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Pain in the Ass

I had debated writing this post or not, primarily because it’s an embarrassing and gross topic, but I’ve gotten a lot of questions about it, and my everyday friends already know, so there’s no point in hiding it. Besides, I was introduced to a brand new level of humility in the hospital… but I’ll get to that. I’m writing about my surgery. If you don’t want to know, just skip it. 😉
In high school, all of the football players were required to take weight lifting as a class. This was fine with me, because I wanted to build some muscle and once football season was over, I could cut this class and leave school early. (I was a senior, so they didn’t care if I wasn’t bulking up for next year.) The downside to lifting weights was that there wasn’t a lot of supervision, so our techniques were sloppy, and this led to something that plagues many power lifters: hemorrhoids.
I will wait while you get the “Eeeeew!” out of your system. All better? Good. (There are more to come, so go ahead and get ready.)
It wasn’t a huge deal back then. They would flare up on rare occasions and go away in a day or two. But this year, in mid-June or so, they became terrible. (In fact, I even wrote about it back in June.) The pain was at its worst when I was lying down, so sleeping became a luxury that didn’t come very often. When I went to see the proctologist (which is coming up as a spelling error, but I’ve double-checked it three times) about it they weren’t “too terrible to take out” (his words), so he recommended several hot baths and a colonoscopy which I’d been putting off for a few years.
The hot baths didn’t help, medicine didn’t help, and by October, I was making another appointment with him. This time his reaction was a little different. He said “Wow, those have gotten big.” Big, in case you were wondering, means two of them were the size of a golf ball. Now, I don’t mean to be too graphic about it, but imagine doing your business on the toilet and having to maneuver that business around two golf balls and a marble that hurt like hell when you touch them. Now you know the misery that I was in. He gave me a prescription cream and told me to come back in a month.
A month later, there was no change, and he said it was time to take them out. Because they were mostly “inside”, this would have to be done in the hospital as an outpatient procedure, and I’d need to take at least two weeks off from work to recover. And so, one Friday morning, I was sitting in a hospital waiting room.
Thankfully, I don’t remember the procedure. The IV they gave me didn’t knock me out, but it blurred a lot. The only part I remember is my parents coming by to see me before they wheeled me off and being broken down like a double-barreled shotgun on the operating table. The rest of it is fuzzy. Afterward, though, I have the distinct memory of being in the worst pain I’d ever felt. Like I’d been ass-raped by a chainsaw. So bad, that my doctor admitted me to the hospital and put a morphine drip in my arm.
The first couple of days of the hospital are blurry. I remember my parents and Strutter coming to visit, but I couldn’t tell you what we talked about. I remember nurses coming in all the time to take my temperature and blood pressure, and to roll me on my side to look as my ass and giggle. (They probably didn’t giggle. But this was the beginning of my lesson in humility.) I also remember, quite vividly, getting a catheter. I remember jerking upright and screaming, and scaring the hell out of the nurse. (Just a note to all the men out there: If a woman is holding your penis and pushing a flexible tube into it, do NOT sit bolt upright and scare the hell out of her.)
And so there I was, wearing nothing but a pair of tighty-whitey underwear that they gave me (I’m normally a boxers guy, if I choose to wear underwear.) laying in bed for four days with a tube of piss pouring into a bag at the foot of my bed. The first two days I was fighting off an infection, but by the third day, I was feeling well enough to tell them to take me off the morphine. I didn’t eat too many solid foods during my stay, although there was no restriction on my diet. I was too afraid to take a crap. So I stuck to soup, grits, and noodles.
Once I was home again, I was still eating soft foods out of fear. I knew it was coming, but wanted to make it as painless as possible. When it did come, after six days of waiting and with the help of Milk of Magnesia, it redefined my scale of pain.
You know how when you are describing pain of a medical provider, and they ask you where it is on a scale of one to ten, with ten being the worst pain imaginable? When I tore the meniscus in my knee, and the doctor was bending my knee and asking me what the pain ranked, she bent it one way that hurt like hell. I managed to say “seven” right before I passed out. When I came to, she told me that passing out from pain would be a ten. I replied with “But I can imagine much worse pain, like being burned alive or eaten by a shark.”
Taking a crap for the first time, after six days of not doing so, and after having three piles cut out as well as a fissured sphincter repaired, became the new ten. That little knee injury… that’s a five. I can not describe how awful it was, I will just say that I imagine being burned alive or eaten by a shark would be less painful.
It became my morning ritual. Wake up. Stagger into the bathroom. Grab a big fluffy towel and clutch it my chest. Scream into the towel for five minutes. Take a hot bath and try to push the residual pain aside. On a follow-up visit with the doctor, I joked that I wouldn’t know when I’d recovered because I’d become so used to the pain that I wouldn’t notice when it stopped hurting.
I’m still not fully recovered, a month after the surgery. Two wounds haven’t fully healed, but they’re getting better. I’ve been back at work for a couple of weeks. The only bad spots are my daily crap and the few hours following it. At least now, I’m back to my original level of discomfort, and I feel like it will get better from here.
Through all of this, Strutter has been there for me every step of the way. We may have gotten on each others’ nerves once or twice during the journey, but anytime I wince of groan, she’s by my side quicker than she can say, “Poor Mookie!”
I am the luckiest man alive.

6 thoughts on “Pain in the Ass”

  1. Now you know why a certain husband of mine was asking people to shoot him! He’s been expressing much empathy for your recovery. Glad to hear you’re feeling a bit better. We’ll have to get together soon. Say hi to Strutter & the critters!

  2. Hey, my cousin had bad hemorrhoids, and he too found it tough to talk about. But he finally dealt with the problem, found a good doctor, and is doing much better now. Proud of you for dealing with it, and so glad you’re feeling better!

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