Posted in Encouragement, Growing Older, Humor

Neal’s Nifty Notes from his … Cheeky Colonoscopy

I’ll turn &$#@! on January 10. Well, Tuesday morning, I had an early birthday gift—a colonoscopy!

Hours earlier that morn, at 3 a.m. to be exact, as I was groggily downing my second serving of Suprep Bowel Prep (more about THAT later) …

… I had a lightheaded “I-can’t-remember-the-LAST-TIME-I-ATE!” epiphany that my blog followers would probably want to hear all about my upcoming procedure! (Was I right, or what?) Thus, in order to be faithful to my thousands, hundreds, dozens, single digits of followers, I would need to remember to take DETAILED mental notes about my experience. I’m a retired English professor, after all.

Butt hold on, let’s start at the very beginning, just like that “Do-Re-Mi” song from The Sound of Music.

Because of a couple of slightly concerning issues back in December, Dr. Ken Griffin, my primary care physician here in Savannah (the very best in the Western Hemisphere, btw) suggested that I go ahead and get a colonoscopy instead of waiting the full ten years for my next scheduled one in 2023. TMI already?

Butt first, I was referred to local general surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Mandel for a quick look-see (DO NOT THINK ABOUT THAT TOO MUCH), who thankfully decided I wasn’t ready for “non-surgical rubber band ligation.” What?! Rubber bands? And why get lawyers involved?!

The next step found me making an appointment with gracious gastroenterologist Dr. Mark Murphy, at The Center for Digestive and Liver Health and The Endoscopy Center (whew, that’s a mouthful), who would end up performing? administering? doing my colonoscopy.

If you’ve had a colonoscopy, you know that the preparation is tougher than the procedure. And that Suprep Oral Solution I mentioned earlier? When I walked into CVS to pick it up, I nearly went into a panic attack (you may know about my issues with anxiety from my “Hello Anxiety” posts) at the price …

Butt what calmed me down was realizing it wasn’t just any old bottle of bowel prep you might find at The Dollar Tree. No, $100 dollars bought me an entire kit! With TWO bottles of bowel prep, a reusable non-BPA (thank goodness) plastic cup, and nonfiction reading material!

Husband Robert just interrupted my inspired blogging to complain, “Neal, don’t you think it’s about time to move on from writing about the bowel prep? It’s starting to bum me out.”

Well, okay, here’s the final thing I’ll say, show about my experience with Suprep Bowel Sodium/Potassium/Magnesium (Isn’t that $1.29 Gatorade?) Sulfate Oral Solution …

After a LONG night, Robert and I showed up at the Endoscopy Center at 9 a.m. You have to have a driver for these procedures, you know, you can’t just hightail it to a colonoscopy date all by yourself, for goodness sake. Having a driver made me feel sort of special, inexplicably, not to mention inappropriately, reminding me of Morgan Freeman and Jessica Tandy in Driving Miss Daisy.

All kidding aside (for a moment, at least) ALL the folks at the Center were terrific—friendly, welcoming, professional and so adept at calming me down and assuring me that all would be well, that I was being taken care of. I wish I could remember everyone’s names to thank them individually.

Super amicable and soothing Nurse Molly showed me to my little smartly curtained waiting/prep cubicle, and when I was all snug in my little bed (kinda like Goldilocks), Molly brought me a heated blanket! I made a mental note to tell Robert ALL about THAT.

Then the hippest anesthesiologist in the history of anesthesiologists, Dr. Gantt, paid me a visit to let me know about the upcoming sedation. I couldn’t pay much attention because I kept looking at what made Dr. Gantt so very hip: his choice of headwear. His scrub cap (is that what you call it?) was all colorful/islandy. Dr Gantt told me he gets his caps from a company in Key West! The design looked something like this …

… but don’t hold me to it. I was about to have a colonoscopy. Do you expect me to remember everything perfectly?

After the hip anesthesiologist left my cubicle, I slowly settled back into my cocoon, gazed up and began to behold the most beautiful blue sky, replete with white fluffy clouds. Mesmerized at the heavenly scene miraculously forming above me, I suddenly felt nirvana-ish, at peace with the world, confident that my procedure was well under way, and the hip doctor’s sedation a splendid success! All I had to do was float, inhaling joy and health into my body, exhaling love and peace out into the world. Ohm.

But then Molly came back into my little cubicle, which I had dubbed Neal’s Nap Pad, and told me it was time to wheel away to my procedure (!). What? I had been staring up at the common area ceiling, painted a soothing light blue with white clouds to calm nervous patients like me.

Nurse Molly said the sweetest thing to me as I left her: “I wish all our patients were just like you.” And I wish all nurses were just like Molly.

