First Published on Huffington Post, July 2017.
It’s been five months since I passed a solid stool. By which I mean a bowel stool, not a backless, but sturdy seating option. If it’s sturdy backless seating options you're talking about, well I have ‘Passed’ many of those in the last five months, predominately in trendy east end restaurants that require you to be raised higher than any of the staff can reach.
This double entendre landed just as limp when I tried it out on a doctor this morning whilst holidaying at the hospital of tropical medicine, which is just off Goodge Street in London.
I also had a finger shoved up my asshole, but more on that aspect later.
The hospital itself is an incredible place, opened in 1821 it is the only NHS building dedicated to the study and prevention of tropical disease. It was also the home of Patrick Manson, who first discovered the link between mosquitos and malaria, which has become the foundation of modern tropical medicine. He did, however, die of Gout. Clearly Paddy was unable to spot the link between this and his Lardy Tum-Tum.
I learnt all this by reading a plaque on the wall whilst attempting to entice a stool sample from my rectum. The best things in life are free.
The reason I was there is, of course, because of my phantom stools. The solid variety that has evaded me since a trip to India spun my gut south.
We, by which I mean myself and my partner Daniela, were in Jaipur for a few days, though we didn’t see much of the chaotic city. The furthest we got was a fort known exclusively for its primate inhabitants. Literally hundreds of monkeys, and a few goats wearing jumpers, entertain and occasionally attack hoards of tourists on a daily basis. They are legion, they are absolute cuties, and they own the place. Just as we hit the summit of the ruined fort - where I assume some kind of tortured monkey dance was being whipped up by some greedy touts - Daniela buckled with stomach cramp. We retreated, and hit the TukTuk, manned by a Charles Bronson lookalike, Hermant, who near enough deposited us into a bathtub. The next 48 hours are vague, though experientially, it felt like the final hour of Apocalypse now.
So that’s how I got to this room, where a kindly, young female doctor - not much older than me - is doing her best to remain professional and stoic in the face of my infant chit chat.
Now I’m not sure about you, but I’ve recently found myself doing something odd when I walk into a Hospital, or meet a doctor; within about five minutes, I start mentioning the Tories. It’s a knee jerk reaction. A part of me thinks this is simply so I can gauge their reaction, possibly attempt to discover that rarest of specimen - a tory NHS doctor.
Because let’s face it, secretly, deep down, surely some GP’s must be voting Blue? If you follow the stats anyway; the vast majority are white British, middle class, or privately educated. Most make their bunce from the private sector, then do their real work for the ailing NHS. At the top end they can earn 80-100k a year, meaning they would be the first to be hit by Corbyn Hood’s Tax hoiks (good name for a Vegan restaurant or electronica duo)
This morning’s doctor, at first, seemed resilient to my Tory bashing, but then she pumped fruitlessly at a faulty sanitiser dispenser, and I saw an opening…
“It’s broken,” she said, peeling away the plastic shell and jiggling the can of People Bleach within. “Who’s done this?”
With a noticeable smug smile I replied.
She stopped in her tracks. At first she eyed the corners of the room suspiciously, as though their might be hidden cameras, or ear wigs. Then, the doctor laughed. Almost too much, as though some kind of pressure valve had been opened.
I am glad to say that from this gentle piece of honest mockery aimed at the man responsible for the systematic destruction of one of modern societies finest creations, the appointment flew by!
We discussed my symptoms, which I described with great detail, enthralling my audience like a young Dickens at a Christmas Eve recital.
Words flew at the doctor like swifts with the wind; Rectal Bleeding. OOO Chronic diarrhoea. AHHH. A blanket display of medicinal fireworks. Music to her ears. Even the government camera disguised as an Anatomically correct Testicle seemed transfixed.
As ever, I like to flirt with female doctors so as to mask the fact that they are more talented, valuable and intelligent than I am. Don’t worry, it’s a male ego thing, and something we as a gender are, thankfully, coming to terms with. After all, Men have a lot of historic atrocities resting on our shoulders, so go easy next time one of us accidentally leers at your bust.
We discussed the doctor’s entry into the industry, and her interest in specific tropical medicine. The tales only galvanised what was coming to be a lusty connection. That and the bit when she kneaded my tummy like a raw Morrisons Tiger Loaf. When she held me, and squeezed my spleen to test its level of inflammation, I knew this was something. As with all great, passionate relationships, our was destined to live fast and die young.
“Ok Jonnie,” she said, with that glint she always has, or has had this one time I’ve met her.
“I think we might as well get the rectal examination over and done with now.”
And like that, our time as friends had ended. The doctor was in the house. Jeremy Cunt’s Hamera’s had executed their silent influence.
I’ve asked trainee doctor friends of mine about a theory I have that as a medical professional you tend to ignore, or forget, that you might have to treat people your own age. People with your own cultural background, and timeline. Naturally most medicine is dished out to the young or the old, and so if a twenty something with a burning ring steps into the fray, it tends to dislodge the veil of anonymity that shrouds the patient-doctor relationship. It’s exactly this that happened this morning. She even had to bring in a ‘chaperone’ to oversee the ass check, and it didn’t help that he was also my age and had been sucking out my blood all morning.
An awkwardness descended as I unbuckled my belt, a sound that pretty much always evokes a sexual air in and of itself.
I had to lay on the little run of emasculating kitchen roll that covers the bed, and peel down my trousers and pants for the young, female doctor. It didn’t help the tension that she used the words ‘Trousers and Pants’ which I’ve not heard since I was about 9.
I brazenly covered my embarrassed tracks by pretending to be totally at ease with the situation.
I became a ‘I’m totally cool with getting my ass hole fingered’ guy. ‘I get this done all the time Doc, it’s not my first rodeo.’
Even if she had believed me to be a seasoned vet of ass fisting, I’m pretty sure the squeal I let out as she stuck it in would have uncloaked me.
It went in deep, I might add. Too Deep. The previous day I’d watched seven episodes of pastoral posh-man Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s River Cottage. In the show he had stuck his entire arm into a cow’s body. This image swirled about me as my own anus was toyed with, and I too was reduced to nothing more than meat for market. Stuck to the sticky 2 ply paper sheet beneath, the doctor, eventually, pulled out. I redressed.
Following the lead of the great Jeremy Hunt, the doctor and I tried to ignored everything that had happened, for the greater good.
I left that hospital a changed man. I thought back to India, where this had all begun. A throb of cultural significance rose through my body, or was it my rectum? As the UK drifts ever further into political isolation, my body holds tight to the foreign, harmful bacteria in my gut; its little gesture of unity against the tides of division.