Thursday, April 20, 2006


The best laid plans

Keeping with the theme of excrement, which for some reason most of the comments on my last post focused on to the exclusion of all the other fascinating aspects of my Brussels trip: when I was an overworked, underpaid, put-upon, abused, tortured and entirely unselfpitying house officer (US: intern) in my first hospital post, one of the jobs we all dreaded was faecal disimpaction. This needed to be done when a severely constipated patient, usually elderly, could not pass stool with the help of even the most powerful laxatives and enemas. (As an aside, there’s a product used to irrigate the colon in preparation for bowel surgery which has the name ‘Golightly’. Let’s have more of this kind of humour when naming medicinal products.) What you did in extreme cases was shove a pipe called a flatus tube up the patient’s anus. Bowel gas would then come exploding forth and the force of this would expel much of the solid contents with it. The rest of the stool could then be removed manually.

Understandably this was not the most sought-after task, and responsibility for it would ping-pong back and forth between the nurses and the doctors. As house officers, we were the lowest rung on the ladder and usually ended up with the job, since the nurses would get out of it by pointing out that it was technically an invasive procedure and therefore one they were not permitted to carry out. Bullshit, of course, but I couldn’t blame them. One evening I was called upon to rise to the occasion. My heart leapt, for that week I was blessed with the presence of a medical student. Most of the time med students were a pain in the arse as they got under your feet when you were trying to do things and they made constant demands to be taught, for crying out loud. But they were extremely useful when something unpleasant needed doing because you could pull rank on them.

Dan (not his real name) was an enthusiastic young chap into whom all my sterling efforts to knock some cynicism had failed. I handed him the tube and watched his face, expecting to see the first flickers of what would inevitably become the doctor’s permanent expression of sourness. If anything, he beamed even more broadly, grasped the tube like a baton in a relay race (which is quite a pertinent comparison now that I think of it) and strode off to the patient’s bedside.

The problem with the procedure is that no matter how painstakingly you position yourself out of the way of the tube, the expulsive force always, always results in at least some spattering of your clothes, your skin or your hair. I watched Dan ask the patient to turn on her stomach, then position the bucket behind her on the floor (a token effort if ever there was one). What he did next, I wasn’t expecting. He moved round to the patient’s head and reached down across the length of her body, sliding the tube in by pulling its end towards him. The flatus escaped with a Krakatoa-like detonation, the shit shot several yards to spray against the cubicle curtain, and nary a fleck besmirched Dan.

And the patient promptly vomited, great gouts of green and khaki spew drenching Dan’s legs and crotch. He was too self-controlled to cry out but I noticed with satisfaction that his grin twitched a little. I fled outside, and stood near the entrance doubled over, gales of laughter wracking me.

Dan earned himself the sobriquet Rainbow that day, and as far as I know they still call him that.

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Serves him right for trying to play both ends.
Is the tube connected to compressed air or something?
What an exquisite experience that must've been.
For him and you. I'm surprised you didn't return with a pair of dessert spoons.

Oh, wait, you were still writing in character, right?

Gosh, I get confused sometimes.
Philip: yes, and he got no end of ragging after that.

Doc: no, that would blow the faeces back up the intestine. There's often a lot of compressed gas behind the impacted stool, so when you poke the tube through this mass it releases it.

SafeT: dessert spoons? My name is Foot Eater, not Shit Eater or Puke Eater. Those are my brothers.
I read the first paragraph and then stopped becasue I am eating a bacon sambo with brown sauce and white pepper.
I might read the rest of it later, might not.
So sorry about the lack of sympathy over the whole dentist thingy, you are quite correct.
Jesus Footie, could you ever get romantic again after those kind of experiences?
Ahhhh...brings me right back to the dinner conversations of my childhood.

And the reason I wouldn't go near the medical profession if my life depended on it.
Funny funny stuff!
Funny funny gross funny sick twisted and funny!
Being a parasitologist, one is never far away from stool. I cut my teeth looking down microscopes at squashed shit samples, trying to identify the eggs of common parasites. Fortunately, my sense of smell is somewhat underdeveloped, which means I can put my nose quite close to a sample and not fall backwards. My fragrant spouse, on the other hand, cannot even bring herself to brush away toilet bowl klingons.
This accords with gorilla folk-wisdom that regular farting is essential for the health.
Back off man I'm a scientist.
I realised that the tube was inserted past the "pace car", what I don't understand, is that if there is built up gas pressure, why does releasing that pressure force out the bockage? Simple physics would suggest the opposite.

