Has something ever happened to you that left you feeling raw, dirty, unsettled and taken advantage of? Have you ever had an ever so slight, if only a vague whisper of a suspicion that you ignored until it was too late? Well I have, and I experienced both a few months ago, and it was dreadful.
It all started on a Monday night, I was sitting on the sofa watching another ass-clenching episode of “Breaking Bad,” with my girlfriend, Susan. My stomach was bothering me a bit, but only to the degree of mild agitation, I was also feeling, well to be blunt, a slight sensation of pressure knocking on my backdoor, if you know what I mean. Susan has often teased me about the length of time I spend on the throne, and about how often I address my kingdom, for both front and backdoor business. She’s told me numerous times, “I swear you’re going to give yourself hemorrhoids if you keep sitting there as much as you do.”
You see, I suffer from a sever case of toilet induced stage fright, even when the only person in the audience is me. I have strange bathroom quirks like whistling to encourage urination, or running the faucet on full-hydro blast as a means to prod my bladder. I usually make two, and even three visits to the restroom throughout the night. I suffer from what I like to call, “small, neurotic, and active bladder syndrome.”
I usually laugh her off when she teases me about it, but that night her warnings seemed rather valuable, plausible even. The night wore on, and the discomfort changed to a combination of pressure, and a strange, little tickling, how odd, and yet somehow familiar. I had a funny feeling, but I also had my doubts because of my other syndrome-my love for the art of-dramatic outbursts.
I thought about asking Susan more about hemorrhoids; or even just telling her about my tail-issues, but I remembered how I’d made semi-plans to be romantic with her that evening. I didn’t think hearing about my itching and burning ass would be much of a turn on, so I remained quiet and thoughtful, very thoughtful.
During the commercial break I made run for the privacy-room my body was craving. I tried going but only produced mucus, hmm, interesting. I scrubbed my bottom in attempts to scratch the itch that was now ungodly. I felt pretty good about my efforts, and my symptoms seemed to have subsided for the time being. I returned to face her.
She was just sitting there looking at me. “What took you so long?” she asked. “I thought I had to go but I didn’t.” I responded. We resumed watching the show in silence. Within fifteen minutes my fanny was dancing again. I reached for the remote and pressed the, “I need to say or hear something-mute-button.” I knew I wouldn’t be able to focus on anything else the rest of the evening, making the decision to blow our special time, I finally said, “I think I have hemorrhoids. Something is going on down there. I feel pressure and it’s all itchy.” She rolled her eyes, mainly because of the second syndrome mentioned above. “You’re so dramatic.” She said.
“You don’t have hemorrhoids Shannon.” “Well I have mucus in my ass!” I said. She just looked at me and blinked, we both started laughing hysterically. She said, “You’re such a nut.” “I know, I said. But seriously, there is something wrong with my fanny. I wanted to be with you tonight, but I don’t think I can make love with this monkey business going on in my ass. She started laughing and said, “No, I don’t think of hemorrhoids and ass-mucous-talk as very romantic.” She un-muted the T.V. and we went back to our program. I kept glancing over at her to see if I could detect disgust, and also to see if she recognized my gyrations. I kept having to grip and squeeze my sphincter in response to whatever was going on down below. It was torture, all of it.
My bottom continued to have a party of it’s own, and the nightlife seemed to rock and roll once we got in the bed. I was up and down all night running to the toilet for one thing or another. I was thrilled when the sun came up and my symptoms gradually started to disappear. I thought it was over. I was so relieved.
The next day was Tuesday, and I don’t have my kids on Mondays, or Tuesdays, as they’re with their dad. They were with him over the weekend too when all this squirmy business was going on. They weren’t coming back home until the next day. I had worked that day, ass-free of aggravation until the evening. Susan came over after work, we made dinner, and I had plans for a second attempt at a romantic evening. However spoiled again, low and behold my butt started itching sometime after we ate. The mucous returned, the pressure mounted (no pun intended) and the tickling intensified. It was time to take serious action.
My mind was racing and searching with “WTF?” I covered every corner of my life over the past week. I honed in on two different episodes involving my daughter that happened five days earlier. In one instance, we were walking to school one morning, and I had to ask her twice to stop digging her fingers in her booty-hole. To her defense, she was pawing away at herself over her clothes, but either way, I needed her to know it wasn’t acceptable to walk down the street with her finger in her ass. In my experience, seven year-olds have no problem scratching any open orifice, clothed or not. I feel it is my job as a parent to teach her these things, no discussion.
