Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Annals of Medicine

Today, I will tell you in list form about my latest embarrassing health problem.  I'm not forcing you to read it.  I mean, there's other stuff to look at here (babies!) if you don't want to look at this.
  • To be frank, I started noticing a problem with my poop about a month ago.  Here's the issue: it's skinny.  When confessing this dilemma to two friends, they both immediately asked, "How skinny?"  My answer: Crayola marker or skinnier. "Is it a weird color?" one friend asked.  No. Don't be gross.
  • Naturally, I spent hours googling "skinny poop."  Turns out this is a common search query. All of the major medical websites have the same thing to say about slender anal emissions: Cancer. Misery. Imminent Death.  Or, only slightly more appealing, a colostomy bag.
  • I kept my diagnosis in the back of my mind along with fears of fiery car wreck and falls from multi-story heights.  The cancer was probably already at Stage IV, but...
  • I didn't call the doctor right away because I thought maybe it would magically resolve with Miralax.  Miralax reduced the amount of straining required to pass the skinny poop, but it didn't make it fatter.
  • When I did call the clinic - bringing myself one step closer to the devastating news - it turned out my doctor wasn't available for several weeks.  "But," said the receptionist, "I think I'm going to transfer you to the nurse."  Skinny poop, it turned out, had triggered an A1 alarm.
  • The nurse asked some questions about the stool and about my butt, which I answered truthfully and with endearing humor.  Finally, because my symptoms sound like cancer, she said, "You need to be seen sooner.  Do you prefer a female doctor?"  "I don't really care," I said.  She assigned me an appointment for the next morning at 8 with an "awesome" physician's assistant named Richard.  "So what you're saying," I confirmed, "is that you would show Richard your butt?"  She burst out laughing.  "He's really great," she assured me.
  • Bright and early yesterday, I texted my sister Mary from the waiting room at the clinic.  "I have skinny poop," I told her.  "What?!" she responded.  "Is that a typo?!"
  • The medical assistant had sort of the same reaction.  "Excuse me?" she said.  "My poop," I clarified, holding up my thumb and forefinger about a half inch apart, "is skinny."  We looked at each other for a beat, and then we guffawed.  "I'm happy to help you start your day with a laugh," I said, weakly.  "Yeah," she said, wiping her brow, "thank you for that."  "But you are a medical professional," I reminded her.  "I know," she giggled.  "I'm laughing with you, not at you."  She told me that Richard the PA was being assisted by a student who would be right in.
  • The student, a young man of about 27,  appeared to be straight from the set of The Bachelor. Handsome, smiley, and sensitive.  "I'd like to help you make your poop fatter," he said, winningly. Oh, Jesus.
  • Of course I required a close examination by Richard and his student.  Since they're both men and I'm a woman, they invited another student to also watch.  "Is that okay?" Richard asked. "We need a woman in here anyway." "I'm a teacher," I said, "and I've had two babies.  So, yes, you can all see my butt."  Ha ha HA.
  • "Have you had an anoscopy before?" Richard asked.  "No," I said, "but it sounds great!"  
  • I'll skip the details here except to tell you that the procedure involved a tube and a speculum. And then all three medical professionals peering into my butt.  Here are some key quotations from this segment of the appointment:  "See that? Yep! Turn counter clockwise."  "Oh! Purple!" and "Look how bulbous!"  That last one was the real highlight of the anoscopy for me.
  • Finally, the good news: I'm not dying right this second.  The bad news, I think you may have guessed.  It's internal hemorrhoids.  Bulbous ones.  Just what I needed.  
I can't promise I won't update you on the effectiveness of the steroid suppositories, but I do promise to warn you before you start reading. It's your choice to be here.


Jenny said...

Awesome retelling, KC! You are an inspiration to the rest of us who decline to ask doctors about embarrassing medical situations.

KC said...

Thank you for your support, Jenny! And thank you for reading about my butt.

jhw said...

Hall of fame post!

LH said...

I agree with jhw. Well DONE!

Cyndy Tholen Ingham said...

THIS is the post that has finally gotten me to subscribe to your amazing blog (which I've loved for years).


Thank you, KC.


KC said...

Thank you, friends!! More poop in coming posts and newsletters! I promise!