Don’t Look Now !
Continuing the tale of the troublesome turds
As a general rule, I do not examine the contents of the toilet bowl, much preferring to flush the evidence of what happens in that most private of places, clean away. There was a putative television doctor, who claimed to be able to diagnose a multitude of ailments solely based on a thorough examination of a turd. Whether or not her methods stand up to any scientific analysis doesn’t really concern me, it is the fact that every deposit had to be picked apart for evidence of good or bad health that I find extremely bizarre. It is therefore quite surprising that I did notice when my motions contained an unexpected quantity of blood! Perhaps it was because I was experiencing severe stomach cramps and felt generally unwell that I chose to look but when confronted by a bloody stool I did what most people do and decided to ignore it.
I trained as a nurse; I know the potential significance of such a find. I would recommend, nay, insist that any of my loved ones visit their Doctor and subject themselves to further investigations. But after a few days I felt better, the blood was gone and I rationalised away the symptoms as the result of a dodgy curry or an unexpected hemorrhoid. Life carries on, and bowel habits return to normal so why dwell on a minor aberration, a once only occurrence? Far better it seemed to forget that episode and definitely not to look inside the toilet bowl again.
Of course it did happen again. Finally accepting that my symptoms having now occurred on more than one occasion, are not normal, I have made the appointment to see my doctor, and a few weeks later I find myself reluctantly sitting in the waiting room. It is only March and the season for colds and flu is not yet over and back then nobody had even imagined the coming covid pandemic. I am surrounded by sick people, coughing and sneezing, filling the air that I also have to breathe with all manner of infectious agents. I can almost see the evil little germs making a beeline for me, and the idea of wearing a face mask, which is now the norm, would have then just seemed rude rather than sensible. The sooner this ordeal is over the better. The trouble with a little knowledge is I know what is going to happen. I am aware of the first thing that must be checked when a patient presents in a doctor’s surgery like me. It would be far better to lie on my left side on the couch, knees bent and mooning to the room, in blissful ignorance of the humiliation to come. Facing the wall, my attention is fixed on a little mark in the paintwork and as I’m blind to the preparations going on behind me, my hearing seems extremely acute. A latex glove snaps into place with the force of catapult as the noisy cap being unscrewed from a tube of lubricant slowly cranks up the building tension. I need to relax, but every muscle is rigid with apprehensive expectation. “This may be a little uncomfortable,” the school child masquerading as a medic informs me. This I soon realise is an undeniable understatement, as the incredibly young doctor who I’m convinced is only a work experience imposter, vigorously and thoroughly checks to see if any abnormalities can be found.
Everything is as it should be. No bleeding piles, no abrasions, and no obvious cause for the symptoms I have presented with and so further tests will be necessary. I am still acutely embarrassed as the doctor writes my referral to the hospital but she is professional and unfazed by the procedure she has just had to do. Even at such a tender age she must have examined hundreds of human sphincters, mine just one more to add to her increasing knowledge and experience and, as I am now on this conveyer belt of appointments and investigations, I am going to have to get used to my private, intimate place where the “sun doesn’t shine” becoming just one more on a proctologist’s list.