Let’s talk poop

31 05 2011

I have Crohn’s Disease.  Crohn’s Disease is an inflammatory disease of the intestines with a variety of accompanying symptoms, the most common of which are abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting and weight loss.  While not life threatening, there is also no known cure. What are you going to do?  Life is a bitch.  At least it isn’t cancer.  But, considering how inconvenient Crohn’s is, if I ever do get cancer, I’ll be fucking pissed.  Until then, I try to find the humor in the disease where I can.  Fortunately, there is plenty of material to work with.

The severity of the disease varies from case to case.  Fortunately for me, my particular case is on the mild side. While I do have occasional abdominal pain, sometimes severe, I have been spared many of the really fucked up symptoms, in particular, bloody diarrhea.
 
 

 
 
Yes, that’s right, BLOODY DIARRHEA!!!!  Mooohahahahaha!!!! (evil laugh)

Anyway, because the disease is a chronic condition that often results in ulcers in the intestines, regular visits to a gastrointestinal doctor are recommended to monitor the progression of the disease in the patient.  As one would expect, the topic of conversation between doctor and patient during these visits typically centers on the waste elimination process (i.e., shitting) which, as luck would have it, is a favorite, humor-laden subject of mine.

A few months ago, at a recent doctor visit, my doctor and I were delving into all things fecal when he asked me, “What are your poops like?”

I paused for a moment to contemplate and then replied, “What do you mean?  Personality-wise?”

As I busted out with laughter, my doctor sat stone-faced.  I added him to the list of people who don’t like a smart-ass.  No sense of poop humor, I thought.

“What do they look like?” he restated.

“Ummmm…brown?” I offered.

Apparently that wasn’t specific enough for him  He promptly reached into his desk drawer and handed me a laminated piece of paper with a row of poop photographs on it.  It looked something like this:
 
 

 
 

“Which of the numbered photos does your typical bowel movement look like?” he asked.

I imagined some poor bastard being tasked with fishing turds out of the toilet and photographing them.   Could that be an actual profession? I thought.  Pooptography?  I lost it.

Over my laughter, my doctor continued, “Mr. Sick Puppy, this is serious.  I need you to identify your bowel movement for me.”

It was a poop lineup.  Umm, I’m not sure which poop it was, officer.  Could you please ask poop number 3 to step forward?  The laughter intensified.

Eventually I regained my composure and apologized.  “Sorry, but can you please tell me what it is I’m looking at?”

My doctor explained that the chart showed a range of bowel movements numbered from one to six in descending degree of normalcy/health.   He further specified that poops number four and five were “watery” (Ulghghhhh…I almost vomited) and that poops numbered six through eight were not actually poops, but rather, photos of toilet paper (would that be special photographic toilet paper?) as the fecal matter itself was not firm enough to “handle” to photograph (Yes, that’s fucking nasty…I made a mental note to vomit later).

Sufficiently violated, I identified poop suspect number one as suspiciously similar to the turd I saw most recently loitering in my toilet bowl.  Then, after further careful consideration, I suggested to my doctor certain modifications he might make to the poop chart so as to capture not just the physical characteristics of the poop, but also a pooper’s emotional state likely attributable to each poop. Perhaps this would enable future patients to more closely identify with his or her poop?  The suggested modifications looked something like this:

 
 

 
 

My doctor said he would give my suggestion the consideration it was due and then asked me to drop my pants so he could give me a rectal exam.

I fear my suggestion was not well-received.

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