Look, you've been warned before about this being a warts-and-all account of my experience. Just offering up the fluffy bits would be an unfair representation of The Bullshit, not to mention completely made up (there are, of course, no fluffy bits). And so, if you want the complete picture of what all of this is like for me, well, you're just going to have to hear about my toilet traumas as well. Put down your biscuits, readers, we're going in.
Last night, I spent the most unbelievably excruciating, bloody, exhausting half hour on the loo. (That's 'bloody, exhausting', by the way, not 'bloody exhausting'. Although, judging by the hour-long nap I needed afterwards, you could say it was that too.) Jeez, all this chemical intake sure takes its toll on your arse. First the constipation, then the painful 'relief' from it, then getting the runs... and then back to the start of the crappy cycle again. (Now I finally understand why, right back as early as my diagnosis, every cancer-experienced person I came across recommended that I keep in a constant supply of Sudocrem. Bloody good advice – it's the single most brilliant gift you can buy a cancer patient.) Seriously though, all these drugs are bad for your bum. Even though it's not quite the same thing, I reckon this side-effect could be used as a very successful anti-drugs message. Never mind that freaky look-what-chemicals-can-do-to-your-brain advert. How about this simple statement? Kids, mess with drugs and you'll end up with an arse like a chewed orange. Problem solved.
Honestly, though, yesterday wasn't half as comical as it might sound. It was an ordeal, I tells ya. I have a new respect for women who've endured labour. I was pretty lacking in energy last night anyway, having caught a chill from being outside earlier in the day (I know, only I could catch a chill in August). So, because of that, every mini-push took it out of me even more, and each required its own little pep-talk. It looked like turning into what my Dad would call a 'head-squeezer' (and, frankly, I'm doing all I can to keep my hands away from my head at the moment – I'd rather not lose any more hair than necessary) so, 15 minutes in, I decided that some sort of lubrication might be my only way out. From a lack of anything else to hand, I called in the big guns and had P fetch the olive oil (not that I let him past the bathroom door, mind – there are some things a husband should never have to see). And, I have to say, the olive oil did the trick. But I can't see myself wanting it on my salad for a while. (And, I suspect, neither will you.)
Despite my alleviation from the Poo From Hell, I was forced to sleep on my side last night, so torturous is it to put any pressure on my damaged derriere. Even as I type I'm sitting a couple of inches taller, thanks to a new trick I've discovered. A little piece of advice for the arse-ached among you: in the absence of a rubber ring to sit on, those neck cushions you wear on planes can come in very handy. Bet you never look at one of those in the same light. (The olive oil and neck pillow industries aren't going to thank me for this post, are they?)