My experiences with a barium enema at age 11.
As is known, I was the recipient of many enemas as a child growing up, mostly from my uncle. My dad was the giver also, and I did receive them from him too.
I cannot recall, but at age 11, I began to have some kind of abdominal upset that would give me diarrhea at times, even though I had had an enema previously. This went on for some time, until finally it was decided to whisk me to the doctor to check this out. My uncle took me, and after arriving, I was treated to the most extensive exam I think I had ever experienced to that time. It involved lots of prodding, poking, and examining of me both with X-Ray and blood work, etc. I also, to my great embarrassment, was given a thorough rectal exam which consisted of an enema (even though I had gotten an enema at home before coming to the doctor) right in the doctor’s office. Now, I did not mind enemas, as I said, had received many at home, but was very hesitant and embarrassed that someone other than my uncle or dad was going to give me one. The nurse was nice about it, but even though, I remember I cried a bit as it was being done. She used a kind of bag, and as I recall, not too much fluid, so it did not hurt. But there must have been some other ingredient in the enema, because it gave me good cramps and a real desire to expel immediately. Luckily, I did not have to hold this enema long, and after the expulsion, was back on the exam table for the rectal exam. The doctor did not use a proctoscope, but only a speculum, so it was not too bad.
Since he could not find a direct reason for my problem, it was arranged for me to be admitted to the small local hospital for a series of barium tests. Little did I know what I was in for!!
My uncle and dad explained in detail just what would be happening to me, and by the time they were finished, I was quite nervous about the procedures which were scheduled for the next day.
That evening, I was given several enemas to prepare me for the tests, and after the enemas, I fell into a good sleep, only to be awakened the next morning early, for the trip to the hospital.
Upon admittance, I was taken to a room, which contained only one other boy, a bit younger than me, and was put to bed in my pajamas. It seemed OK so far, but soon an orderly came in and took my vital signs, including a temperature which he did rectally. Following this, he said my x ray test was scheduled for 10:00 that morning and that he would be back to give me an enema before. I tried to explain that my uncle had given me enemas last night, but as usual in a hospital, they are going to do it their own way, so I was resigned to getting another enema.
It was not long before he returned with an enema can, hose and the necessary padding for giving an enema. He did pull the flimsy curtain around my bed, and then pulled the covers down, and proceeded to remove my pajama bottoms, and had me turn on my side in the Sims position to receive the enema. I did not get a good look at the hose, and so I did not notice if it had a nozzle on it or not, but I think it was just a sort of colon tube. He proceeded to lubricate me, and then I felt my cheeks being parted and the entrance of the hose. It was smooth, and felt OK and was not inserted too far. Then the familiar click signaling the beginning of the enema. It ran in, and as usual, I was familiar with the feelings, and was beginning to relax a bit, when a cramp or two hit. After a stop he massaged my tummy, and eventually continued the enema. When it was all in, and he had removed the tube, he quickly put my pajama bottoms back on me, and helped me to the toilet located in the far side of the room. I am sure my room mate had heard all of this, and although I did not cry as in the doctor’s office, I did make the necessary moans, and groans of one being given an enema. The orderly remained as I expelled, and was a bit surprised to see that there was practically nothing in the toilet after I had finished, because he remarked that maybe I did not need that enema after all! That my uncle had done a good job!
I was put back to bed, and soon received a pill, and a shot which made me a bit sleepy and very relaxed.
Shortly it was time for me to be taken to the x ray department for my barium experience.
