I didn’t intend to go commando that day. I squirmed uncomfortably in my chair and tried to make as much room as possible between me and the woman sitting next to me at the conference table. I gave her a weak smile, hoping she couldn’t smell me.
I didn’t intend to poop in my pants either, obviously.
As stealthily as I could manage under the circumstances, I dropped my pen on the floor so I could bend over and sniff myself. I didn’t notice any obvious odor, but I still wasn’t convinced.
Time dragged on.
Normally I would have headed into my office, arriving in plenty of time to do the deed. But not that day. Oh, no. That day I got to sit in a room full of colleagues from around the city as we worked on our bioterrorism strategy — only moments after creating my own biohazardous event.
I was only a few weeks out from my surgery. It was a fun surgery, required because of the damage done to my body through childbirth. You guessed it. I had to have surgery on my ass. The actual name of said surgery is a lateral internal sphincterotomy, and it is required when anal fissures — tears in the rectum, in my case, caused by difficult births — do not heal. And you thought hemorrhoids from pregnancy were bad! Oh, my friend…
According to my butt doctor (or colorectal surgeon if we’re being PC), we all have two sphincters in our tushies. And apparently, you only need one. So to help the fissures heal, the surgeon cuts the internal sphincter. (Don’t faint, I was knocked out.) Cutting the muscle prevents spasms and weakens the muscles temporarily, and this helps the area to heal. It sounds like a horrific procedure (and it was), but after two years of feeling like I was pooping nails and shards of glass (thank you, precious children!), I was up for just about anything.
The surgery went well. I thought I was healing. But on this particular day, I understood why we have two sphincters, and I sure could have used the second one for backup.
I dropped off my two littles and headed to work. I always arrived in time to use the ladies’ room first thing; my body was on a schedule. On this day, I learned that it was a schedule that would not be forgiving. Instead of going into the office, I went to a different location that was 10 minutes farther away.
I felt my tummy rumble about five minutes from my destination. By three minutes out, it became apparent that this was not a drill. Gripping the steering wheel, I puckered up tightly and squeezed as if my life depended on it. I was not going to poop my pants!
Sadly for me, I was one anal muscle short, thanks to Doctor Sphincter. As the realization washed over me that I might actually have an accident of the number two variety, I tightened my body as much as I could, leaned forward, and prayed for a miracle. The sweat dripped down my face as I came around the corner practically on two wheels and squealed into the parking lot. I’m not even sure if I was in an actual spot. Grabbing my purse, I walked as quickly as I could while desperately trying to keep the floodgates from opening. It hurt.
Luckily, the bathrooms were right inside the main lobby. I was early — praise the Lord above — so there was no one from my meeting watching me hobble awkwardly to the ladies’ room.
What happened next was far from ladylike.
My body, relieved at the proximity of the bathroom, relaxed. I made it just inside the door before I knew I was not going to make it unscathed.
Full panic mode set in. I shed personal my items, tripping over myself and nearly falling into the stall. Door wide open, I turned, dropped the pants, and nearly cried in relief.
You can imagine the scene. Thankfully, the damage was mostly limited to my undies (and my ego). Damn if I wasn’t wearing one of my favorite pairs of skivvies, but in this situation, there was no time for sentiment. Off they came. I double and triple wrapped them in paper towels and shoved them in the garbage.
Working quickly, I wet some paper towels, sponge bathed myself, and then scooted back into the stall, lest an unsuspecting stranger enter the bathroom. When I felt as cleaned up as I could be, I gathered myself, took one last glance at myself in the mirror, and washed my hands once more for good measure.
My tush eventually healed. I’m still working on the ego.