On the rare occasion I needed a doctor it was easy enough to phone up the doc in a box for same day appointments with any one of their nurses or PA’s, but it never seemed necessary to have a doctor of my own. Blood in my stool seemed like an adult malady, so like an adult I went to see my parents doctor. It was convenient and he took my insurance, which unfortunately is often a doctors best qualification.
We discussed my symptoms: bright red blood streaking my stool, occasionally noticing bright red blood when I wiped, always feeling a little bit tired, increased gas and bloating, no constipation, no diarrhea, no weight loss, no pain. He asked questions about my diet: it’s relatively rich, I usually ate out, but ate mainly real, whole foods with very little processed intake. My alcohol intake came up which had previously been more than your average person but about normal for your average Austinite. Did I exercise? Yes, Pilates twice a week cardio 3-5 times a week. We reviewed my family history and my parents history of polyps diagnosed and removed multiple times over the last few years. Dr. P (as he shall be known) was mostly convinced it was internal hemorrhoids, and to be sure he listened to my heart/lungs/bowels, palpated my stomach and did a complete rectal exam both manual and visual. He didn’t feel anything and saw no evidence of hemorrhoids or tearing, but wrote a prescription for a suppository to treat hemorrhoids and gave me a kit to collect a fecal sample. He also ordered an ultrasound due to some minor abdominal tenderness. With a little blood work I was out the door with a script for the ultrasound and an appointment to return in 2 weeks.
To be fair to myself, I thought the suppositories were a suggestion. Seriously, he didn’t seem too sold on the idea either. With no evidence of hemorrhoids it seemed like an inconvenient waste of time to use the suppositories, and I didn’t like sticking things up my bottom (jokes on me). I turned in the stool sample, continued to clean up my diet, proceeded with the ultrasound and returned to see him 2 weeks later. Because there was blood in my stool the sample was contaminated and “unusable”, my blood work came back normal, and come to find out the suppositories had been more than a suggestion. The ultrasound was normal and he seemed decided it was internal hemorrhoids. Dr. P instructed me to try the suppositories, reissue the stool sample and make a follow up appointment for 2 weeks.
The suppositories did nothing, I turned in the fecal sample and when my appointment came up in 2 1/2 weeks I had just returned from a trip to Mexico with friends and completely forgot about it. Then came Thanksgiving, the holidays and the new year. My doctor hadn’t seemed very concerned about my symptoms therefore neither was I.