For those of you who may be new to my style of writing or just new to me, well, apologies. I’m a no holds barred kinda writer and this includes my bathroom adventures. So if you’re funny about poo, click away now.
Last Christmas something monumental happened to me. So monumental that I thought I’d share it with the world. It all started with my diet going out of the window so the epic candida infection I had went crazy, I was getting migraines so I took a lot of codeine, and to top it all off I was mildly dehydrated from a rarely experienced alcoholic drink or two. Experienced gut woe-ed chronically ill people will know what this causes… constipation. Not just any constipation oh no, epic constipation. We’re talking full on fecal impaction. This is a problem and doesn’t resolve itself, complications include swelling of the intestines, bleeding, prolapse, long term incontinence. What they don’t really mention is the PAIN.
Constipation is uncomfortable, but once you get to the impaction 6/7 day mark, we’re talking whole abdominal spasms.
I’m not phased by a bit of pain. I’ve walked on a broken foot for 2 weeks. I’ve brushed off migraines where I can’t see, walk or talk, crushing chest pains, and have thrown up and passed out from period pain. I’ve had bladder spasms so bad I’ve made the palms of my hands bleed from digging my nails into myself. Then there are the little things like bone pain, joint pain and tonsillitis. I take some ibuprofen and I’m good to go. I can do pain, it goes with the territory.
But this pain was something else. I was awake for about 48 hours straight, my belly was growing by the hour, I was forced into a sitting up, legs apart position. I was having a poop baby and this was the labour. I decided to call the baby David, after the other little shit Cameron, otherwise known as the British Conservative Party Prime Minister.
I tried everything of course, prunes, magnesium, glycerol suppositories. Suppositories are an odd experience, not entirely unpleasant but just really weird, and it didn’t work. Senna would make the spasms worse. Then someone suggested I try oral lactulose, it draws water into the intestines from the blood stream and softens the blockage. Downside? It gets worse before it gets better, except no one told me that bit.
My partner and friends by this point where begging me to go to hospital. ‘They can give you an enema’ they said. ‘It’ll all be over ASAP’ they said. No, just no. I’m not going to hospital, I’ve survived and treated migraines, encephalitis, heart problems, IBS, nutritional deficiencies, bipolar, oh and SEVEN chronic life threatening systemic infections ALL BY MYSELF because the mainstream medical profession didn’t care/didn’t understand, I wasn’t going to beg for help just to have a poop! How could I even be in this situation? How could I manage all those other things on my own but not cope with a bit of constipation?! Ridiculous.
No. I’m going to sort this on my own, I said. And took a double dose of lactulose, dosage instructions are for sissies. The pain got worse and worse. By bedtime I hadn’t eaten for 12 hours, was having trouble breathing because of the spasms, and was looking at another night of zero sleep. I was dizzy and nauseous from the lack of sleep and I would’ve been quite happy if my belly had exploded and a giant alien leaped out and gone on a killing spree around East London.
“Wake me up if you want to go to hospital” Partner said before instantly snoring. I lay there for an hour, in agony, not wanting to admit defeat. Nothing beats me, especially not a bit of poo. Everyone has their limits and there it was, my missing pain threshold. I woke partner up and admitted defeat. I could barely dress myself, couldn’t stand up straight and had to be helped into the car. My belly was so big I was convinced I’d get stretch marks. I couldn’t even do the zip up on my jeans that are a size too big. I waddled like I was heavily pregnant. David had to come out, one way or another, and by this point, if it meant having various things shoved up my ass, then so be it. I wailed all the way to the hospital, luckily it’s close by and at 1am there’s not much traffic.
We parked and as soon as I got out I got this beautiful, wonderful urge. I screamed I HAVE TO GO, RIGHT NOW! And ran across the ambulance bay, through the Accident and Emergency waiting room straight into the toilets. I didn’t even shut the cubicle door. The explosion was so loud I was convinced people in the waiting room heard, or maybe even felt the shockwaves. The lactulose had filled my entire intestinal tract with water and once the plug came out a tsunami occurred. I’d never been so happy in my entire life as I was in that moment, the world falling out of my ass in an open cubicle of the toilets of my local A&E at 1 am. After about 20 minutes I decided it might stop for long enough to get home. I walked out of the loos, feeling dizzy from joy. People stared at me, they probably thought I was a junkie and ran to the loos to get my fix. Partner was there, standing and looking worried. “I’m fine now” I said with a massive grin on my face. “Let’s go home”.
We had to drive quite fast home, I ran upstairs and another tsunami occurred. I was in the bathroom for 4 hours until 5 am before I thought it might be safe to go to bed. When you’re stuck on the toilet for 4 hours in the middle of the night you have two choices. Epic Candy Crushing on your mobile phone or have an existential crisis about the meaning of what just happened. My phone battery died so I was left to think.
I think there’s a lesson in here for us all. Swallow your pride and thee shall be rewarded by not needing an enema in hospital. Or maybe, hold on another 30 minutes and you might not need to wake your partner up who has to be at work in 4 hours. Or stick to the instructions on the label. Either way, learn from my fail. Candida, codeine and alcohol do not mix. If you do get constipated, take action before you get to the screaming spasms giving birth to an alien-Tory hybrid called David stage.