Just as Yvonne Lee Shu Yee did, I too wish to share charming details about my haemorrhoids.
My journey to piles surgery started with a bad idea, and like all bad ideas, it seemed brilliant at first. And that brilliant idea was to do push-ups.
I set a modest target of 10 push-ups, as my arms were soft. The plan was to increase the number day by day.
By the time I finished, I was close to erupting. In fact, something did erupt but I wasn’t aware of it then.
The next day, my ass was on fire. I tahan the pain, thinking that it would pass like it always did.
When night came, I was in total agony. Desperation drove me to, well, drive to a 24-hour clinic at 2am for a painkiller jab. It didn’t help much but at least it knocked me out.
I woke up to more pain in the morning and, despite it doing zilch for me, I sought another jab. The pain was so intense that I had difficulty urinating.
By the fourth day, after the third jab, the pain lessened somewhat and I stopped gritting my teeth.
It was during this time that I read about my friend Yvonne’s post on Facebook about her haemorrhoidectomy. Like me, she was a long-time sufferer. Twenty years, baby. That’s how long.
Oh how my quality of life was compromised. I’d watch football on TV and think, if I were to run around like the footballers, I wouldn’t last five minutes before the anal thingy prolapsed.
Yvonne’s post about her surgery gave me the courage to go for it too. So I went to see the surgeon, who confirmed that the whole thing was inflamed, no thanks to exertion from the push-ups. And he pencilled me in for surgery the very next day. Which was a good thing because there was no time for me to think about it and chicken out.
Seeing how my piles were all swollen, and to my enormous relief, the surgeon said I could skip the enema usually given to patients to clear their bowels before the operation. But, but, wouldn’t I be full of it during surgery? I asked.
No worries, he said, we will clear it out of you.
Right. I’m sure the nurses wouldn’t be happy about it.
I apologised to them profusely before the operation. It’s all right, they assured me. It’s our job, they said. Yes it is, but it’s a shitty job.
They didn’t laugh.
Then came the anaesthetic. Quick question, I said. Could you, like, check my weight on your record? That’s just in case they got my weight in pounds but noted it down as kilos and gave me a higher dose of sleeping gas. I swear I didn’t mean to be a pain in the ass.
Now that we’d got that out of the way, it was showtime. Here comes the gas mask. As they were about to clamp it on my face, I turned my head sideways and hyperventilated a bit. Ada panic sikit.
OK, bring it on. I breathed in the gas. It smells funny, I thought. It smells like….
“Mr Lim. Wake up. Wake up.”
Huh? What? We’re done?
And that was it. An hour’s job. Piles gone. Mission accomplished.
I was not out of the woods yet. I had to deal with post-surgery pain. Like, major pain. I was given morphine which provided relief in the 12 hours after the operation. The following 48 hours sans morphine hurt so bad that my favourite meals of the day were painkiller pills.
Next, there was the delicate matter of pooping.
Apparently, constipation after surgery is a common thing due to general anaesthesia, narcotic painkillers and other factors.
Not being able to go was never an issue for me before, but I guess my plumbing was the last among my body parts to wake up after the operation. The surgeon would not discharge me until I had a bowel movement, but nothing moved in four days.
On the fifth day post-op, I finally managed to squeeze out something which qualified me to go home.
My haemorrhoidectomy was carried out with a sonic scalpel, a surgical instrument that emits ultrasonic vibrations which heat up the flesh – cutting and sealing the engorged blood vessels at the same time.
Post-surgery, my anus was like a mass protrusion. The surgeon told me it would shrink gradually and ultimately retract back where the sun don’t shine.
Then there was the other delicate matter of flatulence. In my condition, it was impossible to clench my buttocks to stop wind from breaking. My family suffered.
Now that the worst is over, I am healing fine. Yvonne and I update each other on our progress, and we compare battle scars.
I have taken selfies of my backdoor for a visual record of my ordeal, and I show them to my kids – who spend long spells on the throne with their phones – to remind them of the consequences of haemorrhoids.
Just so you know, I got one of the nurses to take the first picture for me.
So, you have a point to make? Tell us what you want to talk about at firstname.lastname@example.org.