Dr McCrumble: you obviously pressed too hard against the microscope if you ended up cutting your teeth.

Dr Maroon: I wish I could draw a diagram for you. Think of a dam whose wall springs a leak. The fluid bursts through the hole and takes the edges of the hole with it. Gradually the whole edifice crumbles as the hole gets bigger. Perhaps you're seeing the blockage as a single mass, when in fact it's usually less solid than that.
Thank you for that elucidation. You WOULD make a good teacher.

Andraste, I cannot claim the credit, it is from an English comic called Viz.
Foot, if the ediface gets beaver, then what happens next? Tarka might come along and try to play with 'em, but he's dead by the end of the friggin' documentary.
Then Orca would digest Lassie's head, of course, SafeT.

I'm working on a detailed analysis correlating the time of day you post comments with the degree of breakdown of logic in your thought processes. There's a PhD in it somewhere.
Keep in mind I'm -5GMT.
Right now it is 6:45am in Detroit.
By the time you read this message it won't be.
How did Lassie's head get in the way of Orca?!?
Frick, I bet that hit the news like a pile of masonry blocks.
i can't read this..

i seriously want to.

but. i'm having a hard time focusing. i'll be back later.
Hey, Foot Eater, your popcorn's burning!
what's the score?
are ye in or oot?
OK, foot. Where the fuck are you?
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
No thanks!

Me got one of me own.
Big penis sex? What's that all about I wonder.
Oh Doc, if we ever go on that getaway to San Francisco... you find out.
Foot, if you are around deleting spam, whyfor are you not talking to us?
Those who email me or who provide email addresses are in the know, SafeT. I'm not being a deliberate pain in the arse, I assure you.
OH! My email address is publicly available at all times from many places.
Here it is again:

I didn't know you didn't know it. Doesn't it appear on the comment notification emails?
It doesn't? Dang! Me thought it did. Me also publicly post me email.

Me just glad to know you still there!
Say, I don't have an email, but I'm just as fucking bothered as everyone else by your vanishing off the face of the planet.
What gives?
Coooooooeeeeeeee! Helloooo-oooooh! Where are you Mr. Eater? I can't see you. All I can hear is unlatched shutters creaking in the wind interspersed with the sound of ... silence. Hope you're OK.
Sam, I bet he latched his shutters.
As for his britches, I dunno.

So, you gonna email me, foot?
He'll be back, don't worry... he has good reason but nothing we need to panic about!
He's just being a fucking attention seeker
Aye, the fucking cunt that he is! Get yer fat arsehole in gear footsie and get back tae bletherin', ye saft wee shite ye!
And Dr. E is dealing with lawyers. We're temporarily down by two mates...
Hey that's a really funny story. Incredibly gross, but hilarious. I love your blog by the way.
Are you on your honeymoon, Footsie?
Sexy:Theres a reason for his absence.
See, Foot was communing with a lady of the evening from a nearby town and was caught in the act of marinading her toes by a local constable who was himself interested in bedding the scruffy beauty.
After offering to share his catch with the officer--an offer which was turned down on account of the officer not being interested in eating feet--foot was taken to jail where he currently is planning on making a move on his cellmate, a nice young man with healthy, strong feet.

And I am not making any of this up at all.
Selected responses:

Emma: welcome, and thanks; though you've arrived at an embarrassing time.

SafeT: double the dose and come back when the voices are quieter.

You all realise this is a ploy to get me up to 50 comments, don't you? So come on then...
You said it.
I for one am embarassed.
Oh and I'm currently decoding whatever it is that Kim has written about you on his site.
Squeezing out another comment for you, my friend. Gotta... get to ... 50 ...
That's frightfully disgusting. I'm disgusted. I'm leaving now, with a look of disgust.
Hey hey, 48 at the gate!
Another second passed.
tik followed tok
a second second passed also
followed close on the heels by yet another

I don’t need no doctor,
Cause I know,
What’s ailing me,
I don’t need no doctor,
Cause I know,
What’s ailing me,
Yes, I do,
All I need is my baby,
You don’t know,
I’m in misery.

Humble Pie. (Rockin the Fillmore)
50 is so passe. 51 is where it's at.

52! It am like a deck of cards!

Yeah, but I'm like the little instruction card that comes with the deck!
Lear ALL about how to play various popular card games by reading my fine print!
I am the card that tells you what the bridge bids are.
Why thank you, one and all. I hereby declare this thread stone dead.
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