Dealing with a Genuine Pain in the Rear, by P. S. in Virginia

One of the best ways to learn something is by doing for yourself or if it’s a painful learning experience then the best way to learn is from someone going through it so you hopefully won’t have to. A couple of days before Thanksgiving (Tuesday) I managed to end up with the wonderful surprise of a hemorrhoid. I would like to think I have a high tolerance to pain but let me tell you, this puppy took me down for the count. When these first start there is just no comfortable position you can get into, sitting, standing or laying down. Fortunately I happen to keep in my supplies some Preparation H suppositories and ointment. Neither of these are fast acting but it was a start towards the healing process.

I have had hemorrhoids before and remembered it was just going to be a long uncomfortable time. I quickly fired up the internet and looked up several sites on what to do, what to expect and when to contact a Dr. One of the things I read was too make sure I increase my fiber intake. I also keep in my supplies a healthy stock of orange flavored Metamucil.

If anyone has had one of these happen to them you know how uncomfortable sitting can be. That evening my wife called me on her way home from work and when she finally was able to stop laughing she listened long enough to go into Wal-Mart on her way and pick me up an inflatable donut to sit on. I now have spares of these in my emergency supplies. I preceded with the suppositories and ointment and on the Friday after Thanksgiving I noticed bleeding. The best thing I can think of that may have caused it was using the combination of the suppositories and ointment at the same time. I’m sure any Dr. reading this is laughing and thinking “What an idiot” I immediately stopped using both items (it actually says that on the box). For the time being I padded up some toilet paper and placed it as a barrier to absorb the blood. My wife called me on her way home from work and when she finally was able to stop laughing she listened long enough to go into Wal-Mart on her way and pick me up a package of Depends [adult diapers] for men. These are now also part of my emergency stock.

To add insult to injury, when my wife was in Wal-Mart she called me and asked where in Wal-Mart they would be, I guided her over to the medical area and told her to look along the wall where they keep woman’s supplies for similar situations. My wife is from Peru and her English is still improving so we were having a communication problem. I kept telling her my waist size and she was insistent I needed a large when my size is actually in a small / medium for Depends diapers. The next thing I know I was talking to a female employee of Wal-Mart explaining my situation and what I needed them for. Moral of this part is buy ahead of time, it’s less embarrassing.

Sitting on my donut I was able to get back on the internet and look up more information on what to do. To tell you the truth, the bleeding was a new one for me and it had me a little worried. Being a Friday night and Dr. offices being closed I knew if I needed to do anything it would be a trip to the emergency room. Fortunately I found out that the bleeding can be normal and not to panic. One of the things it mentioned was to take a sitz bath. This is nothing more than sitting in a tub of warm water just high enough to cover the affected area. You can add salt or vinegar to the water to aid in reliving the pain of the bleeding area. I chose to use salt which I have plenty of in my emergency supplies. You do not need a lot, just enough to give the water a salty taste. I highly recommend that if you choose to taste the water you do it before you sit in it. Just to add as a note here, I didn’t taste the water before or after, I just kept pouring in the salt until I figured I had enough. I did however spend about 15 minutes cleaning the tub prior to getting in hoping to get it as sanitary as I could. I wasn’t sure to what extent the bleeding was and how much was open to any further infection from a dirty tub.

After about 20 minutes of sitting you should be able to get out and dry yourself off. A note I would like to inject here is it would have been much more comfortable sitting in the tub if I had brought my donut with me. Lesson learned! To dry off use something soft and just pat it gently, do not use a towel and dry like you normally would. After it was dry, I did not wish to use the ointment anymore but I felt I needed some lubrication to relieve the dryness and chafing. For this I used Petroleum Jelly (Vaseline) which I also have plenty of in my emergency stock.

With my diaper on, my wife laughing and my dog wanting to sniff everything, I finally went to bed and hoped for the best. I kept the diaper on until after my morning rituals, starting coffee, letting the dog out to use her restroom, feeding the dog, drinking my coffee, watching the news, getting upset from all the idiots in Washington and eventually my morning time in the bathroom. The fiber really helped and as bad as it sounds once done the last thing I wanted to do was wipe with toilet paper. Before I got into the shower I had remembered a conversation I had long ago with a retired Navy Captain who was an MD.

We were at a CERT sponsored search and rescue exercise and I had time to sit down with him and go over several questions. One of the things that came up was, what would he put into an emergency pack if he needed to bug out into the wild. This man was so brilliant and such a pleasure to listen to, he mentioned that some of the most important things to make sure you have are, bottles of water, clean white wash cloths, Ivory soap (the plain unscented), a soft bristle brush and plenty of gauze pads. He mentioned you can have plenty of food, but if you get a cut or abrasion and it gets infected its game over. These items would be very necessary to make sure you properly cleaned any wound.
Not feeling the need to use a soft bristle brush on my situation, I went to my stock and picked out a bottle of Ivory dish washing liquid and a white wash cloth to clean the area. Once dry I again used Vaseline and put on a fresh diaper. Sitting was still very uncomfortable but I have to admit, the diaper offered a lot of additional padding. Every time I felt the need to change the diaper I opted for the shower and Ivory soap. Come Monday there was just a small amount of bleeding and still a little swelling but it was getting more comfortable to deal with.
I felt the bleeding was more from irritation on the outside then from internal bleeding so I stopped using the Vaseline and started using Neosporin which is also a part of my emergency stock. The Neosporin seemed to work like magic in stopping the bleeding and reliving any irritation.

This whole thing started on Tuesday afternoon before Thanksgiving and come the Thursday after Thanksgiving I was no longer needing the Depends and things were much more comfortable. I know this may sound like a strange topic to tell people about, but what if we were in a TEOTWAWKI situation and could not make it to a Dr. Anyone who has had one knows just how painful and uncomfortable these can be. If you ever end up with one, plan on being down for about a good week. The sooner you can get rid of it the quicker you can get back to working around the house or on your survival. If you don’t nip this in the bud quickly and you end up making it worse you can truly end up with a medical emergency. I can’t help but think if the time comes when the SHTF and peoples diets change, this may become more common than any of us would like to imagine. I came out of this realizing there were a few new items to add to my emergency storage. I now have added spare inflatable donuts to sit on and also packages of Depends diapers. Good luck prepping and God Bless.