That’s why I was surprised and thought curiously about why I caught her doing it again. Actually, a few more times before she went to her dad’s for the weekend. I thought maybe her shorts or panties were too small, new school year, time for new clothes. I asked her, “Sophie, why are you digging in your fanny? You shouldn’t scratch your bottom, that’s how you get worms. Are your panties too tight? Are your shorts riding up between your cheeks?” She looked back at me, “No, I just had a little itch.” and she skipped away. I thought to myself, maybe I didn’t buy the right detergent; they did just change the label. How do I know the difference between Oxy-clean with “Fresh Fields, versus Oxy-clean with “Fresh Flowers,” they all look-alike, damn-it. I don’t have time to study every f’n product in the store. I was certain the detergent was the culprit, problem solved. I’ll get new suds. Done.
We all went on with our lives for the next five days, until the moment when I put two and two together: I had a down-under problem, and my daughter had had one too. Very interesting. I wondered if she was still itching. Nobody said anything to me. Her dad didn’t call with news, nor did she mention it when we spoke. I dismissed her itch and focused on mine, and decided that-things were clear-I definitely had hemorrhoids. The pressure, the itching, the burning-all pointed to hemorrhoids I produced by sitting on the toilet too much.
I decided to fess up. It was nearing bedtime and I knew I was in no shape or mental state to even pretend that anything about me was sexy. “Susan, I think I have hemorrhoids, for real. My ass still hurts. It wasn’t bothering me all day, but for some reason it’s messing with me again.” She said, “Go to the bathroom and put some cortisone cream on it.” “Will it burn?” I asked. “I don’t know, but it’s worth a try. You can make an appointment to go see your gynecologist tomorrow to have it checked out.”
I agreed and went to the bathroom to perform an “application” on myself. I prepared by pulling everything out and lining it up on the counter next to me. I decided that first I needed to cleanse and anesthetize the region. I could use Bactine, that should work. I sprayed a cotton ball with the antiseptic, squatted on the toilet, leaned forward and swiped my rear-end with the cool, moist swab, and then dropped it in the bowl. It felt good, repeat. The next phase of my surgery included the cortisone cream and a cotton ball. This part wasn’t at all as pleasant, rather slippery and nauseating. I couldn’t tell if I had actually managed to get all the lotion from the cotton to my bottom, so I decided to investigate, but I paused when I heard something. I left the cotton ball pressed against my sphincter and listened.
Susan walked up and was on the other side of the bathroom door, she said, “What in the world are you doing? You’ve been in there forever.” I responded, breathless, “I’ve been busy cleaning the area, and now I’m finishing the application. I’m sorry, I’ll be out soon.” She laughed, “Well I’m going to bed, hurry up.” If I could’ve seen her she would’ve been shaking her head.
I listened as she walked down the hall. I went back surgery. I carefully lifted the surgical-tool around for inspection. I held it up in front of my face and as my eyes narrowed in, my pupils grew like full moons, my lips parted and I panted. From the cotton ball, a thin, two-ply, thread like, yellowish/white worm stood erect to meet my gaze. I couldn’t take my eyes off of it. I was sick, and terrified, as every ounce of life left me, time stood still. I think I stopped breathing.
However, as I watched the wretched creature I became really angry, and realistic. The nerve of that worm, I mean the outright brazenness of it to stand up as if I were keeping it from making a meal out of my ass-hole. I knew instantly what it was-it was a Pinworm. I’d had them as a kid. I knew they lived in my intestines and not my ass. But really, I just couldn’t believe it.
What the F was I supposed to do now? Tell Susan? “Hey Babe, I’ve got worms! Yum. Want a piece? I’m so H-O-T.” Hell no, not then. It was late and we had to get up early. I thought for sure I needed an antibiotic. I decided I should either try to forget what I saw and go to sleep, or go the emergency room right then, not for the worms, but for my mental state. I came close to calling an ambulance, but I figured worms weren’t worth my five thousand dollar deductible, plus I’d had them, and knew they were relatively harmless, which helped ease my crazy’s.
I knew I eventually had to the leave the safety of the bathroom and go to bed. I decided that I would make a doctor’s appointment first thing in the morning, or just show up begging for a worm poison-script. I cleaned up my mess and scrubbed my hands until they were red, and burning. I put on a few layers of bottoms-underwear, and pajama pants, and got in the bed.
Susan was waiting for me, reading my body language. “Are you alright?” she asked. “No, I said, I’m really worried.” I didn’t want to go into the whole story and push myself back down into the psychological-hole I had just traversed. I told her, “I think we should just go to sleep. Something isn’t right with my butt. I’m going to call the doctor in the morning.” She said, “Are you really that worried?” “I answered, “Yes.” And my head said, I almost called an ambulance for a case of Pinworms, but I remained quiet. “Let’s just go to sleep.”
