I have just been through one of the most horrible, embarrassing, painful, expensive and humiliating experiences I have ever had. It all started with an enema. That seems simple enough, but let me explain…
Some time ago I had added to my collection, one of those plastic disposable douche type tips. I think that it was from one called ‘Summers eve’, or something like that. It was about 5 inches long, and screwed onto the top of a squeeze bottle. It was tapered nicely, and flared into a shield at the bottom about an inch and a quarter in diameter. The bottom was hollow like a funnel and had inside of it the screw fitting for the bottle. Anyway, it looked like it might make an interesting enema tip some day. A couple of days ago that someday came, and I decided to try it out. I pushed a hose attachment fitting up into the screw threads and attached it to a hose, filled a big red bag full of warm soapy water and it looked like it would be a good ‘combination’.
I inserted the tip and turned on the clamp. It started flowing in, but also started leaking out like the dickens from where the hose fitting had been pushed into the screw threads. It was not a water tight seal. I decided that the quickest and easiest way to solve this problem for the time being was to finish pushing the tip all the way in, so that the leak would be inside of me and my bottom would be clamped around the hose. So I did. This turned out to be one of the less bright, spur of the moment decisions that I have made. In other words, a hell of a mistake. I hadn’t thought through the consequences properly. It went in quite easily since the shield was tapered and worked just fine. The leak stopped getting the towel wet, and I finished taking the 2 1/2 quarts.
Then when I went to withdraw the tip, the flare on the bottom of the shield caught the inner sphincter muscle ring like the barbs on a fish hook, and wouldn’t come out. I pulled harder and the hose came off. I got up on the toilet and bore down and pushed. Water came out, but the tip held fast, I couldn’t pass it!! It was caught! I tried to grab the little hose attach nipple on the bottom, but it was too far inside and too slick. I couldn’t pull it out. I began to get desperate, and ran downstairs and got my long nose pliers from my tool box. The family was in the family room happily watching TV. I ran back upstairs, into the bathroom and tried grabbing it with the pliers. I was cramping and in agony. The pliers kept slipping off, and I kept pulling out pieces of tissue. I was now bleeding profusely, and try as I might the tip kept moving higher and higher. Its very shape encouraged migration. As the front part would rock back and forth from my own motion, the bottom shield part would snag from side to side and make it move forward like a ratchet. I was really beginning to panic, and tried harder.
I hurt myself worse and bled more and failed to get it. I could pass some water, but nothing else. I began to have horrible visions of just what the ultimate consequences might be…. perforation, hospitals, surgery, missed work, public knowledge, etc… it was not pretty! I finally came to the realization that it had gone beyond my ability to deal with it, and dressed and asked my wife to take me to the emergency room. I had quite a bit of explaining to do on the way. When we got to the hospital, there was more explaining, forms, hushed smiles, funny looks, etc. I stood against the wall and waited. I couldn’t sit very well. They put one of those bracelets on your arm and you sign a form essentially giving them power of attorney over your medical treatments and decisions. I felt like a second class citizen.
Finally, after about an hour and a half, they took me back into an examining room. I put on one of those open back gowns and waited some more. I was physically and psychologically miserable. Finally, the doctor and his nurse came into the room, asked again what seemed to be the problem, and I had to explain again. I made a sketch to show them what we were dealing with. He started poking and probing and could feel it… at least for a while… got some forceps and tried to get it. He’d ask me to bear down and dirty enema water would come out. Made a terrible mess all over the table. I was humiliated. The nurse tried to be comforting; the doctor was getting frustrated. It kept moving higher. Finally it was beyond the reach of his forceps, and he gave up. He asked me how long ago it was that I’d had a Tetanus shot. They took a set of X-rays and you could see it, about 11 inches high now, caught trying to go around the sigmoid. He told me they’d have to operate and went to schedule the operating room. The nurse cleaned up, and I kept apologizing.
When they were both gone, I mentally went ballistic. Before having surgery, I wanted a second opinion, and most of all I wanted out of there. So I put my pants back on and snuck out, grabbed my wife in the waiting room and headed for home on the lam.
I spent a totally sleepless night, agonizing about how to get that thing out of me. I briefly came up with a plan to drink a couple of bottles of magnesium citrate and see if I could flush it down from the top. I was afraid to try another enema, for fear that the flange would act like a piston, and drive it up even further. I knew that if it really made it all the way around the sigmoid, it was irretrievable, and surgery would be inevitable.
I gave up on the mag citrate plan when I remembered that even with it down low I couldn’t pass it, it would catch on the top of the sphincter. Also, shaped as it was, there was almost no real gripping surface to bear down against and open the sphincters. In addition, I didn’t have a tool any better than my long nose pliers to grab it and pull it with. I thought about trying to go to a hospital supply house and trying to buy a pair of forceps. But using them on yourself at long extension is pretty risky, and I certainly didn’t want to remove more tissue and possibly cause a perforation. That might end up being fatal. I wondered if all my affairs were in order, and what my wife would do with what was left. The night was long and fitful. I still held out some hope that with a long sigmoidascope and a long pair of forceps it could still be gotten.
Bright and early the next morning, although feeling like hell, I was at the family doctor’s office when they opened. More explanations. They took more X-rays and finally, the doctor went to work using a fiber optic scope with a biopsy blade like they use for cancer patients. He could see it, but couldn’t get it. He tried and tried, but failed. They’d filled me with air to try and open things up more, but it would come back out when he’d insert forceps. I was ‘noisy’ the rest of the day. They referred me to a specialist out at another hospital. I drove out there. It was about noon now. I was having sharp stabbing pains from the tip caught in my sigmoid every time I’d turn or move. I knew that I had to have success and get it out soon, or it would cause its own perforation. I prayed fervently for help!
At the new hospital, more forms, questions, explanations, humiliations… but I was more desperate, and willing to tolerate anything. More X-rays. I made friends with the X-ray technician, and he was willing to show me all views. Surprisingly you could see it there quite well. It looked larger than I remembered… and really tough to get.
More waiting…. Finally, the doctor showed up. He was a fairly young, energetic. New York Jewish doctor, named Leiberman. I liked him. He seemed smart, confident, and gutsy. ( I had continued to feel that if the first doctor, at the first emergency room had been more gutsy, he could have gotten it.) It’s mid-afternoon now, and I’m pretty hungry. I hadn’t felt like eating breakfast and didn’t have an opportunity for lunch. This hospital had every implement of torture you can imagine. They tried several of them with different techniques on me and though it hurt, even he had failed. Finally, he said, ‘I am going to try this last pair of forceps, and if I can’t get it with that I’m going to give up and send you to another GI guy’.
I encouraged him to really work at it, and he did so with gusto! Geez that hurt!! I have now been fisted! I think I may have bent the bars on the bed. He finally did get a hold of it a dragged it down, scrapping portions of me along with it. He did the best he could, but when he finally got it out it was covered with blood and crap. Looked unmentionable…. Made me shudder… both from relief and horror!
There was a really pretty nurse in the room there with us, down below me to get a good view. When he pulled this thing out he held it up triumphantly, and I saw her wince. He asked me if I wanted to keep it, and take it home for a souvenir, with a grin. I quickly said, ‘No thank you!’. Actually, I never wanted to see that thing again!! I felt relief like you can’t imagine! I felt absolute enthusiastic joy! They let me go home after signing a few more forms and taking my blood pressure again.. I am at home recovering, and healing now. I will be fine.
This did not turn out to be the pleasant, relaxing enema that I had in mind when I started two days ago. But, by a heavy-weight, knockout margin, it was certainly the most memorable!!