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The source of wellbeing and happiness is not what life deals you, but how you handle what life deals you." Elena Castedo.

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The Inevitable: Death, Taxes and a Colonoscopy

I'm sure having a colonoscopy is a topic that you are eager to hear about, so I'll share my experience. (Sorry, I'm not providing an image).

I successfully put off having a colonoscopy until I was 64. After I had one I swore, NEVER AGAIN. What could be worse than the prep, the nausea, the regret for starting it all that lasts for an interminable two days?
Nearing ten years later, my doctor's office kept after me to make an appointment with the proctologist for another one, which I ignored. When pressed I said I'm "about to go out of town, will call you when I get back." After several yeas they caught on and made an appointment for a 45 minutes consultation. I showed up and told the receptionist, "Too bad the doctor wants to waste his time and mine, since I am not going to have a colonoscopy." When I came out of the meeting I told the receptionist, "I need to make an appointment for a colonoscopy." She was discreet as she laughed. The doctor convinced me that the risk of death by colon cancer was higher than the risk of death by the quart of magnesium, the gallon of the vile Colyte and the 2 laxative pills, plus the possibility of a rupture during the procedure.

This time I did my research and was prepared. (Of course, every doctor has a different set of instructions).
Before starting I placed next to the toilet:
The vile gallon of Colyte.
My cellphone to use the timer.
A bendable straw.
Half of a fresh lemon.
A pillow on top of the tank to rest my head if exhausted.
A small blanket to put over my legs. (a gallon of chilled liquid can make you very cold).
A heating pad to put over my abused innards, which I found soothing.
A box of alcohol-free baby wipes (MUST be alcohol free, believe me, your asshole will thank you).
My laptop and cellphone. (making sure it's not recording a video).
Some reading material.

I drank each glass of the vile Colyte through the straw with the bent part over my tongue, so the liquid went down bypassing a good portion of my tongue.
At the same time, while I drank, I held the half lemon under my nose and kept telling my brain I was drinking lemonade. What do you know, it bought it! No nausea, no discomfort!
(I've always had serious doubts about my brain's intelligence, but sometimes its gullibility comes handy).
After finishing each glass I set the timer for 15 minutes and read or wrote until it rang for the next glass.
It took 3 1/2 hours to drink the gallon. My guts kept going down the toilet like water, literally. However, I didn't have to rush to the toilet, I was on it, warm and cozy, and engaged, which made the time go faster.

After I had spilled out everything possible I returned all my aids to their proper places and went down to the kitchen to fix dinner for my husband. I worked on house chores until my normal bedtime, and took the 2 laxative pills with plenty of water, as instructed.
Piece of cake.

Alas, this doesn't have a happy ending. During my previous colonoscopy I had requested minimum anesthesia and I was fine after it was over. Unfortunately, for this procedure I forgot to request the same, and the anesthesiologist must have pumped enough anesthesia for an 180 pounder and I weighed 110 lbs. I got very sick after it was over, vomiting for several hours in the hospital's post-operative room. The nurses refused to give me anything to stop throwing up. Finally, disregarding their advice, I went home armed with a barf tray. At home I chewed some ginger candy with crushed ice and the vomiting stopped.

Advice: before you have a colonoscopy remember to request the amount of anesthesia you want.

The cheerful thought is that we are lucky to have only one colon.


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Article published in Chile's main internet newspaper, on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the rescue of 2,200 refugees of the Spanish Civil War given asylum in Chile in 1939. A testimony from one of the survivors.

In Spanish


To read article press link "80 YEARS OF GRATITUDE" at the bottom of the left colum. 



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Jamestown was taught to generations of school children in the US in a manner that many got the impression that it was the first European colony in what is now the United States. Perhaps at some point enlightened teachers mentioned that Saint Augustine in Florida was actually older, but it was hardly given much coverage. The impression that the first European language spoken in the US was English lingered. This has been used as an argument at times in US history to enforce policies that caused great distress in some population groups, a subject to discuss some other time. The historical fact is that the first European colony in the US was Spanish, and it was not Saint Augustine. The first European language spoken in the United States was Spanish.

Nearly a century before Jamestown, the Spanish lawyer and judge Lucas Vazquez Ayllón went up and down the Atlantic coast of what is now the US looking for a suitable place for a colony. Later, he and a group of Spaniards explored the area where, 82 years later, Jamestown was to exist, but did not start a colony there. Instead, in 1526, he and 600 Spaniards chose a site near present day Georgetown, South Carolina, to establish San Miguel de Gualdape. Some documents call it San Miguel de Guadalupe. This sizable colony was established 81 years before Jamestown, which had 104 colonists, and almost half a century before the failed attempt at Roanoke.

Just as it would happen much later at Jamestown, the Spanish settlers of San Miguel de Guadalpe endured much suffering. More died than survived the first winter, due to hunger, disease, infighting, Indian attacks and other disasters. Vazquez Ayllón himself fell ill and died. Just as the English survivors of Jamestown did much later, the surviving Spaniards of San Miguel de Gualdape abandoned the colony.

Another historical event amply taught in the US for generations has been that of the Pilgrims landing at Plymouth. Again, many students got the impression that it was the first European settlement that has survived till today. The first settlement in the US that has survived till today is Saint Augustine that was settled by Spaniards more than half a century before Plymouth, in 1565.

Who knows when schools in the US will teach that San Miguel de Gualdape was the first European settlement in the US, and that those colonists spoke Spanish, not English.


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© 2008 - 2018 by Elena Castedo.
All rights reserved. No part of these blogs may be reproduced in any form, by photostat, microfilm, xerography, or any other means, or incorporated into any information retrieval system, electronic or mechanical, without permission of the copyright owner.
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This is Key West

Our ancient water heater in Key West, Florida, leaked out a stream. My friends Alberto and Lorenzo, plumbers, put a new one I ordered from Amazon, but don’t have a truck to take away the old one. I called the City to ask what to do with it. The official said they’d pick it up the next day, Wow! It didn’t happen. I called again. "Next Tuesday," the official said. It didn't happen. I called again. "I’m having a party, and that rusted old water heater in front of my house is not the most beautiful decoration to greet guests!" “When is your party?” In two days. "OK." In less than fifteen minutes a City truck came and hauled away the water heater. This is Key West. Parties are important.

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The staff of Donald Trump is in the final stages of drawing some of the sweeping changes he will put into effect as soon as he becomes President. (Other changes pertaining to walls, a special police force for religion, race, citizenship and nationality, etc. will be done next). Apple pie will be replaced by  Read More 
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Water has both God and the Devil in it. It's essential to life, but too often it's destructive and unmanageable.
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Old Age is Like...

- At my old age I’m like an orgasm; looks awful but feels great.
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On Being Manipulative

- When babies are being manipulative it’s a sign of intelligence. When adults are manipulative it’s a sign of stupidity, because it indicates that they are not capable of getting what they want solely by their own intelligence and capable work.
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