Our theme for the month of October is “flash nonfiction.” Writers were asked to submit pieces that were 250 words or less.

My mom and I sat on plastic chairs deep in the basement of the Cleveland Clinic. She kept time while I drank two bottles of contrast. Upon draining the last bottle, I felt an uncomfortable urge, and then panic. “I think I just pooped myself,” I whispered. Mom’s surprise matched my own, but I shuffled bravely to the nurses station where I explained to a kind nurse that I would need a pair of panties before my enterography. She quickly gathered a pack of wipes, a new pair of hospital pants, and a bulky adult diaper. I cleaned myself up in the bathroom before clumsily putting the diaper on. 

I laid on my stomach in the scanner, and in the most humiliating moments of my young life, I actively pooped myself for forty-five minutes. At its worst, after they administered medication to halt the movement of my intestines, I was also fighting the urge to vomit. A nurse stood at my head, encouraging me to take slow breaths. While tears dripped to the end of my nose, I whispered an apology for the smell.

When it was over, my mom and a team of compassionate nurses helped me clean up and put a fresh diaper and gown on before sliding into a wheelchair. Their compassion in maintaining my dignity during those harsh moments is what stuck with me. It’s not a happy memory, but a lesson in the holiness of our smallness, and the gift of humble service when we are weakest.

7 Comments

  1. Dawn

    You are the absolutely mast amazing young woman I have ever known. Not because you have suffered so, but because you move forward every single time from each challenge.

    Reply
    • Ansley

      So many people would find the same strength. It’s what we do, playing the hand we’re dealt.

      Reply
  2. Michele

    I’m so proud of you for sharing your story. I love you more and more as I know you.

    Reply
    • Ansley

      Thanks so much Michele ❤️

      Reply
    • Vickie Wheeler

      Thanks for sharing and I am sorry you go through so much suffering with your illness. You are in my prayers

      Reply
  3. Alex Johnson

    Wow, Ansley. The only word that comes to mind is harrowing. I’m thankful that you were surrounded by such lovely people.

    Reply
    • Ansley

      Me too! Compassionate, skilled caregivers are an incredible gift.

      Reply

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