Use it or lose it

Friday, February 6th, 2009 | Uncategorized

…And speaking of big furry butts, I underwent a hemorrhoid rubber band ligation procedure Monday. It’s so interesting what they do—the doctor places a rubber band around the tissue and it falls off after about four days. I’m on day four and pretty uncomfortable, and nothing that I know of has fallen off yet. It feels exactly like what you would imagine having a rubber band tied around part of your body until it falls off would feel like.

In the doctor’s office on Monday, the Doc asked me, “What are the symptoms?” I had no idea how to answer that, and said, “There’s a hemorrhoid.” “So what are the symptoms?” “Well, I recently planted 4 really big trees and it seems that in lifting them I exerted too much pressure down there–it comes and goes.” “What comes and goes?” “The hemorrhoid.” We went back and forth, the doctor getting more and more obviously annoyed with me, until I had to ask, “Could you tell me what the vocabulary is for this? I obviously don’t know how to answer this question, what do you want to know?” and finally he asked, “Is there swelling, does it hurt?” I think gastro-whatever doctors are all sadists. He didn’t add that in the “only” three or four days that it takes to fall off, there would be such incredible discomfort. And pain, like unbelievable pain—a new threshold of pain: If I ever am lucky to have another boyfriend, I will never again scream get off me you fat bastard.

I woke this morning to an almost unbearable pain so went to see the doctor again, fearing that something else had fallen off. He bent me over the exam table and rammed his crystal viewing tube thingy so hard up my sore little pearl-beyond-all-price that I started screaming. “Aaaaaaaaaaahhhhh! Doctor, that’s really uncomfortable, now that’s really painful, aaaaaaaaahhhhhh!” While I was screaming, I thought that this must be what childbirth was like. “No, Chris,” the Doctor said, “not short breaths, deep ones.” I tried to breathe deeply but another scream came out instead. Then I cursed my parents for bringing their hemorrhoid-prone genetic material together. He pulled the device out, much to my relief, then immediately rammed another device up there, but this one metal and cold. I almost fainted. I screamed again. I yelled for help. I told myself that not even childbirth could be this painful. He withdrew his device and announced that I had two new thrombosed hemorrhoids, one on either side of the tied-up one “which seemed to be doing fine” he added chirpily.

By the time I got home, I was so swollen from the examination/torture that I popped some ibuprofin and acetaminophen and jumped back into the tub. I called Bob and told him about my experience. “Oh, that’s awful, what did you do to deserve this?” he asked, and then quickly added, “I mean, down there…”


If for some reason you’ve landed on this entry not because you’re a gallery director looking for a hot new talent for your stable, but someone who has perhaps entered “post hemorrhoid rubber band ligation” into a search engine, then let me share some of what I’ve learned here. The day after surgery don’t run around town dropping off film at labs and shopping for dinner for Dean Smith—stay in bed. Don’t invite Dean Smith over for dinner and a movie, ask him to bring you dinner and serve it to you in bed and then watch an even shorter film than Ozu’s Good Morning, and without subtitles so that you could lie flat without straining to read them. Come to think of it, ask Dean to ask Doug to cook dinner. Take 4 sitz baths/day; add plenty of natural fiber to your diet, plus 1 tsp. psyllium husks in at least 8 ounces of water, twice a day; drink at least 5 glasses of water/day; and take two acetaminophen and two ibuprofin every 4 hours if you experience any pain or discomfort or swelling. Ask you doctor ahead of time to write a prescription for a lidocaine and prilocaine (2.5%/2.5%) cream that completely deadens any pain from the swelling of additional thrombosed hemorrhoids that might appear post-procedure and on this side of your sphincter. It’s great—like touching someone else’s butt.  But it’s attached to you!

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