They say dogs are just like their owners. My dog scoots across the carpet on her rear end like an upright, motorized ceramic lawn ornament. The vet says her anal glands are impacted, but I think she has hemorrhoids.
Young people never get hemorrhoids. Once you’re over 40 and you’ve given birth a few times, your body’s entire vascular infrastructure sighs, weakens, and stops trying so hard to keep the fuel lines taut and shipshape. Capillaries seeking sunlight just kind of float up to the surface of your skin and take up permanent residence – tiny, purplish lines etched in permanent marker that show through any makeup that’s thinner than pancake batter.
About the same time spider veins make an appearance, tree roots pop out on your legs, ruining the only part of your body relatively free of wrinkles. In my twenties, I wore Daisy Dukes. In my 30s, Bermuda shorts. Then came capris. Now that I’m in my fifth decade, I favor calf-length pedal pushers that show off my stunningly youthful left ankle. Some day, when lumpy afflictions stop me from wearing any warm weather clothing whatsoever, I’m supposed to retire to someplace hot and humid, like Florida.
I don’t understand the hydraulics of arteries. I don’t know if varicose veins are coming or going, pushing water up the pipe or down, but they seem to be fighting a losing battle with gravity. I’d pay a pretty penny to have a fuel injector device installed between my toes to help everything get back up where it belongs. If the device could extend beyond venal tissues and lift other parts of the body, so much the better. I sometimes wonder if I yank a varicose vein really hard, maybe it would pull up the slack and fix my hemorrhoids.
Doctors don’t care if you have hemorrhoids. That’s because sooner or later, everybody gets them, and it would bankrupt health care as we know it to fix the problem. So all of society pretends it is perfectly acceptable to go about your day with an excruciating condition that is, oh, how to describe Dante’s piles? Something like an amalgamation of poison ivy, a third degree sunburn, and a bit of dental floss stuck in your rear molar.
There’s no relief, just empty pharmaceutical promises. My bathroom is stocked with all kinds of medicinal rear end voodoo. Wipes. Ointments. Gels. Cocoa butter and zinc oxide, which come in handy if you’re sunbathing in the nude. One of the most popular creams contains 3% shark liver oil, which has been shown to be 12% more effective than fish stick suppositories or sitting in a vat of tartar sauce.
The standard treatment – applying witch hazel to your Netherlands – is like putting gasoline on an open wound and then setting it on fire. I guess if something hurts like hell, it doesn’t itch any more.
The problem is that hemorrhoids are invisible to the general public. Things would be different if they popped out on people’s foreheads. There’s a lot of heated debate about health care reform, but nobody is wearing zinc-oxide-white ribbons in support of hemorrhoidal research. If there were a national, anti-hemorrhoids uproar, if hordes of people wearing tweed skirts and wool suits and designer jeans sat down on their bottoms and started scooting across the lawn of the White House, then maybe congress would take notice and fix the problem.