Yesterday I underwent colonic irrigation. And it was the worst day of my life. I’ll be surprised if I’m ever more embarrassed than I was at Acqua di Acqua in High Barnet. I went alone. Believe it or not, it’s actually quite hard to find a buddy to do colonic irrigation with you. I mean it’s not an easy sell, “Hi mate, what you up to this afternoon? Fancy having your anus flushed out?” It was so easy to sign up for, just a few clicks of a mouse, that I hadn’t really considered the consequences. I was going to have gallon after gallon of water pumped into my intestines by a stranger, using a tube inserted into my rectum. In doing so, 26 years of bum gunk would be disturbed and flow out of my arse, and then run past my head in a transparent tube, like some sort of faecal Generation Game.
I had thought of hiding some stuff up there, you know, to surprise the therapist. Something like a small plastic dolphin, or a message in a bottle, or maybe my keys? Then when they flowed down the tube I could loudly proclaim “So that’s where they were!” But I didn’t. The only preparation I did was some light sobbing. On the morning of the colonic I was totally dreading it. I’m ashamed of my bum-hole. It’s hairy, dark and prone to sweating. Like a badger in an airing cupboard. For some reason I have this weird suspicion that my bum-hole might be worse than everybody else’s. But off I went.
The clinic was on the first floor of a LA Fitness gym. It was further from the station than I imagined and I got lost. I asked a lady where LA Fitness was, she immediately said “Oh you’re not having a colonic are you? They do them there you know! OH MY GOD! Are you having a colonic?!” I reassured her I wasn’t, “Oh God no! A colonic! How embarrassing! No, no, no, I’m here for Zumba.” She gave me directions and I arrived just in time. That’s where the indignity started.
In the reception area, I was handed a form to fill in. At the top was the usual name, address, phone number spiel. And then there were some more personal questions, including: “How would you describe your stools?” I just thought, “Oh I don’t know! Through the medium of dance?” If my shits did internet dating they would describe themselves as “Shy but outgoing after a few drinks”. But there wasn’t a box for that; it’s almost as if they hadn’t considered poos going dating. The only options on the form were:
Loose Diahorrea (FACT: this was the working title for “Loose Women”)
I didn’t answer. A lady sat opposite me in the waiting area caught me dithering on the question. “I put fat sausage!” she said proudly.
My therapist, Katerina, a beautiful Polish girl, came over to me in the reception area: it was my turn. She showed me to the room and shut the door. There were three rooms in total, all linked to the small reception area. She explained to me that we all carry around 8kgs of waste in our colons, before emphasizing “Which is equivalent to a large cat”. And I said, “I am so glad you put that in cat terms. Because I was lost! Just to put my mind completely at ease, what’s that in hamsters?”
The bed itself was plastic and shaped like a pedalo. Around halfway up was a stiff plastic tube. “What you need to do is lube up the tube with this, and insert it into your anus. When you’re done, ring the bell.” This is going to sound mad but I was delighted at this news. I thought she was going to stick the pipe in for me, but now I was saved from this particular embarrassment. She left and I got undressed from the waist down. With the tube up my arse, and a white towel concealing my offal, I called her back in.
I had never felt more exposed. Here I was with a tube up my bum, legs akimbo, with a Polish woman about to fill my intestines full of liquid. She had her hand on the tap. “Ready?” she said. I nodded and she turned the tap on. “When you feel cramps in your stomach I want you to push” she said, looking me straight in the eyes. “Like when you go to the toilet”. I couldn’t feel anything yet. “Push!” she ordered. I did my best. Can you imagine having a beautiful Polish girl watching you make your constipated face? Nothing was happening. I tried to make small talk, “So do you live round here?” She ignored me, and turned the tap back on. She seemed genuinely worried at this stage, baffled by how much water I could take in my arse without feeling any pain. I was growing worried too, “Are you sure the tube’s in?” I said. She nodded, and said “Oh yes, it is very deep”, in a tone of voice that suggested I’d done that on purpose.
Now I could feel the cramps, like I’d done too many sit-ups. “I can feel it!” I said, absolutely delighted. “Push! Push!” she bellowed. And I really tried, but nothing was coming out. I really felt like I was letting her down. I actually felt embarrassed that I couldn’t shit myself in front of this gorgeous woman. “Sorry” I said. “I’m normally really good at this”.
I got the hang of it eventually: you wait to be filled up to the extent that you cramp, and then you contract your diaphragm, pushing the water out of your arse, essentially turning your digestive system into a set of bellows. So what does it feel like? Well, I’ve never been bummed, but a colonic is like being bummed by a sea whilst simultaneously taking the biggest dump of your life. It feels a bit like giving birth to a wet ghost from your arse. Sometimes so much water goes in that you feel like vomiting, as if you are about to turn into one of those cherub fountains where water goes in your bum and straight out your mouth.
Something very strange had happened. I’d gone from being initially terribly embarrassed, to feeling like I was letting her down, to now being proud about what I was getting out of my arse. It was weirdly satisfying, curiously competitive. She was stood at the end of the bed smiling, talking to me whilst I was visibly and audibly shitting myself. ”Well done! Big chunk!” she congratulated me, obviously impressed. “What have you seen? Toxins? Lumps? Gas?” “Bit of everything”, I giggled, barely containing my excitement. I was showing off now. The thought genuinely crossed my mind: maybe I could ask her out? Then I did a massive fart and thought better of it.
Katerina could see I was having fun, so she left me to it, but not before opening the window slightly to help with the smell. However, the window made the room very drafty, and the door blew open, meaning that everyone in reception could now see directly up my arse. I had eight pairs of eyes trained on me. I began ringing the bell like mad, screaming Katerina’s name. She was nowhere to be seen. I thought “This can’t get any worse”. But suddenly the front door unfolded into reception, and someone else walked in. It was the woman who had given me directions earlier. AT THIS STAGE I WOULD HAVE HAPPILY SHOT MYSELF. She stared at me, I stared at her, she eventually says “Oh…was Zumba full?” At last Katerina comes to my rescue, slamming the door shut. And I begin to cry.