Saturday, October 4, 2008

taking matters into my own hands

CONTENT WARNING: What you are about to read is embarrassing and contains graphic imagery pertaining to the subject of poo. You may not be able to look me in the eye when you're done reading this, but hey, if Oprah can have a show about it, I can write about it.

There's one important thing the battery of nurses failed to mention about general anasthesthia: it can cause constipation. Do you know what else makes you constipated? Codeine. It also makes you itchy, which is why I was reading the side effects pamphlet Thursday night, and when I came across the word constipation, I thought to myself, huh, I guess I haven't done that in awhile.

Friday (henceforth known as the longest day of my life), as I ate my breakfast, I felt the familiar churning of a movement, as I shall call it. I finished my cliff bar and went in to the bathroom. An hour later, I was sweating from the effort and saying things like "I don't know what to do; it just won't come out" as the Sauce periodically checked on me from the other side of the door. I finally came out of the bathroom drenched and trembling. Charrow called the orthopedic number and they took a message. We called my mom and she told me I was having a panic attack and that I just needed to relax (the first of many times I would hear that throughout the day). Pacified by her assessment, I went back to the bathroom while Charrow tried phoning my orthopedist again. They routed her to my doctor's assistant who said we should try getting laxatives.

So I sat in the bathroom until Charrow came back with 2 different kinds of laxatives. The dignity seal was tampered with when she had to open the door to hand me the goods. She instructed me to take the "stool softener" and wait. If that didn't work, I was supposed to drink half a bottle of lemon flavored magnesium citrate. An hour later, I'd finished the entire bottle and still, nothing.

Our next instruction was to get an enema. This is where it starts to get dicey. Remember what I said about the dignity seal? I'll spare you the details, but I will say that it will take us both awhile to get over that one.

Sadly our story doesn't end there. Next up: suppositories! The assistant said that the instructions on the box won't say to, but it's important to hold the suppository in place so that your muscles don't push it back out before it has time to dissolve. So I was instructed to lay on the floor, insert, and relax. I was only slightly consoled by my ability to field this one solo.

Three failed suppositories later (recommended daily dose =1), I really started to freak out. My next action can only be attributed to chemical imbalance, abdominal distress, 5 hours in the bathroom, and shear panic.

I don't know how to describe what I did (well I do, but I just can't bring myself to do it), but I can let you figure it out using the old adage, "If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself."

I will be scarred for a very, very long time.

If for some reason you need surgery the requires not one but two contributors to constipation, I strongly recommend taking a proactive approach to your movements. Get some Metamucil and never give in if they tell you to try an enema.


elsabelle said...

I so commend you for posting this. I laughed so hard poop fell out.

Laura said...

That kind of made my day.

Spinning Ninny said...

oh wow. i mean it, oh wow. i'm so sorry!

ester said...

i am holding my heart, which is full of joy and sympathy and pain. oh mercy. may you never have to go through anything like that again, but if you do, may you write about it just as well.

eje said...

dude, God gave us fingers for just these situations. I swear, it's in the bible somewhere.

Steve said...

Hmmmmm...I'm not quite sure what you had to do, but I'm sorry you had to do it!

(Oh...I'm seeing eje's comment. I guess that's kind of what I figured.)