Thursday, 11 April 2013

Cream or scream?

© Niderlander  Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

© Prometeus  Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

When my alarm clock screeched at 6.30 am the first sensation I noticed was the stinging of my piles (or hemorrhoids as they are more technically known). My second  realization was the awareness of my appointment today at the Colorectal Department of the local hospital to have my bulbous buddies investigated.

Hemorrhoids have stung the backsides of many generations of Jones. Like a clutch of cherries growing towards the light, they sting or leak, always one or the other, never both together. My arse alternates between sore and menstruating.

I spent 30 minutes in the shower this morning, 25 of which was devoted to spring-cleaning the area in question; if guests were going to spend time in the back-room it needed to be spic-and-span, as one must create the right impression, mustn’t one?

Upon arriving at the hospital’s General Outpatients’ Department, and showing the receptionist my official appointment letter, I was directed to waiting area 3 (not 1 or 2) and I wondered whether this symbolic niche, deep in the hospital labyrinth, was reserved for colorectal cases. While sitting in the waiting room I observed my fellow patients and tried to spot those with a similar affliction. A lady opposite had a continuous half-grimace and seemed a good bet, particularly as she shuffled from buttock to buttock in her seat. I was distracted from my game of “spot the hemorrhoid” by squawks of female laughter emanating from a nearby nurses’ station; I wondered if they were ridiculing the sight of the last patient’s butt.

Forty minutes after my appointment time my name was called and I was escorted to the clinic room by a nurse and asked to sit on the bed to await the doctor. Mr Evans, the consultant surgeon, entered accompanied by a young female medical student. Following a brief interrogation about my bowel habits and pain history, I was lying on the bed with my trousers and boxer-shorts around my ankles. As I laid there staring at the wall, the consultant probed and prodded my gaping arse - why do they always have chunky fingers? While doing so he conducted a tutorial with his student.

“Come and look at this; a big hemorrhoid on the outside and two more inside.”

I heard the female student approach for a closer look into my back passage. “Oh yes, I can see them” she said. I thought I could feel their breath on my buttocks. And I’m sure I heard an echo.

“So what’s the appropriate treatment?” he asked.

“I guess he could try applying a steroid cream …”

“You could if you wanted to caress the hemorrhoid and watch it grow,” he said. They both giggled; he was flirting with her with his finger up my arse.

“We could band them?” she said.

“If we tried to band this one on the outside” – wiggling it like a nipple to demonstrate – “he’d empty the ward with his screaming. No, this one we will have to lop off.”

So surgery it is, a day-case under general anaesthetic. I will be sent for within the next four to six weeks.

I dressed and left the clinic room. Walking back through the other patients in waiting area 3, I suspected that my gait might have resembled that of a bloke who had soiled himself. I was conscious of their eyes on me. Were they wondering what indignity I had undergone? I resisted the temptation to scream, “You’re buggered if you go in there!” and instead hurried for the exit.