Pain in the butt

I’ve been told as you age random things start happening. That been true for me, quite literally. My butt has been hurting, a gradual thing developing over six months or so. Initially I mistook the pangs I felt for a hemorrhoid. But no, it wasn’t that, at least when my doctor checked. So I mostly ignored it, although it grew gradually worse over time. Certain stretches of my right leg brought excruciating pain.

But mostly I ignored it until, of course, one day I couldn’t anymore. I figured physical therapy would help, except none of the stretches I was given did anything. My physical therapist grew alarmed because the area in my groin was bright red, swollen and inflamed. She had me see my doctor again. One look by my doctor and I was off to the local emergency department, which fortunately is only a couple of miles from my house.

In fact my wife volunteers there. She was surprised to encounter me in the lobby. I waited for a couple of hours to be seen and eventually got a morphine drip, a CT scan and consulted with a physician there. They sent me home but gave me a referral to see a surgeon the next morning. Overnight the area leaked bloody puss. This wasn’t good, and it soaked my jeans. The surgeon put me in the hospital and gave me some surgery later in the day.

It turned out to be a strangely placed abscess in the right cheek of my buttocks, rather than an anal fistula that was first suspected. It was opened up and cleaned out but there are bandages there and it’s still draining somewhat. And I am in a hospital bed for the first time in more than ten years. I’m hoping I’ll be released tomorrow, but there’s no guarantee.

There’s no clue how this all happened, but that’s part of the fun of getting older. Stuff just happens. And I’m pretty good at ignoring pain until I absolutely can’t anymore. Not that I didn’t try, but over the counter pain relief tablets had little to no effect. Neither did icing the area.

It’s likely that there will be more stuff like this in the last quarter of my life. At least I have a private room and it’s reasonably quiet. At least I got seen rather quickly when I finally decided it needed prompt attention. I had scheduled an appointment with an orthopedist, but I was waiting six weeks until they could see me. Going to the Emergency Department took me to the front of the line.

I need to pay more attention to my body and not take things for granted. It’s unclear whether I will learn something from this painful lesson.

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