By Kelli Petersen
One evening, I discovered blood in my poop. (Hey, if you can’t talk candidly to the Internet, then who can you talk to?) I’m not usually the kind of person who checks out bowel movements—unlike my boyfriend who not only examines it, but also takes an occasional picture and texts it to his friends. But as I reached over to flush the toilet, I saw a flash of bright red in my peripheral vision. I glanced down and saw small streams of blood lacing on and through the poop.
I made a sound like “muleh!” then started to flush the toilet, before pausing to wonder if I should somehow stick the poop in a plastic baggy. Would a doctor need to actually see it or have it tested? I decided a camera phone picture would suffice.
The next morning, I called my doctor’s office from work. Note to self: sitting at the front desk while fielding incoming calls and greeting visitors is not the place to call your doctor about bloody poop. The conversation went something like this:
Nurse: …and what is the problem you are experiencing?
Nurse: Sick with what?
Me: Well, there was something, uh, strangeaboutmypoop…last night…
Nurse: I’m sorry?
Me: Therewasbloodinmypoop…that’s why I need to make an appointment…
And so on. I was finally able to secure an appointment for the next day. Unfortunately, upon signing in for my visit, I was faced with sharing my problem with the front desk staff. C’mon, do they really need to know? I wondered. I gave the same stunted explanation as on the phone, except with hand gestures filling in wherever “bowel movement” should have been said.
Finally I was in the private examining room where I could speak openly about the issue. The doctor sat on a stool, slightly lower than the table upon which I sat, naked from the waist down, covered with what seemed to be an enormous paper towel. She asked about the color and consistency of the blood. Was it a dark red or brown? Or was it bright red?
Proudly, I pulled out my camera phone and declared, “I took a picture!” She stared at me for a moment before waving it away, asking, “How about you just tell me about it?” I described the poop in detail, adding creative flourishes here and there: “I would say the blood was the color of a red apple, freshly plucked from a tree.”
I answered more questions: no, I wasn’t constipated; no, I wasn’t feeling nauseous; no, I wasn’t allergic to anything. Finally, the doctor set the clipboard down and instructed me to lie down. Being a woman, I was well accustomed to being pants-less at a doctor’s office, so I shimmied down, ready to put my feet in the stirrups.
“I’m going to have you turn on your side, actually. Facing toward the window.”
Awkwardly, I turned onto my side, as the doctor snapped on latex gloves and rolled her stool behind me, putting her face level with my butt.
“Uh…should I, um, do anything?”
“Just relax, this may feel a bit uncomfortable.”
While looking out the window, I felt her spread my buttocks apart and put a finger inside the hole. “Try not to clench,” she instructed.
Taking her cue, I forced myself to relax and quickly found my thoughts drifting to sex. While she probed and examined, I dreamily looked out the window and focused on not moaning. In my head, the doctor had become a sexy 20-something man with strong arms, and who didn’t really have to do an anal exam (I was only there for an annual check-up, after all), but “just wanted to make sure everything looked good down there.”
The doctor said something, which I missed. “Excuse me?” I hadn’t realized she had pulled away from the table and was making notes on her clipboard.
“Everything looks good down there. My guess is it was a bit of food poisoning, something your body didn’t like. Keep an eye on it and let me know if it gets worse or if you feel pain.”
“Oh, uh, okay. Thanks!” I smoothed my hair which, strangely, seemed to be more unkempt than when I arrived.
She paused for a moment, looking as if she had smelled something strange, then said, “You’re…welcome?” She quickly left the room, closing the door behind her.
I hopped off the table and pulled on my pants. Feeling more refreshed than I had in days, I swung open the door, and giddily walked out of the office.