An End of Year 2021 Adventure


Early in November my cell phone danced.  A young voice informed me that I was scheduled for a procedure at St Boniface Hospital at 9:30 am on December 30th.

“What procedure?”

“Your doctor has requested a colonoscopy.”

“That was three years ago.  I hoped it had been forgotten.”

A young laugh accompanied the “no”.

A week later, receiving the letter from Dr. Botkin with specific instructions, reluctantly, I called to confirm the appointment.  Anticipation for Christmas swept it from mind until ten days before Christmas a momentary eclipse, a letter from the hospital with a form to be filled out, to be returned post haste.

This efficiently accomplished, I re-focussing on Advent and Christmas. Still in the aura of Christmas and reading about the encroaching Omicron COVID variant on Monday, December 27th,  I called the hospital.  Prayers to St John!

Perhaps a cancellation.  But no!  And so, midnight Wednesday, the 29th, began the liquid day of preparation for the impending invasion.  Chicken broth and Gaterade were the prelude to the pièce de résistance binge, the washing down of two Dulcolax tablets with sixteen cups of cold Colyte preparation beginning at 6 p.m. and concluding no later than 10 p.m.  Yes, 4 litres! Yes, ugh!  And yes, the inevitable results!

Yet remarkably, kindness is what characterized Thursday, December 30th.  At 8:00 a.m. Con  courageously navigated the traffic in a hazy world and icy pavement, peering through half fogged windows, down Portage Avenue across the Provencher Bridge up Tache to deposit me at the south entrance of St Boniface hospital.

Inside, a young women greeted me warmly, providing me a fresh new mask, with specific instructions to Admittance.  Fogged glasses meant losing my way on the first floor; a gracious workman finally guided me to the admitting desk.  The clerk’s  smiles and irrepressible good cheer took me through with my appropriate wrist bands to my Stryker stretcher.

There nurse Anita took charge of me in her busy ward.  She, amidst beds flowing in and out and nurses tending to others, was unflappably gracious and kind.  A brief wait in the hall, my turn came quickly. Two doctors and a nurse are unfailingly attentive and kind, although perhaps my joking about the doctor’s name sounding like an Elizabethan weapon, “bodkin”, which he then described–  “a small sharp dagger”–  may have speeded up the anaesthetist plunging needle.

That was kind too. The rest was silence.

Some time later, Nurse Anita roused me from a peace filled sleep, placing my clothes bundle on the chair.  After telephoning Paul, Nurse Anita cheerfully accompanied wonky me to the main entrance of the hospital handing me over to him to drive me home.

Reclining in my home bedroom chair still in a slight stupor, my thoughts were in amazement at all the kind people who accompanied me in this peculiar adventure!   What kindness!  And the information Anita shared with me before dismissing me was kind too.  No polyps.  Everything normal.  Yes, lots of kindness.  Good thoughts at the end of the year!


Frank Obrigewitsch, SJ, is pastor of St. Ignatius parish in Winnipeg.

  • Henry Mandamin
    Posted at 01:31h, 31 January Reply

    I went through the same experience around the same time ( no polyps )

  • Susan Garbett-Snidal
    Posted at 03:08h, 31 January Reply

    Hello Father,

    Small world! I had the same procedure on the same day! My takeaway was also identical to yours! Such kind souls in such a busy place and such tender and cheerful care, all making a
    “not much fun event” really an amiable and copacetic occurrence.

    Thank you for reminding me that even occasions, that might seem to be without much joy, can offer the felicity and contentedness, that comes from the kindness of strangers! God’s grace abounds where one may be surprised. As always!

    Blessings for 2022 ❤️

  • Paul Baker
    Posted at 06:31h, 31 January Reply

    Frank, an interesting and humorous read. Been there done that. My experience and memories of kindness are similar to yours. Thanks.

  • Karen Arthurs
    Posted at 08:58h, 31 January Reply

    Thanks for sharing your personal story of this humbling experience that many of us undergo, made lighter by the kindness and understanding of those in the circle of care.

  • Ann Ascoli
    Posted at 09:01h, 31 January Reply

    I have had that procedure quite a few times but without any drugs. Too bad you missed watching just how beautiful we are inside. I saw the long corridors of pink satin and marvelled at God’s creation. If there is a next time, ask to see the screen. You won’t be sorry. God bless you

    • R Frank Obrigewitsch
      Posted at 10:32h, 01 February Reply

      This was not my first either. In a previous experience I viewed the screen. But once was enough, Ann

  • Peter Bisson
    Posted at 11:08h, 31 January Reply

    Thank you Frank!

  • Dennis Galon
    Posted at 11:48h, 31 January Reply

    Oh Frank, beautifully described adventure; but, why oh why, did you have to remind me I am due!

    – Dennis Galon

  • Rose Marie Geiss
    Posted at 17:23h, 31 January Reply

    I understand what you went through,been there done that. It is great you had such a good hospital experience and kind people dear brother and no polyps.❤️

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