prelude

In July 2011 (maybe earlier), I experienced some discomfort going to the toilet.

Occasionally, I would pass small amounts of blood (‘spotting’) in my stools and rarely, just once or twice, would pass dark red blood.

As I had suffered similar symptoms when I had hemorrhoids over 10 years ago, I applied some Anusol cream to my delicate backside and hoped it would clear up.

However, the pain didn’t subside so I dragged myself to my GP who listened to my self diagnosis and self medication, told me that 80% of people suffer from hemorrhoids and some suppositories should help to resolve this little problem.

So, in addition to gently applying cream to my tender backside, I now found myself shoving small, torpedo shaped pellets up inside my anus. This was a weird sensation as, initially, the body tries to reject the foreign body until you push a little further until it is finally, reluctantly accepted.

10 days of this nightly procedure changed nothing. In fact, the pain in my backside got worse despite the Naproxen painkillers I was already taking for my ongoing problems with my back.

One night, after my bath and towelling down, the pain was so bad I just had to lay down on the bed. I consider I have a fairly high pain threshold and placed this at level 8/10 on the pain scale. In fact, I was perilously close to going up to Accident & Emergency at the local hospital.

Anyway, thankfully, I pulled round and managed to go downstairs to watch TV and preserve some semblance of normality.

My wife (a nurse) remarked on a strange smell – ‘not like a fart, not sweaty – just a weird stench when you entered the room’. As I could also smell the strange odour, I immediately christened it the ‘stench of death’.

When I rose from the sofa, I noticed a damp patch on the cushion, I’d been sitting on – ‘Oh dear – I seem to be leaking’.

Suddenly, I felt as if someone had pierced the largest, reddest, angriest, septic boil on my bottom with a sharp, hot needle. The relief was almost overwhelming as the pain slowly subsided and my wife went to put the cushion cover into the wash and get more painkillers.

As I lay recovering on the sofa, in my dressing gown, my 19 year old daughter returned home and tonight of all nights, chose to spontaneously introduce her new boyfriend of 3 months to her Mum and Dad for the first time.

Quite what George made of a grown man, laid horizontally in his dressing gown at 08:45 surrounded by the ‘stench of death’ is not entirely clear.

After this worrying episode, I decided to get an appointment with my GP the next day.

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