Admittedly, I blushed like the GI virgin I was when forced to describe, in great detail, my bowel movements (BMs). And here I grew up as the daughter of a firefighter and a nurse, and had even interned in a medical examiner’s office and spent most of my undergrad degree pursuing forensic anthropology (and some of my graduate degree as well). Bad smells, grisly sights, dead and decaying things…none of this prepared me for having to admit that I was a bloody mess. That was always someone else’s deal, and in my mind I was a polished, ladylike young woman who just didn’t have bathroom experiences like something out of “Dumb and Dumber” (with noticeably more carnage).
Well, whatever or whoever you believe in – the Universe has a sense of humor! Pie in the face – open wide and swallow big! There’s nothing graceful about relating your story to doctors, nurses, physician’s assistants, interns and residents, and whoever else comes to interrogate you about every miniscule detail of your poop. How often? Blood? A lot, like a tablespoon? Does it turn the bowl red? Mucus? If yes, color? What’s the consistency of the stool? Watery? Formed? Loose? Its color? Cramping or pain? Accompanied by gas? If so, how much? Are you more flatulent than usual? Constipated at all? Do you strain? Is there urgency?
Come to find out you’re a complicated mess of shitty adjectives. Thank God for Gastroenterologists, because I cannot imagine finding any of this fascinating enough to dedicate my life to, and roll out of bed for, every morning. They’re saints. And as Mike Rowe might say, “It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it.” Damn straight Mike.
It didn’t take me long to get over it, truthfully, but the first handful of appointments and interviews made me want to apologize profusely for something that I couldn’t control. I wanted to take them aside and politely explain, “I’m so sorry, I’m not usually like this. I’m really hygienic. Conscientious, even. Surely there’s been some mistake!” I felt like a disgusting slob. (The bloating and gas probably didn’t help). Thankfully UC is a demanding little beast, and pretty soon you really don’t care who knows what about you, what they think about you, and you find yourself over-sharing to anyone who has the span of a breath to listen. Bigger priorities, ya know?