Man in the Moon, or Wrecked 'Em Rectum
My journey for anal and rectal health was continuing, all due to those nasty thrombosed hemorrhoids that I had as a teenager (see Hemorrhoids R Us). While there had been some progress from the injection sclerotherapy and the fiber supplements, I still had discomfort due to hygiene issues and the occasional bleeding, and there just didn’t seem to be good options. Then, when I was about 50 years old, I learned that a clinic that specializes in hemorrhoids had opened up in the central city about 30 miles from where I worked. The internet age had already started, and so I looked at the on-line reviews which weren’t bad but there weren’t many either. “Butt” I scheduled an appointment. Somewhat to my surprise, no prep was required before the appointment, and I had specifically asked whether I needed to do any prep.
I arrived for my mid-morning appointment, having taken off from work. Conveniently there was an indoor parking lot next door to the office building on this mid-winter day. The doctor’s office was on the ground floor of a large, old downtown office building, with the waiting room door opening into the lobby of the building. The wall to the waiting room was of glass so that anyone in the building lobby could see who was in the waiting room. The glass had a sign on one end that said “Hemorrhoid Clinic” and at the other end a sign that said “Cellulite Clinic”. Then in smaller letters was a smaller sign that gave the doctor’s name (I’ll just refer to him as Dr. Go). So it became apparent to me that this was a solo practice with the same doc treating both hemorrhoids and cellulite – What a combination.
On checking in with the receptionist, the young lady working there asked which clinic I was there for. She pointed to a checklist for the hemorrhoid clinic and then one for the cellulite clinic. I had the impression she didn’t want to say the words out loud because of privacy. I pointed to the one for hemorrhoids. She gave me a few forms to fill out and told me to be seated. There were just three other people in this large waiting room. A young teenage girl, a woman who appeared to be the mother, and a third who appeared to be the grandmother, and they seemed to be members of the same family. I assumed the three were there for the cellulite treatments, but I had no way of knowing.
I filled out the brief medical history form and provided insurance information. After a wait of 10 minutes or so, one of the medical assistants walked me back to the examining room, told me to sit in the chair and the doctor would be in shortly to talk to me. The office was somewhat large for a solo practice. I also formed the impression that everyone that worked there was young, including the doctor. The medical assistants were all young women, probably in their 20s. The examining room itself had a “tilt table” in it, with a tray of medical instruments nearby that was covered with a drape. Clearly this particular examining room was just for the hemorrhoid patients, not for the ones with cellulite problems.
Dr. Go came into the room a few minutes later and sat at a small desk in the examining room right next to me. He was probably 35 years old, or so. He was wearing a scrub suit with clog shoes on. We had a brief conversation in which I explained why I was there. He told me he would leave the room again for a few minutes while I stripped from the waist down, put on a pair of “moon pants” which he placed on the tilt table, and then sat on the tilt table. He left and I did as instructed. The moon pants were essentially a one-size-fits-all pair of boxer shorts with an elastic waistband. The rest of the garment fit very loosely but had a large hole in the bottom end so that the examination could be conducted while preserving the patient’s modesty. That’s the only time in my life I’ve seen such a thing, although I’ve seen them on-line since then.
Dr. Go re-entered the examining room and proceeded to conduct the examination without a medical assistant. He had me lie face down on the tilt table, which he then raised up with the foot petals to get me into the suitable position. He then did visual examination, digital rectal examination, and anoscopy, all of which took about 5 minutes. He lowered the table again, told me to sit up, said he would leave the room while I got dressed, and then we’d talk.
I did as the doc suggested and I was seated again when there was a knock on the door. One of the medical assistants came in to start cleaning the room including the instrument tray, which was draped. When she lifted the drape off the tray, I was shocked at how bloody was the anoscope, reminding me of the degree of my condition.
When Dr. Go, we sat at the interview table again. He explained that I had external hemorrhoids and so were of the type that he couldn’t really treat. He said the only option was “Procto-Foam”, which is a type of foam that contains cortisone that can be sprayed into the rectum and reduces the hemorrhoids. He said that the cortisone tends to cause cracking of the sensitive rectal tissues and so I could only use it for a few weeks. He gave me the Rx for the stuff.
I obtained some Procto-Foam later that day from the local pharmacy. It was essentially a small aerosol canister with a plastic applicator for inserting into the rectum. I gave it a try. The applicator was very uncomfortable, and it didn’t seem to be delivering the material where it was most needed, internally rather than externally. But I did try a few applications of it over the next few days, before giving up.
I found all this to be very dissatisfying – Here I have this ridiculous and annoying problem and no one can offer me any good solution? So my quest continued, after a break of a couple more years.
BTW, I found something on-line about moon pants. Check out the link. They are said to be a more modest alternative to a gown for this type of examination.