Health & Personal

Asher Yatzar

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(My prayer for poop)

At the beginning of this article which can be found here I explained how I came across the word Asher yatzar and how I came to be diagnosed with hemorrhoids. The doctor recommended enema as a first line of treatment. This part of the article describes the different cause of treatments I experimented with and how I finally got my relief.

The hospital had a different design from the one I was used to. I had to bend double in the pain I was already in, and the nurse who had the demeanor of one who had not received a paycheck in the past few months, was not having any of my pain induced drama.

I will leave you here if you don’t stay still, she kept saying, I have other things to do. Pain can humble you, I agree, as I looked at her with pleading eyes, hoping she will understand what I was going through. After what seems like hours later, we were done with the procedure and because the water used had some laxative in it, I immediately was pressed and needed a loo. 

My God! I still cringe at that memory.

It seemed as if there was a blood bath in the toilet. Blood splashed all over the WC and the pain I had was the worst kind I had ever experience, prior to the time. I was given all sorts of pain killers, some orally, others intravenously, but as soon as the effect of the pain killer will wear off, the pain will come in an almost double degree, as if to make up for when it was kept at bay.

I would go through that kind of pain for days, have a little relief for a day or two, and the whole process will begin again.

My dad had to take me to a different hospital, and the doctor, after listening to my experiences and ordering for new tests to be carried out, advised that I be booked for an immediate surgery.

For reasons I still cannot fathom, I have always been terrified of surgeries. I remember as a child, when I had cause to be taken to the theater to remove a minor lump that grew at the back of my leg. I had passed out at the site of the surgical equipment and that procedure never took place again. Thankfully, the lump was not causing any trouble and the suggested removal was just for aesthetics. As I grew older, it kept shrinking and disappeared on its own.

I am not having the surgery; I told my dad. You have to, he responded; you cannot possibly be going through such pain all the time. I understood my dad’s concern, but the fear I had for surgery was strong, and I was ready to manage than have a doctor’s knife cut through my anus.

I started making enquiries about alternatives and was introduced to more than 20 herbal doctors in a space of 15 years.

I drank all sorts of concoctions, which will give me temporary relief, and then after a few months, say 3-4, I will have a relapse and will need to start taking the whole concoction afresh. None of these concoctions had a pleasant taste, they were mostly very bitter, and for those that were not, a bland taste that could keep you confused and wondering why you are sad for the rest of the day.

I will travel with herbal medicine and most times will have a lot of explanations to do at the airport, before I will be allowed to take them on board.

I remember a particular time when I had to travel for a work conference and customs did not allow me travel with the herbal medicine, because it was liquid. I was filled with anxiety the entire flight. I wondered how I would survive the entire week, without any medicine and no family around for emergencies. I cooked up a plan. Since I will not have pains except, I pass stool, I decided I will do everything to prevent me from passing stool. I ate only fruits the entire trip, and my tummy almost busted from days of not excreting. On the main day of the event I had travelled for, I had to opt for a different dress from the one I initially planned to use, as I could barely fit into the former, without having to explain the sudden 5 months pregnant look.

I could not wait to get back home and went straight to the herbal doctor from the airport. It seemed holding back the stool for so long was actually a disservice to self, as I went through much worst pain, when I was finally able to. I was badly constipated and took an overdose of some laxatives, but still had a hard time.

I would pray fervently any time I had to use the loo and made all sort of deals with God inside the toilet. It was very bad, but my fear of surgery wouldn’t let me see, how this was affecting my health, emotions, work and social life.

In 2016, exactly 15 years from the first episode, I knew it was time.

I had a bad relapse and this time, no herbal medicine I took gave any relief. I would go to work in excruciating pains, and most times, had to drive in an almost standing position, as it was unbearable to put my butt down. I did a binge drinking of the herbal concoctions from different herbalist, but only got a day or two off pain, and then it will all come back, like it never went away.  I got the cue that I needed to have the surgery, when I was rushed to the hospital by concerned neighbors, after I had blacked out from the pain of this particular episode.

My family wanted me to have the surgery back home, so I will have ready caregivers.

I had consultations and was scheduled for surgery 2 days later.

I was terrified but the surgeon was calm and explained that it was a minor operation that will take less than 2 hours. All the hospital staff were so friendly and assured me that I was going to be fine.  The name of my surgeon was Dr. Jesus and I do not know if that was part of the reason while I smiled and became relaxed, as I was been wheeled to the theater.

Dr. Jesus was the best surgeon any patient would have ever asked for.  Kind, loving, empathetic and yet a pure professional. He explained every step pre-surgery to me and made sure I was comfortable during the whole process.

I was administered partial anesthesia and was awake during the whole procedure, though I could not move. I was wheeled back to the ward 3 hours later and was singing in low tones and thanking God for the success.

Recovery was very painful, but exactly a month later, I was able to resume back at work.

I have never had a relapse after surgery, and sometimes wonder at why I bore such pain, for such a long time.

Well, it was what it was.

I am still very prayerful and my experience with hemorrhoids taught me how to thank God for the minutest things we may want to take for granted as humans.  I remember how I used to envy kids, when they will just poop at will and soil their nappies.

From force of habit of more than 15 years, I can hardly ever use the toilet, till date, without saying what my neighbor Asher, describes as ‘’ Asher yatzar’’.

(True life experience contributed by Kimmy Tom)

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