Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tales From The Back Side

I apologize in advance to any of my readers who might be sensitive. You may as well know up front that this story is about a bodily function, passing gas, breaking wind, farting, pooting, tooting, letting one rip, cutting the cheese or dropping a bomb. These are all common colloquiums for expelling noxious fumes into the atmosphere from our ‘derriere’ (excuse my French). Members of delicate society do not discuss it, but since I have NEVER been described as delicate I feel I can go ahead and tell my tale.

Someone I love dearly recently had to endure a colonoscopy. This is basically a procedure where they clean out your bowel by having you consume hideous concoctions by the quart for several days in advance, not an easy or pleasant feat, blow your body full of air, expanding your bowels like a 2 dollar carnival balloon, and then shove a camera up there and have a looky-see. This is a valuable and necessary test. This is also, as my loved one put it, a violation of the most personal kind.

Thankfully people are usually sound asleep during this humiliating violation. They are wheeled back into a recovery room where they are held hostage until they manage to expel the majority of the air that had been pumped into them. This would be horrifying if you were the only person with a gut full of gas in a room full of people recovering from, say, giving birth to a precious child, or a life saving cardiac procedure which left giant scars down the middle of their torso and grateful, tearstained family hovering over their beds. Instead you are wheeled into a beehive of a space, many small rooms separated only by too short fabric swaths which do absolutely nothing to contain sound, each space holding a recovering patient who has had the same procedure as you.

I sat with another family member who had had this same procedure during his stint in the recovery room and it was an amazing, amusing, musical experience let me tell you!

While my relative was still snoozing deeply a sound akin to a whistling bottle rocket taking off came from the curtained cubicle next door. This was quickly followed by a series of staccato burst, say, from a string of little firecrackers tied together by their fuses. I had to grin. I am human. I maintained my composure and sat through about two minutes of silence. Another bottle rocket! More little explosions! A giant burst followed by a million little pops and whistles! I was having a hard time being respectfully silent at this point.

Suddenly, from my other side I heard a deep rumbling which seemed to last for-ev-errrrrrr. This roll of sound surprised me so that I wondered for a split second if the sunny day had turned violent and a thunderstorm was raging outside! Across the hall geese started honking repeatedly, quickly, while an elephant trumpeted from two curtained cubes down.

I admit it. I lost it. The menagerie, the fireworks and the thunderstorm in concert just did me in. I was feeling like a horrible person but apparently I was not the only one who had been struggling to contain their inappropriate mirth. As soon I started laughing the dam broke. Caregivers, nurses, loved ones, janitors… we all laughed like idiots. One of the orderlies let one rip while he was bent over laughing and the crowd went wild, crying and holding our stomachs and wheezing with the exertion of it all.

By the time my charge was waking up a full on orchestrated version of the 1812 Overture was in play along with the sounds of Noah’s Ark and nature’s mightiest tempests. My face was soaked with tears, my stomach hurt from laughing and I was so out of breath I couldn’t even answer his groggy questions.  The horde of ‘expellers’ were coming to life and we slowly got a grip on our mass hysteria and tried our bests to ease their awakening and help them begin their recovery.

Every now and then a manic giggle would escape one of us, those that had enjoyed the show and retreated to the land of four year olds for a brief and wonderful moment. I hated to admit it but the violation of my charge had given me the first opportunity for a gut busting laugh in a year and I loved it. I guess the moral of this story is do the test if the doctors order it but make damn sure your loved ones wait outside, unless they have had a really, really bad week. Then swallow your pride, invite them back and make them promise they won’t record it. They will thank you later.