Did you know that you could get a blood clot—IN YOUR BUTT? Neither did I. Imagine my surprise when, after using the toilet one day, it looked like Lady Gaga reprised her performance of “Paparazzi” from the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards in it.
R u hard yet????
No? Maybe this will help: I’m no stranger to the occasional hemorrhoid. For those of you who don’t know what a hemorrhoid is, it’s basically a traffic jam of blood in the veins of your anus and rectum caused by a number of reasons: straining too hard when you poo, being pregnant, not using enough lube during butt stuff (guilty!). They can swell, throb, bleed, and they fucking HURT.
I did not know this when I got my first hemorrhoid. Naturally, I thought it was a tumor and expected imminent death. Not the way I would have chosen to go (I would prefer to be berated to death by Fran Lebowitz). But when I told my mom about my butt problem, she was like, “It’s just a hemorrhoid. They’re common, calm down.” Then she made me sit my actual ass in a bowl filled with lukewarm chamomile tea—which is, I believe, yet another Polish trick passed down by my grandmother—and it was gone within a few days.
The next time I got one, a few years later, I repeated that same regimen, including the use of wet wipes, taking Advil for the pain, and loading up on fiber. It was gone before I knew it.
By the third time I got a hemorrhoid, I was like, GUESS I’M A TOP NOW.
I finally made an appointment to go see my doctor to ask her why I was prone to these unwelcome guests in and around my bum. What was I doing wrong? The good news, she told me, was that they’re not dangerous, just uncomfortable. And that I could be proactive by changing my diet and making sure to remain active as fitness will ensure proper blood flow. Mind you, this was, like, seven years ago, back when my diet consisted entirely of chicken fingers and cigarettes, and the only fitness routine in my life was sweating in the nadirs of the Delancey/Essex Street subway station.
Now, as a chronically ill almost-thirty-year-old, I have to consider my diet and lifestyle every day. I (try) to eat mindfully—courtesy of GERD and IBS—and fitness helps me manage my chronic pain. So what the fuck when I noticed not one, but TWO, hemorrhoids late last year? And what the fuck when they didn’t go away—despite taking measures proven effective in the past? They stopped hurting, yes, but their ghosts remained, excess tissue killing the vibe of my otherwise adorable b-hole.
This would not do. I went back to my doctor, who then referred me to a rectal surgeon—something I didn’t know was even a thing. I’m a moron, I know. There’s a doctor for literally everything else, why not your butthole? I made an appointment and anxiously waited for the day to come.
I’m not exactly sure what came over me??? All I know is that I prepared more for this appointment than any other date that I’ve ever been on. I walked by my roommate after leaving the bathroom and she was like, “You smell SO good.” I was like, “Thanks. It’s Gaultier. I’M GOING TO THE RECTAL SURGEON.”
Reader, I douched before my appointment. I even GROOMED—front AND back. To go to someone who LITERALLY LOOKS AT BUTTS ALL DAY LONG. Someone who has, probably, seen it all. Meanwhile, back when I used to party and go home with dudes from the bar, I’d be like, “Hey, LET ME JUST WASH MY ASSHOLE IN YOUR SINK REAL QUICK, BRB.” And it’d be fine! What happened to THAT guy???? Besides trauma and health issues—what HAPPENED?!
The appointment, like most dates I’ve been on, was disappointing. The rectal surgeon came in and introduced herself, took a quick look at my rear end—while exclaiming, “Oh, wow, OKAY”—and told me what I already knew: I had two very irritated hemorrhoids. She didn’t even comment on how smooth my bum was! Not to mention the DESIGNER FRAGRANCE THAT BILLOWED FORTH UPON LIFTING UP MY MEDICAL GOWN. She gave me a script for prescription-strength Preparation H and told me that I could come back to get them removed with a series of banding procedures if I was still experiencing discomfort.
They continued to cause me discomfort, both medically and aesthetically. And they were doing no wonders for my confidence or sexual prowess. It’s hard enough (it isn’t though, that’s the problem!) revving up a sex drive after being on Lexapro for ten years; I don’t need the added drama of anal tree burls. I immediately made an appointment for a banding session.
When I came back to the office, two weeks later, I had let myself go (I showered, but didn’t shave down there). When the rectal surgeon came in, I was like, “Bet you remember me from a couple weeks ago!” To which she replied, without missing a beat, “I barely remember anyone I saw this morning,” and immediately stuck her finger in my butt.
I was in love.
What a character! The comedy writer in me felt blessed by the happenstance of my seeing this particular rectal surgeon. The deadpan delivery, the jokes that came out of left field: magic! The first banding, after minimal discomfort, was put on, and part of the hemorrhoid fell off within a few days. Smooth sailing from here!
A few days later, I felt even more pain, and when I deployed a finger down to investigate, all I found was a giant lump. I couldn’t even sit down on either cheek. I ended up working from bed, on my stomach, for a week. It was towards the end of that week that I turned into Carrie at prom and started shoving wads upon wads of toilet paper up my butt so I wouldn’t bleed on the couch—or anywhere else for that matter. I was mortified. I went back to her office a few days later and she was like, “THAT IS A BLOOD CLOT.” Except in medical terms. It’s called a thrombosed hemorrhoid, but all I heard was THIS IS THE END.
It wasn’t. It wasn’t even dangerous, just painful. There were, however, still clots there, despite the amount I had bled over those last few days. I had to get a procedure done where they applied local anesthetic, then cut open my butthole to remove the clots and excess tissue. Fun! They put no fewer than eight Charmin roll’s worth of gauze in my butt, told me to take Tylenol for the pain, and then sent me on my way.
My butt is almost as good as new. I still have a few follow-up appointments scheduled to make sure it’s all healing properly. I can’t do any fun stuff yet (I have to only eat my cucumbers like some boring civilian!!!!!!! JK, my mom subscribes to this newsletter), but I can sit down at least. What a luxury. I will say that I will miss my rectal surgeon and her quippy comebacks.
I won’t get too sad, though. I’m sure I’ll see her again in the not-too-distant future.