A Day of Prep

Tomorrow, I’m going in for a colonoscopy.

I had my first one five years ago. They found polyps that weren’t cancerous, but slightly worrisome. Instead of having me come back in ten years, they wanted me to come back in five. AFAIK, no one in my family has ever had cancer. Then again, most of my grandparents died young due to smoking and alcohol related diseases.

So today, I get a little bit of food for breakfast, then I can’t have anything solid for 24+ hours. Just clear liquids.

Oh, as well as laxatives and three quarts of Colyte, guaranteed to clean out my entire system.

This procedure is not necessarily pleasant. However, I’ll do it, in part, in memory of Jay Lake, who died of colon cancer.

For those of you who don’t know, Jay Lake was a writer. I met Jay down in Texas, before he moved to Portland. We were in the same writing group way back in the day, the Slugtribe, in Austin.

I don’t want to say that I was that close to Jay – not besties by a long shot. More like a close acquaintance. But I read his fiction, and I read his blog. I went to his birthday parties, and I hung out with him at cons.

I have a couple of very special, fond memories of Jay, mainly down at Orycon, the big SF&F convention that happens every year in Portland.

Jay led walks in the mornings at the cons he went to, in an effort to stay healthy as well as to promote health among other writers as well. I got to go on one of these with him. It ended up just being the two of us. He told me of this story that he wanted to write but never would, of there being a witch’s heart buried at the base of every bridge in Portland. He gave me his blessing to write it myself, which turned into the “Witch’s Heart” series (second book to come out soon!)

It turned out that for his day job, he used Salesforce. I was working there at the time, and was able to give him a direct line to the product manager, so he could make feature requests to her.

I will always remember that walk with Jay, the clear fall morning, the beautiful colors, going across the Hawthorne Bridge to stroll along the river for a while, the stories we told each other.

The year before Jay died, I went to Orycon specifically to hang out with him, as I knew that it might be the last time I got to see him. I got to have breakfast with him. It surprised me that it was just the pair of us alone, but I wasn’t about to bitch. We talked about writing and career and craft. He was happy that the indie publishing was working well for me. It broke my heart that he couldn’t write anymore. That was all Jay had ever wanted to do.

So today, I will endure the unpleasantness of all the prep for the colonoscopy tomorrow. And I will do so while remembering Jay. I know that he would be happy that this is part of his legacy, that the writers he knew will take better care of their health because of him. He’d also make some obscene joke or pun about them shitting themselves. That was also so much a part of Jay.

If you are fifty years of age or older, have you scheduled a colonoscopy? You should if you can afford it. (I understand that not everyone has health insurance or the money to do this sort of maintenance work. I know that I’m very rich in comparison because I can.)

Hope your Sunday is more comfortable than mine is going to be.

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