Wheeled into the procedure room, I was greeted by two delightful young ladies, but I can’t remember their names, darn it, an anesthesia nurse and a doctor-helper nurse (see how intelligent I am with medical lingo). The anesthesia nurse told me I was about to take a great little nap! And get this, the doctor-helper nurse saw from my armband (more about that later) that my birthday was coming up and asked how I planned to celebrate. I told her that Robert and I were keeping it low key, just going out to eat. [Interestingly, everybody seemed to know all about Robert, which I thought was just so 2022, forgetting that they knew about him because he’s my “designated driver.” Wait, am I getting this Center for Digestive and Liver Health experience confused with one a while back at Savannah Tap House?]

My new friend, the doctor-helper nurse, then went on to explain that her family had recently had a celebration by going out to eat as well.

“We went to Toni’s Steakhouse.”

“Oh. My. Goodness!” I think I yell/gasped, probably worrying the anesthesia nurse a little. “That’s where we are going! I’ve never been!”

She then aptly suggested that Robert and I share the delicious steak for two deal, which comes with four sides! I assured her that we will. And we will! I’ll post a picture next Monday. Now you have something special to look forward to.

Well, as much as I wanted to know what sides to choose from, things made a swift turn when Dr. Murphy stood up from where he had been doing who knows what at a computer near my feet. He told his helper nurse that he liked Toni’s too. The room started to feel like a Norman Rockwell family painting.

Dr. Murphy was terrific, saying that he knew my nurse daughter Amy (I need to come up with a better way to name nurses), sharing a funny little anecdote about a traffic stop, explaining to me all about the colonoscopy and assuring me that I would be fine.

Then I was out like a light.

Butt I think I recall snippets of the convo between the doctor and the two nurses as they worked on me.

Anesthesia Nurse: “Isn’t he famous? I think he’s famous.”

Dr. Murphy: “I think you’re right. I just can’t place him.”

Doctor-Helper Nurse: “I really should have told him the sides.”

Dr. Murphy: “I think he’s an actor. You know, they love Savannah.”

Anesthesia Nurse: “Hmm, I don’t think so. I think he’s a fitness model.”

Doctor-Helper Nurse: “Did you read his armband? He’ll be &@%! next Monday on his birthday! Who would have thought?! He doesn’t look a day over 39!”

The next thing I knew, nice Nurse Cassie was welcoming me back to Planet Earth and giving me some ginger ale! We hit it off, both having vacationed in the Poconos. Cassie soon walked me out to my designated driver (I felt just a tad like leaving the Taphouse). And I said to Cassie, according to Robert: “Everybody was so nice, if I didn’t have to have a colonoscopy, I’d like to come and hang out with y’all.”

And look, you get gifts. A neat holder pouch for your glasses.

This beautifully simple bracelet. Here I have it paired with another bracelet gift from Robert.

And, believe it or not, luggage!

Thanks so much to the talented, good natured, and kindhearted professionals at The Center for Digestive and Liver Health! The best!

Dr Murphy and sensational staff really did give me a most appreciated early birthday gift: a clean bill of colon health with no polyps. Again, TMI?

Posted in Encouragement


Last evening, Robert and I headed over to Big Bon Pizza in the hip Starland District of Savannah. (Being so hip myself, I like going to hip locations. As long as my right hip cooperates.) After voraciously enjoying their WONDERFUL hot-outta-the-brick-oven pizza …

… the Universe spoke to me as I waddled past Big Bon Bodega/Big Bon Pizza’s sandwich board:

An enlightening message I most definitely need to heed much more often!

(Even with the comma issue. 😩 Retired English professor.)

Here’s my mental activity as I continued waddling to the car:

Now isn’t that better?

Wait a second! Halt the waddling! Did I really just proofread and edit THE UNIVERSE?!

Posted in Encouragement, Uncategorized

Hi and Hello & A Joyful Sunday Night!

Hello. Neal Saye here. Long time, no see. I’m not sure if anyone is still out there, but I have decided to blog a bit more.

It’s getting late on a Sunday evening (and the Braves are losing at the moment), so here is the gist of what’s on my heart tonight: what we say to ourselves on an ongoing basis is very important.

Yesterday morning, Robert and I did our more-often-than-not Saturday morning foray over to Big Bon Bodega (incredible bagel breakfast sandwiches) here in Savannah.

Boldly greeting us at the entry was Truthful Instruction:

A loving goodnight to you all! “See” you soon.


Posted in Encouragement

A Label-Free World (for 2018)

Hello out there.  I did this blog post quite a while ago, but thought in today’s adversarial political and cultural environment, it might be relevant.  We (okay, I!) judge others much too quickly.

Let’s try, in this new year with relatively few mistakes in it so far, to give each other the benefit of the doubt, to refuse to label somebody or some thing based on initial interactions or our preconceived notions.


What an incredible truth!  (And, oh gosh, how it indicts me.)


I LOVE this short video about labeling:



2018: A Label-Free Year (at least for you and me).

