Is there a male menopause? As a man in his mid-50s, I have recently become aware of getting older. Increasing age has had a curious effect on my psyche. I am noticing, on an almost daily basis, that I am thinking, feeling and behaving in ways that are starkly different from my youth and earlier adulthood. I will share these experiences on this blog and hope others will join me in describing their own age-related quirks and oddities. I can't be the only one at this "funny age", can I??
Courtesy of Arvind Balaraman at
After a wonderful two-weeks holiday in Egypt, I returned
home to the UK with a tan and the shits. And I don’t mean any run-of-the-mill
shits; this was an erupting-mount-Vesuvius-with-an-explosive-personality-disorder
For 8 days I spent my time within a 3-metre safety zone of
the nearest lavatory, fearing to tread beyond this imaginary line in case the angry
Egyptian god of the large intestine decided to make yet another unwelcome
appearance. During this extended period of captivity, I often pondered the
source of the bug that had decided to squat in the depths of my gut: I had
followed advice, and drank none of the tap water; I’m obsessive about washing
my hands thoroughly prior to each meal and after using the loo; and we tourists
were repeatedly reassured that bottled water was routinely deployed to wash all
the salads and other food stuffs.
Alas, the likely cause of my spectacular rear-end emissions
occurred to me: contaminated beer glasses. The 7-day cruise along the Nile
River had witnessed several of my fellow tourists succumb to ‘tummy upsets’ and
it occurred to me that all those stricken were lager drinkers. On several
occasions, late in the evenings, the boat staff had ran out of clean glasses
and were forced to rinse the used ones; I’m certain they resorted to tap water
on these occasions thereby exposing my inner tubing to over 2000-years’ worth
of detritus that had been slopped into the ancient river.
Motivated by her constant fear of being shat on in bed at
night, Mrs Jones persuaded me to seek medical assistance and so I ventured out
the house to consult my local doctor.
‘I’ll require a stool sample’ he said, while handing me a flimsy
plastic pot with a red spoon in it, rather like the ones used for eating ice
cream from a tub.
‘Here and now?’ I asked, while disturbing images of me
squatting in the corner of his office pushed into my mind.
‘No no’, he said with a tolerant smile, ‘take the pot home
with you. When you next feel the urge to open your bowels, place several layers
of toilet tissue in the bowl and, once you’ve emptied, scoop out a piece and
return it to the reception desk for analysis.’
As I sped home, I suspected the doc had failed to grasp the
extent of my looseness. ‘Scoop out a piece?’ Think water-bomb with flecks of
sand and you will be getting closer to the essence of my lavatory experience.
Within minutes of arriving home, the irresistible rumble
returned. Upon reaching the bathroom, I decided upon my own strategy to capture
a sample of dung. I stripped naked, wrapped toilet tissue around my hand and
forearm and squatted above the toilet bowl. At the point of detonation, I swung
the plastic pot to-and-fro under my arse; it was a bit like wafting a thimble
over the nozzle of an over-pressurised hose-pipe.
Courtesy of Tuomas_Lehtinen at
Having successfully captured a splash of excrement, the next
morning I returned to the doctor’s surgery, my specimen bottle hidden deep in
my jacket pocket – it may have been my imagination, but passers-by seemed to
stare at me, as if they had insider information about my secret cargo; or
perhaps I just stank of shit.
At the reception window, the practice nurse casually
collected my specimen while munching on a cheese and tomato sandwich – such professionalism!
Within 48 hours, the bug had been identified and a 7-day course of antibiotics
successfully rid me of the bacterial intruder.
So if you are contemplating a visit to Egypt, the threat of
terrorism is the least of your worries. It is the intestine-grasping revenge of
the Nile River that you should fear. Don’t say you’ve not been warned.