I wasn’t a sickly child, but when I did get ill I seemed to do it extraordinarily well. When I was about ten I came down with a bout of meningitis and spent six days in the hospital. Nothing huge; just fluids and antibiotics and pukeing on five or six different people in quick succession and a lumbar puncture that was oh-so-much fun. Most kids might freak out about a hospital stay but because my mum was in medicine I was used to the environment, and my biggest memory from the whole ordeal was being pissed off that the day I was going to be allowed solid foods (finally!), they discharged me. I still rue the day I didn’t get my hospital pancakes and fruit cup!
Cut to a week later and I have to go in for a quick check up with my mum to make sure my preadolescent engine was ticking over as it should. The nurse asked all the typical questions; was I eating, how was I sleeping, did I seem to be getting back to my old self, was I using the toilet regularly. All yes. Except. Except what? Well, I was going to the toilet, but I told the nurse my tummy hurt because I hadn’t pooped in about a week.
The nurse took this in stride, said that it was sometimes normal not to poo because my little body had been through the ringer, she had just the thing to help push it along the way. She then turned around and grabbed two small pill-like things from a drawer behind her and set them aside. She then said she was going leave the room for a minute while I took off my pants and put on a hospital gown.
Okay, this is where my brain really starts heading into overdrive. Was I going back into the hospital? Why did I need to put a gown on? Why did I only have to take my pants off to take some pills? That was weird. Never shy, I asked my mum.
Me: Why do I have to take my pants off to take the medicine?
Mum: Well, those are called suppositories and in order for them to work, you have to put them in your bum. (Never one to mince words, my mother.)
Me: *SHOCKHORROR* WHY?!? IN MY BUTT?? BY THOR’S HAMMER (I was really into Norse mythology, even at ten) WHY …IN MY BUTT …MOOOOOM!? Noooooo!
At this point, with my mother stifling a laugh, the nurse returned to the room and asked me to lay down on my side and draw my knees up to my chest and we would get this done. I think may have started crying at this point, not from fear, but from the sheer inability to conceive why people would stick things UP THEIR BUTT to feel better. I think because of this the nurse then asked me if I would feel more comfortable if my mum ‘administered the medicine’. Immediately my mother protested with an emphatic ‘I’m not doing it’ with that tone in her voice that I knew I shouldn’t argue and just get this whole debacle over with.
It was over before it started- and as anal probes go, I reckon it could have been a lot worse but that didn’t change the fact that I was now very, very upset with my mum. So much so, I refused to speak with her on the drive home. And then for the following three days.
On the fourth day of the UPMYBUTT scandal I heard mum on the phone in the other room speaking to my GramCracka, filling her in on all the sordid details of my previous illness and the subsequent doctor’s visit…
Mum: …I don’t know, Ma. She’s a tough kid. I mean she managed a giant needle in her spine without flinching the week before, there had to have been something about the suppos….here she is, why don’t you ask her.
Mexican stand-off moment; mum holding the phone out to me and me attempting to give her the stinkiest of stink-eyes I could muster. I walked slowly over to her outstretched hand and took the phone. I exchanged pleasantries with GramCracka for a minute and then she asked me why I was busting my mum’s chops so badly.
I looked down and started mumbling something, but then in a fit of lucidity I burst out with BECAUSE SHE WOULDN’T STICK HER FINGERS IN MY BUM, SHE MADE THE NURSE DO IT!
Then suddenly- probably realizing how ridiculous I was being once I finally said it out loud- I looked up at my mum and devolved into fits of giggles, unable to contain myself.
Also, if you’re wondering (and I know you are) I pooped about two hours after we arrived home from the appointment. I deserve a trophy.