In undergrad, my friend, Los and I spent many a day (and night) drinking all manner of liquors. We were in undergrad, so it was allowed, excused, and even possibly expected. Drinking was our pastime.
One night, he invited me to happy hour at Waldo’s. We walked to the campus bar, excited to eat twenty-five cent wings and two-dollar well drinks. We sat there for at least an hour talking and devouring food as if we’d never eat again.
On our walk back to the dorms, I had the sudden urge to poop. Luckily, we’d walked through the Student Union.
“I’ll be right back,” I told Los, while concealing how serious the situation was.
“You can’t wait til we get back?” he asked.
“No!” I almost shouted.
When I got to the stall, feces exploded everywhere—my underwear, pants, toilet seat. I was mortified. How was I going to clean all this up? How was I going to get home?
I guess the Fates were on my side. When I peeked out the bathroom door, I didn’t see Los or anyone else, so I found the nearest exit and bolted back to my room.
At the time, I thought it was an odd incident. But that’s all it was…an oddity. I chalked it up to Waldo’s cheap wings and jungle juice. Nothing like that had happened before, and nothing like that happened again…until my thirties.
I’ll spare the details, primarily because they’re repetitive and gross. The same exact thing happened a few more times, minus the wings and rum. There was even a time when I didn’t make it to the bathroom. That was a long ride home.
I know what you’re thinking. By the time I was over thirty, certainly I must have known that not being able to hold my bowels was not normal. Yes. Yes, I did. But I didn’t seek treatment because these occurrences didn’t happen frequently enough for me to personally deem them an issue. Over the course of ten years, I’d say this happened five times.
I also never sought a doctor’s opinion because shortly after I finished my doctoral program, everything stopped. I want to say, “like magic,” but I know that’s not the truth. It was probably akin to my senior-year tummy—stress. Once my stress levels significantly decreased, then loose, uncontrollable bowels disappeared.
And so, I continued living life as if everything was all good.