"I have to stay home and take care of my husband," said my friend Sarah on the phone yesterday morning, as I called in on my way to work.
"What's wrong with him?" I asked. "Sleeping sickness? Loss of limb? Swine flu?"
"Even worse," she said. "Hemorrhoids."
"Get out!" I cried out delightedly, the ten-year-old boy inside me rearing his wicked little head.
"Yeah," she said. "He has this huge hemorrhoid. It's bigger than a baby's fist! You should see it."
I thought about that for a minute. "Um, no. I'd rather not," I replied.
"He's had it all week-end, and it just keeps getting bigger and bigger. So, I'm taking him to the doctor this morning."
Around noon, Sarah came in to work for about an hour. Curious, I scuttled out of my cubicle and moved over to her desk. "So how did things go?"
"Oh, it was awful!" she whispered, her eyes growing wide. "They had to lance the hemorrhoid and drain it, and it was disgusting to watch. There was all this clotted blood spewing out of it! And even worse..." She closed her eyes and winced. "After they were done, the doctor told me that after I got him home, I was going to have to drain it for him."
"Drain it?" I asked.
"By squeezing down on the hemorrhoid...like a teabag!" I recoiled from her desk, shaken to my very core.
"Corb," I said that night, as we were buying dinner dinner at the Stop and Grab. "I love you very much, but I don't know if I'd ever be able to squeeze your giant hemorrhoids like a teabag."
Corb raised an eyebrow, amused. "Oh really?"
"No, sorry," I said. "I thought that story about Bobby Brown digging poop out of Whitney's bum was gross and unreasonable, and surely a sign of true love. But as much as I truly love you, I just couldn't dig poop out of your bum. And I truly, truly, couldn't squeeze your hemorrhoids, no matter how much you needed me to. We'd have to hire a maid."
Corb thought about that for a moment. "Fair enough."
As we were packing the groceries into the car, I turned to him. "I wonder though," I said. "I mean, if you love someone, I guess you could do anything. It would be nauseating, but I guess...well, maybe you wouldn't have to hire a maid."
"What I want to know is, how is he going to the bathroom? Using toilet paper? That must be agony."
"She says he's been constipated for three days. Maybe it's nature's way of compensating," I said. And then, I paused for a moment. "Could you?"
Corb opened up his car and looked at me. "Could I what?"
"You know...pop mine? If I really needed you to?"
"No," said Corb, shaking his head. "But I'd be happy to hand you a pair of plyers."