The orderly appeared with the gurney, and I hopped on and was covered and taken to the x ray department. When I arrived, a nice tech helped me on the x ray table, and explained what they were going to do. I saw a large enema bag that was white, with a long hose hanging down and a funny kind of thing on the end. This, as was explained to me, was a retention nozzle so I could keep the enema inside me for the time it took to make the x rays. At the very mention of the word “enema” I got that clammy and afraid feeling---knowing another enema was going to be given to me----and by another stranger. The tech was a nice man, quite young, I think, and was very good at explaining just what he was going to do. So, I was prepared for this enema by having my gown removed, and a light covering placed over my naked body. I think it was at this time that I began to sniff, and have a tear or two, mainly because of the strangeness of the room and how it appeared. There was this big table thing I was lying on, and a big item hanging overhead, which was the x ray machine. The room was darkened, and rather cold, as I remember, but my attention to that was short as I felt the tech moving me on my back and pulling the sheet back to expose my lower body. I was then asked to raise up my legs, and I felt something cold being applied to my rectum. I was asked to bear down like I was going poop, and when I did, I felt this big thing begin to enter me. It hurt, and was not at all like the nozzle that my uncle used, and this got me to whimpering a bit. Finally it was inside me to the techs satisfaction, and the little balloons were inflated. This was a new feeling all together!
Once the tube was inserted, my legs were lowered, and I was covered with the sheet, and awaited the barium to be put inside me. As soon as the doctor appeared, the enema was begun. It was cold, and it really was uncomfortable—especially for an 11 year old!! But, I had no choice! I had to lie there and let it go inside me. Soon enough was in, so that the pictures could be taken. There was great moving and clanging as the x ray machine moved to different positions, and of course I was moved too. The table tilted back, and I felt the barium going deeper inside me. I was experiencing quite a new group of feelings as the pictures were taken, and the procedure progressed. As this was going on, the sheet covering me fell aside, and I remember lying there naked with this long hose going into my bottom. At this point, I did begin to softly cry, as it was quite a feeling of fullness, and uncomfortable. But there was more to come!
Finally, it was announced to me that they were going to introduce some air into the barium, after some was drained out. (This was done by putting the bag on the floor) I apparently was going to have what is called an “air contrast study”. So, some air was pumped into me, causing me to really begin to cry as this was a new strange feeling and really hurt. The tech was very consoling, and I did feel a bit better.
Finally this torture was over! The remainder of the barium and some of the air was removed, and the tube deflated, and my legs once again came up for the removal of the nozzle. Once again, my privates and bottom were on display for any and all to see, as the tech removed the tube from my now quite sore bottom. My legs were lowered, and the tech helped me off the table and to the little toilet room off the x ray room. All this time, I was naked. After expelling the remaining barium, I was again placed on the gurney. The sheet was replaced, and I was taken back to my room.
The orderly soon came to visit me with the exciting news that I was to have another enema or two to remove the barium. I was not happy, but at least the enema would be given in my room, rather than in a sort of public place like that x ray department. As I looked around, I saw that another boy had been admitted to one of the 4 beds in the room, and he looked a bit older than I.
Soon the orderly appeared with the requisite enema apparatus, and proceeded to give me the enema to remove the barium that might have remained. This was done as before, with the orderly removing my pajama bottoms, and giving me the enema on my side. My pajamas were replaced, and I was once again taken to the bathroom to expel. Apparently the enema worked, as it was told to me that one would be enough---for now.
I was put back to bed, and my uncle appeared to tell me that the doctor said I could go home in the morning, and that apparently the x rays were fine.
So, I settled back to try to enjoy what was left of this hospital experience. Finally, the dinner trays appeared, and I was ready for that!
I got to talk to the two boys who were in the room with me, and while I was embarrassed to describe in detail what had happened to me, I did tell enough so that I am sure they got the picture of what I had endured.
That night I got another enema, but I was not the only one! I got to observe it happen to the older of the two boys who were my roommates! Soon the orderly appeared with an enema for him! Although the curtain was pulled around his bed, there was a partition in the curtain that enabled me to see his face, which soon had some tears coming down his cheeks. I could hear everything—every moan, groan, and pleading to “take it out!” “that’s enough!!” “Please!!” .The other boy did not get an enema while I was there, but did get his temperature taken rectally, as did all of us.
The next morning I was taken home, and was so glad to be there. And, true to my uncle’s
word, I received another enema----to make sure all the barium was out!!!