Chief Thunderbutt: Poop Inspector
For several months now I have been taking the blood thinning drug Coumadin (Warfarin) to help ensure that I don't have a stroke from a usually non-lethal and inherited problem called atrial fibrillation, or just a-fib. Things were going smoothly until a few days ago, when I peeked in the commode for a quick evaluation of my daily donation to the waste treatment plant in Nashville. I was mildly concerned when I discovered a turd that was perfect in every way – except color. This well-shaped and perfectly tapered masterpiece was the color of tar. There was no blood, but black it was enough that if I had deposited it on the road, it would have blended in so well that it might not have been noticed. If it was noticed, and by a highway worker, it might possibly have been used to patch a pothole.
This, I mused, is probably a sign of internal bleeding, which is not a good thing. Since I was due for a blood coagulation test two days later I decided to just wait, keep a close eye on the situation, and mention the black poo when I visited the clinic in two days.
Two days and two similar black poops later, I arrived at the VA for my scheduled appointment. My blood was a wee bit thinner than it had been on my previous appointment, but was well within the recommended range. I casually told the technician and doctor about the three black poos , and after exhibiting a great deal of concern, they told me to go straight to the ER. Even though I am becoming somewhat ancient I still enjoy life very much, so I did as I was told.
There was a short wait at the ER until a doctor was found with a finger sufficiently long and deformed enough to accomplish the foul deed of checking my turdage for blood. After this mutant doctor extracting his warty finger from my violated pucker, he performed a very rapid test while I was still ass out. He then proclaimed loud enough for everyone across the hall and back in the waiting room hear, "Yes sir ... there's some blood in there!" Even though I had come in for a simple blood test, I was immediately admitted to the hospital and sent up to a bed that had already by prepared.
After midnight I was denied any food or water, because the next morning I had been scheduled for an esophagogastroduonenoscopy to determine the source of the bleeding. They explained that such bleeding usually comes from the stomach or the small intestines (bleeding from the lower part of the gastrointestinal tract is usually bright red rather than black because it hasn’t been digested). I slept rather fitfully as I had a modest feeling of trepidation about the scheduled procedure – that and the fact that every time I dozed off, someone came in with a needle to draw a blood sample.
"So this is how it works," I thought, “If all your blood is drawn out for blood tests your internal bleeding will stop."
When the appointed hour arrived, I was wheeled down to the gastro-clinic, where a very nice nurse and a young doctor from Africa awaited me. I was given a sedative, laid on my side, and the fun began. I had envisioned the size of the camera as being something on the order of the telescope at Mount Palomar, but in reality it was probably no larger than a Cannon SLR with a 125mm telephoto lens. The doctor used a deadening spray on my throat which he said would have a slightly unpleasant taste. After tasting it, I think he would also tell me that drinking a gallon of sea water might be a little salty, or eating a bowl of habaneros might leave me a bit warm.
Down the esophagus, through the empty wasteland of my stomach, out through the pyloric valve and into the enchanted land of my duodenum the camera wound its merry way, happily snapping photos like a Japanese tourist on vacation in Las Vegas. The good doctor pumped air into my expanding guts the entire time so that better pictures could be taken. I am already a rather plump individual, but he inflated me to the size of the Hindenburg before the camera was pulled out and I was able to swallow
normally. The whole procedure lasted about ten minutes, which taxed the limits of my endurance, and the camera extraction was among the happier moments of my life. The simple little things in life like breathing and swallowing are not fully appreciated until we are momentarily denied them.
After the procedure, I thought there would be a few massive burps and my stomach would be cleared of all the excess gas, but I soon discovered the human body doesn't work that way. We have a one-way digestive system that directs whatever goes in our mouths eventually comes out our asses. The process that facilitates this traffic is called peristalsis, and is a series of muscular contractions that intends to keep things moving south. I farted more from this procedure than I did from the colonoscopy I received a few years back. My roommate was very impressed by my flatulence, and complemented me on making his stay at the hospital so memorable.
I am back home now, hale and hardy and no longer taking the Coumadin. The doctor said there were a few lesions in my duodenum that had been responsible for the bleeding. I am now happily extruding beautiful, post –emergency colors: ochre, burnt umber, deep chestnut and light taupe. I have an asshole that is too high class for anything as ordinary as traditional brown, for that is the poo of peasants.
There is a moral to this story; I felt no discomfort and would not have known about this potentially life-threatening condition if I hadn't looked in the commode. No matter how healthy you think you are or how well you feel – look at that turd. The life you save could be your own.