The next morning over coffee I told her briefly what happened. I left out the squiggly details for her (until now.) I told her I thought I had worms because of the research-Googling- I’d done before she got up. I waited until after she left to call my daughter.
The phone rang, J answered. “J, may I please speak to Sophie? I think she has worms.” He was shocked. “What are you talking about Shannon?” I sighed, “I have worms, and I think I got them from her. She was scratching her ass a lot last week. Please just put her on the phone and don’t say anything to her until after I talk to her.” He said, “Gross! Are you sure?” “Yes!” I said. “I saw one.” He repeated himself, “That’s so gross. Hold on.”
Sophie came to the phone, “Hi Mommy.” I went right into it, “Hi Sophie. Guess what? I have worms. Do you have worms?” She responded, “Mommy, how do you know you have worms?” I said, “Because I saw one after I went to the bathroom.” She said, “Yeah, me too, I saw them in the toilet.” A moment of silence passed as I took in this information.
And then, “You mean to tell me you’ve had worms? Why didn’t you tell me? You have to tell me if something is ever wrong or different with your body.” She whined, “I was scared you’d give me medicine. I don’t want any medicine.” I told her with an air of righteous superiority, “Well you’re going to take medicine, or else you’re going to have an infestation of worms in your belly.”
I watched the clock until 9:00AM, the standard time when most offices open. The first call I made was to my internist. I asked the nurse-on-call if the doctor would be willing to call in a prescription. She said, “The doctor will need to see you first. We can’t just call in a prescription. I said, “See me for what? I already saw a worm, and according to CDC they only come out at night? How is the doctor to examine me for worms during the day? “She replied, “I don’t know, Ms. Katz, but you will need to be seen by the doctor before she’ll write any prescriptions. Bullshit. I settled for the late afternoon appointment, agreeing to have the worms with me for a few more hours.
Frustrated, I called the pediatrician for an appointment, “Hi, may I please speak to the nurse?” The receptionist transferred me. “This is nurse-Peggy, how may I help you?” “UM, Hi, this is Shannon Katz, mom of Sophie Katz, a patient of Dr. Know. Hopefully you can help me with something. Well you see, um, well, we have (whispered into the phone,) worms. Do you think that the doc could just call in a prescription, or do we need to come in the office? The nurse said, “Mom, (They always call you mom, when you’re the mom of a patient) you don’t need a prescription dear, you can get something over the counter for Pinworms.” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. “Really, wow! Thank you so much. I just got off of the phone with my doctor’s office and they told me to come in for an office visit. She laughed, “How were they planning on checking you for Pinworms in the daylight? Do they have a dark room or something?” I said, “I know, I basically said the same thing. Thank you again for recommending we take something over the counter. I just assumed this would require some serious drugs.” She thought this was adorable, as in “Bless your heart.” “Mom, Pinworms are like lice. They are dime a dozen. People just don’t talk about them.”
After we hung up, I raced to my car, and drove like an infested-maniac to the nearest CVS. I approached the Pharmacist and asked her as discretely as I could, “Could you please tell me where I can find Pin-X, the treatment for Pinworms?” She acted like no biggie and said, “It’s more popular than you’d think.” I found the drinkable liquid, Pin-X, right next to the Lice shampoo. I paid for it at the Pharmacy; my ego just couldn’t handle a -full on-front register transaction.
I gulped the liquid down, and made a few dreaded calls to all the parents of children my children had played with over the weekend. It was mortifying. I also called the school and spoke to the nurse. She said it was no big deal and that I didn’t even need to call. She, like most others in the medical field, sort of laughed at me, or with me. I was so relieved.
All of our symptoms went away within a few days of the dose. I went beyond the call of duty and gave myself an enema just in case a little Pin-Pal wanted to linger behind, (and that’s a whole other story I will save you from hearing.)
The bottom line is this, after doing a lot of research and speaking the health professionals, it was determined by me that Pinworms are actually more common than lice, and a hell of a lot easier to deal with. However, I did have to wash all the linens in my house, like an OCD-mad-woman, for a week, and I wiped every surface with Clorox, daily for a week. Guilty of going overboard, but I saw it squirm.
I also learned that the worms weren’t actually munching my butt, the females were actually coming down my rectum, and laying their eggs around my sphincter-nice-hence the tickling sensation. They took advantage of my softness, for their breeding purpose, how dare them.
In addition, I concluded, yet again, that children, as loveable as they are, are nasty, germ breeding little creatures of love.
And that I must always, always trust my gut.