Yes, that's right. The ones surrounding your belly full of berry barium.
18. Really try really super hard to ignore your heinously cramping abdomen.
19. Watch your physical therapist look at you quizzically with a tiny furrow to his brow as you wimp out on one exercise after another in record time.
20. Admit to yourself that you might lose the battle against the barium, and break out into a cold sweat that drips in rivulets down the sides of your face.
21. Without really knowing why, step suddenly off the bosu ball and hunch over.
22. Figure out why.
23. Mumble something about needing to go to the bathroom.
24. Make haste.
25. Arrive desperately at the great white throne and seat yourself quickly upon it.
26. Shock yourself, and everyone else in the entire building, by making an explosive sound you have never, ever made before in your entire life.
27. Marvel at the prolonged echo of said explosion around the walls and tile floors of the small room that surely cannot hope to contain all of the sound you just produced.
28. Die of mortification.
29. For several moments, try to expel barium from your darium slowly and quietly.
30. Pray. "Dear God, make me a bird, so I can fly far, far away from here. Dear God, make me a bird, so I can fly far, far away from here. Dear God, make me a bird, so I can fly far, far away from here."
31. Despite your best efforts, detonate another bomb in the women's bathroom. A louder one. That sounds like a sonic boom.
32. In desperation, disconnect from your circumstances and go to that dispassionate place in your mind where you can tell yourself things like, "I'm sure no one heard that," and actually believe it's true.
33. Change the name from berry barium to barreling barium. Cuz it's barreling right through you.
34. Realize you have probably been in the bathroom for a good ten minutes and surmise that the length of your stay might alert your physical therapist to the severity of your situation onaccounta he probably hasn't figured it out yet.
35. Command your intestinal system to shut down, shakily wash your hands, and return to the gym floor.
36. Catch your physical therapist ducking his head and trying for all the world to replace an amused grin with a look of professional sympathy.
37. Catch. no. one. else. in. the. building. making. eye. contact. with. you.
38. Decide it's because they didn't hear anything.
39. Thank your lucky stars, the Lord God Almighty, and all the saints and angels that your physical therapist just moves right on to the next exercise whilst pretending you never even needed a bathroom break.
40. Make it through the rest of your exercises without too much difficulty. Except for the part where you have to sit down to avoid passing out, and your physical therapist has to bring you a drink of water, and then he has to stand there awkwardly while you drink it, and you have to look all around the room at anything and everything antithetical to eye contact.
41. At the end of your session, without saying goodbye to anyone, exit the building at lightning speed so as to remove yourself as quickly as possible from the scene of your most embarrassing moment since the fourth grade.
42. Tell your mom, who was sitting in the waiting area the whole time, all about it as soon as you get into her car.
43. Wait for her to stop laughing.
44. Fast forward one week to the part where the GI specialist tells you that you need to have a colonoscopy.
45. Start praying about being a bird again.
46. Listen very, very intently as the medical assistant explains that you will want to stay home and have no appointments beginning 24 hours before your scheduled procedure. Onaccounta... ya know... the laxative.
47. Nod, wide-eyed and all-knowing, as visions of bathroom explosions dance in your head.
48. Drive purposefully home from your appointment, walk through your front door, and immediately call the physical therapy office. Request that they change your Thursday appointment, set to occur 18 hours after you start colonoscopy prep, to Wednesday morning, at a time when you are fairly certain you will be in control of your bowels.
49. Feel smart.
50. Also feel partially vindicated. And armed with new wisdom about stuff you have to drink before procedures. And confident that this time, you will be able to clear out your bowels as God intended. In the privacy of your own home. Without forcing extreme awkwardness upon your physical therapist, his staff, and everyone else in the building.