Sunday, December 11, 2016

Heidi, Meet Hemorrhoid.

I've been scolded before for oversharing, but this post is called for and in short supply as blog entry topics go. It's needed in sympathy to all the poor suckers before me who've lived a similar agony; it's needed because people might feel sheepish to share. Today, I say "to hell with it!" We're going in. Behold, the topic of the hemorrhoid.

Maybe it's because I naturally gave birth to two hefty baby boys long ago, combined with a recent, aggressive workout regimen that quite literally saw me shaking to my core a week ago Friday at the club doing super planks (one minute at full extension in repeat succession, sprinkled with full extension side planks), or maybe, as the surgeon speculated, it was just plain lousy luck.

Last Sunday I woke up with an uncomfortable poke. Meh, nothing Prep H can't handle, right? Wrong. By Tuesday, I had a full-blown external thrombosed hemorrhoid (I couldn't even properly spell hemorrhoid until learning about them fully this week!). Rather than use the resources of the ER and run up a huge bill no thanks to my crappy overpriced insurance, I called Virginia Mason to get a legit appointment. I luck out, but still suffer 24 hours for the appt, hobble into the hospital and find that the lady doctor has called in sick. I beg and the receptionist finds me someone else, hearing my plight. This time a dude. He takes one look, tells me to get dressed and informs me he's referring me to surgery...which will have to wait yet another day. I was really hoping for immediate relief.

The pain is immense and focused. Basically, rather than the run-of-the-mill mushy/puffy version of an external hemmy, I'm dealing with the equivalent of a thumb top-size dense blood clot throbbing nonstop, in the worst possible place. Can't sleep, hurts to move, don't even THINK about laughing or coughing or sneezing, and it was nearly impossible to concentrate (yet I had to attend meetings the whole week and smile and speak)...I just wanted to soak and curl up in the fetal position, but, obligations.

Thursday comes. Surgery doesn't call by noon so I call them. Things don't look good, when suddenly I get a call back and if I'm on the next ferry they can see me for surgery. I get a 20-year-practicing surgeon, an older dude, which makes me really glad. Only when I check in, the senior doc's super Bollywood-like hunky resident strolls into the room with a bright smile on his face to talk about what's next and my only thought is, "great, this guy is going to see my lady and butt parts; he'll be scarred for life." And it gets more comical when he leads me to the procedure room and there are a total of four people ready to laser focus in on my bulls-eye.

Instructed to glove up and pull up my left butt cheek and hold it that way the entire procedure (while lying on my right side), my heart was racing so fast with nervousness and I trembled from trying to stay in that weird position so I wouldn't be sliced apart! All in it was about 15 minutes that included brief but excruciating shots of local anesthetic, getting sliced open for the blood clot removal, then zapping--some vessel cauterization and packing with gauze. At the very start, the doc gave me an -out- to be admitted as an inpatient and go under general anesthesia if I couldn't handle it, but that would mean more wait time. I was just ready to buck up and deal. The team was awesome and I had such relief. Dr. also said that these types of hemmies do self-resolve EVENTUALLY but they are known for being moderately (at best) to severely painful. (Something about grown men tears here!).

The after-care instructions were not exactly relevant. And when I asked about resuming to sex, the lady resident said "no anal sex for 4-6 weeks," to which I retorted, "No, I mean vaginal sex..." and the answer was pretty much whenever things start healing.  No swimming for two weeks OR core exercise. Not fair! So much for my December of intense workouts (well, until Dec. 23, anyway which I'm already signed up for a 10k swim fundraiser. Without practice for two weeks prior, that is going to be interesting!).

There are so many more terrible, chronic things people live with every day for the rest of their lives. Terminal things. Sexually transmitted diseases that never leave. Paralysis. Brain damage. Not necessarily in that order.

Them hems is minor. And so common. I bow down to anyone who deals with these very humbling things more than once in their lives. Or even ONCE in a lifetime. May your pain in the ass be brief and fleeting!

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