I was in the ER with impacted feces and will explain how it felt to have the doctor put his fingers “in there” and remove the feces–which just kept coming out and out.

Several years ago I was in the emergency room undergoing digital removal of impacted fecal material.

The person performing the digital (finger) removal of the impacted feces was a physician’s assistant (P.A.), with the help of a nurse.

Trust me when I say this: The digital removal of impacted feces doesn’t feel as bad as the actual situation, and if you put yourself in the right mindset, you’ll be able to bear the experience.

I was lying on the ER bed on my side, legs bent, the P.A. and nurse standing behind me.

I actually felt more bad for them than I did for myself, imagining what they were about to go through, though I’m sure they had dealt with much worse situations, and that they hadn’t pursued their medical training without realizing that it’s not all glamour.

If you’ve ever had a colonoscopy and it hurt, you’ll experience a similar sensation as the doctor (or P.A.) makes digital entrance into your anal canal. It feels like the canal is being widened or gently pulled apart to let a finger slip through.

So what I initially felt was the anal opening being stretched apart. I then felt something being pulled out of it, and pulled, and pulled, making me envision sausage links.

Every two or three “pulls,” the P.A. would pause, then re-enter digitally and repeat. This kept happening, making me wonder just how much impacted feces there actually were.

Every time he pulled some fecal matter out, I felt that pulling-apart sensation. Imagine you place your fingertips on either side of the anal entrance and pull your fingers in opposite directions.

This shouldn’t actually hurt, but imagine this exact sensation further down on a pain scale continuum.

Now imagine in addition to that, something being dragged out that’s resisting. As the P.A. was extracting the fecal matter, there was pain, but it wasn’t sharp.

It was a very strong dull kind of pain, not a stabbing type of pain. It was the pain of something being pulled apart against its natural direction.

However, as he continued pulling, there was a component of relief, and perhaps some of this was psychological because I knew I was being emptied of something that didn’t belong inside me.

This psychological element was very important because each very uncomfortable series of pulling meant that there was that much less impacted feces inside me.

Of course, I kept wondering when it was going to end. He’d pause and I’d think, “He’s done.” Then he’d re-enter. As the procedure progressed, I began truly feeling that I was being cleared up.

The pain of the pulling, though again I must stress it wasn’t sharp, was strong enough to make me groan nearly every time he pulled.

I was able to remain still throughout the procedure, so it was easy for him to do the job. I also was not sedated or given any drugs.

He then said he had gotten “most of it,” and that the nurse would be giving me an enema.

Why did I suffer from impacted fecal matter in the first place? I can explain that in one sentence: I had returned from Las Vegas earlier that day after spending five days eating too much of the wrong foods.

The P.A. said I had three or four days’ worth of impacted feces. He even had asked during the procedure if I’d been eating differently recently. The pain of the digital removal prevented me from articulating a full sentence, but I mumbled an affirmative and nodded my head.