Occasionally, I will encounter a medical condition that I haven’t seen before, and when I picked up the chart of an older man several years back, such was the case. His medical history indicated he suffered from “anal stenosis.” Stenosis means tightening or narrowing, so in this case he had abnormal tightening of his anal canal, making bowel movements difficult. He had been unable to pass anything for several days, and was quite uncomfortable.
The solution to this problem was to simply insert a plastic tube known appropriately as an “anoscope” and relieve the obstruction. In retrospect, I wasn’t totally prepared for the result. There was quite a bit more pressure than I anticipated, and I was really quite fortunate to be standing off to the side in order to avoid the blast that sprayed all over the gurney, floor and wall. The patient’s relief was dramatic. With a sense of accomplishment, I left the room and let the ER tech know that a room clean up would be necessary. He had no idea.