What the hell, Annette? No, Anal Proctalgia is not this writer’s clever and highbrow way to tell someone they are a pain in the ass. Although sometimes I may be clever with my stories, I am never highbrow. How about a blog about a relatively obscure medical condition? Yup, why not. Besides, having just had an encounter, it was fresh on my mind.
So, I am reminded of my age as medical conditions appear that I never experienced in my youth. Imagine my shock when one night I woke up with this particular condition, although I did not know the name at the time. I don’t think the literal translation is, pain in the ass, but that’s exactly what it is.
I’m going to let you be a fly on the wall for when I broached the subject during my annual physical. Here’s how the conversation went.
“Is there anything else you want to discuss?”
“Um, no, uh, well, there is one thing and I guess I am not sure if this is related to going through menopause or not. It doesn’t happen often, so I think I still don’t want to go the hormone route.”
No response. Just a questioning, go on look, from my doctor.
“I don’t really know how to say this, I uh, wake up at night sometimes from this pain.”
“Pain? Not sweats?”
“Oh, I wake up from sweats too, but no, this is a sharp pain that lasts about ten to fifteen minutes and then goes away?”
Puzzled look follows.
“It’s in my, um, uh, the same place I sometimes get hemorrhoids.” There. I said it.
Light dawns on her face. “Oh, it sounds like Anal Proctalgia.”
“Here, let me write it down for you and you can look it up.” She knows I love to research things. “I recommend warm baths.”
I tottered off and the minute I walked into my house that evening, I was on the internet researching Anal Proctalgia. While there are theories on different triggers, one of which I am not happy about (sexual activity), the information on this condition clearly states it is from unknown causes.
Apparently, what happens is severe muscle cramps in the anal canal. Since there is a very sensitive nerve that runs along the canal, the pain is sharp and insistent. What causes the cramps? Who the hell knows?
So, what does this have to do with writing? Well….I was thinking about a Facebook post some time ago about how we rarely read about everyday activities, like going to the bathroom, etc. Who wants excruciating details in the novel about a person’s morning dump? This would probably wear off the shine of the main character. Similar to that, we also don’t read about more uncommon medical conditions of short duration. They aren’t at all interesting. There are loads of books that give details on terminal conditions and how that affects a person’s loved ones as they support and care for their love interest. Readers might also find a smattering of scenes related to someone having a cold or the flu, and an adorable scene about homemade chicken noodle soup or some such kindness. Dramatic accidents are common. We love those on the edge of our seat scenes with the person lovingly glued to the hospital bed while the main character fights for their life.
I got to thinking, what if I included a humorous scene on Anal Proctaglia? If nothing else, it might be remembered. I can tell you that women of a certain age have no hesitation when it comes to talking about delicate medical conditions or bodily functions, especially if they’ve spent their career in healthcare. My wife used to research E-Coli 0157 and would give nurses coffee cards in exchange for bloody poop samples. Yup, a scene about two mature women discussing Anal Proctaglia would work. Considering I am one of those writers who often take chances, don’t be surprised if you read a scene in one of my future novels….In the meantime, you can always check out how I have taken risks with my books and other obscure conditions.
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