Posted in Encouragement

Top Ten Happiness Questions


This past fall term at SCAD (the Savannah College of Art and Design), where I teach composition to international students, my course topic was happiness studies.

Each week, I introduced a new question, which I told the students had the potential to make them happier–IF they took the time to ask and then answer the question.

Here are the ten questions.  I challenge you to ask them to yourself whenever you need a dose of joy.

Dr. Saye’s Top Ten Happiness Questions

1.  Just how important is it?

2.  Do I realize that I can choose to think a thought that feels better?

3.  Why do I sometimes try to control other people? That’s really not my job.

4.  What do I see RIGHT NOW that is beautiful?

5.  Who has helped me recently?

6.  What is a good holiday memory?

7.  What do I really, really love?

8.  Do I realize that I can take three deep breaths right now and center myself? My breath is my life.

9.  Who can I be a blessing to in the next hour or so? How can I do that? 

10.  Am I paying attention to NOW (and not wasting time regretting the past or worrying about the future)?


I encourage you to print these questions out, put them up some place where you can easily see them, and start asking.

Posted in Encouragement, Holiday Joy

Have You Counted Your Holiday Blessings? (Part One)


Have you done so this holiday?  Blessings come in SO many forms and dressings.  I urge you to take a sheet of paper and number your joys.  Here is a sampling of mine:

1.  I had to miss my seven year-old grandson Daniel’s first piano recital earlier this week.  (I was SO frustrated.)  Tonight at my family’s early Christmas dinner, I walked in the door and daughter Amy had arranged for Daniel to dress back up in his Calvin Klein suit and play Jingle Bells (as he did at the recital).  It melted my heart.



(Okay, I’m not sure about the sunglasses either.)




(Absolute grandfather joy.)

Here’s Daniel at the actual recital:


2.  The ability to smell Christmas.

3.  Enjoying the power of silly.


4.  Hosting a Holiday and Hot Toddy Chili Party Saturday night.


What fun!


Good buddies Ellie, Jamie and Brennan.


I read “A Cup of Christmas Tea” to the twenty-something guests–and asked them to think about a person important in their upbringing to toast at the end of the story.  I urge you to do the same.  Who encouraged you along your way?


“Let’s raise a cup of Christmas cheer, to family and loved ones far and near.”

So take a few moments, and with Bing, count your blessings:


5.  Tree shadows on a wall during a walk the other night.


What are a few of your Holiday Blessings?  Come on, share a few.

Posted in Encouragement

A Few Things

A Few Things I’m Thankful For this warm Tuesday evening in Savannah:

**  Learning to make Watermelon Gazpacho soup.  So good!


It took me FOREVER to dice the watermelon, cucumber, bell pepper, shallots, etc, but SO WORTH IT.  Yum.

I may just become a Food Network star.

**  Cannons


**  Peel and eat shrimp


** Cool backgrounds for pictures


(Inside Fort Sumter in Charleston yesterday.)


**  Spoiling the grandtwins with chocolate cupcakes.


**  Selfies with my parents (90 and 87) and brother Danny.


** Figs


** Root Vegetable Roasts!


** Speaking of vegetables, Vegetable-laden Bloody Mary’s


So healthy!

** Being able to bend my body

** Fifty Shades


** Clouds


Happiest of Nights to you all!


Posted in Encouragement, Savannah Joy

Y Happiness. Y Happiness? Ask Richard the Joyful-Hearted

Several years ago, after my underground (!) gym (really, it was underneath Broughton Street) closed in the historic district of Savannah where I live, I joined the nearby Habersham YMCA.  I had never belonged to a YMCA before–but I had danced to the song.



From the very first day I have been SO impressed with the folks who work at the Habersham Y.   They are without exception welcoming, encouraging and fun to see each time I waddle in.


ALWAYS smiling, the MOST encouraging, MOST positive, FRIENDLIEST Habersham employee has to be RICHARD JOHNSON.


I’ve never seen Richard without a smile on his face and a cheerful word to share.  He most definitely meets the criteria of a Balcony Person (Balcony Post Link One, Link Two).  Balcony people are those folks you come in contact with who encourage you, bless you, inspire you, give of themselves in some way.  They climb the steps up into your balcony, so to speak, lean over the railing and yell, “You’re doing fine!  Keep going!  You look great!  You’re almost there!”

So it is with Richard.  As he wheels through the busy gym, his voice can be heard above the whir of elliptical machines and the clang of free weights, greeting every person he sees:  “Hey, Neal”  “How you doing, Carl?”  “Come on now, Janice, you can do more than that!”  “Alright now!”  Richard is the very definition of a Balcony Person.  He infuses the Habersham YMCA with encouragement and joy.




I asked Richard a few questions about himself and his views about happiness.


Thanks to Richard and folks like him who help make ho-hum days into Occasions of Happiness.