As I am writing this I am feeling nauseous and uncomfortable: My stomach is doing the funky chicken dance and I’m trying to tell myself not to panic. It’s all over now. I am home. I am safe. It was just a colonic irrigation.
Let me explain why I thought getting a tube put up my ass by a stranger and paying 80 dollars for it would somehow be a positive experience. Every year, when spring comes, I get this deep urge to make changes or to incorporate some new experiences in my daily life. Learning a new language, starting a new course, buying a gym pass -– all these things happen when the snow melts and the flowers blossom.
So this spring I decided, why not get a cleansed-out bowel? I’ve heard it’s the latest accessory and I don’t want to be left behind like the time I missed the hype around the Real Housewives of Atlanta.
But before I let you into my personal colonic experience, let me explain what a colonic irrigation, or a colon cleanse as it also is called, actually is. It is a way to eliminate toxins and waste material from the colon and the intestinal tract. It is said to help maintain a healthy pH balance, boost the immune system, clear your skin and reduce bloating and headache.
Apparently it’s awesome and since colon cleanses can be traced back to the ancient Egypt, I thought, why the hell not? If the same people that gave us pyramids and mummies (thaaank you) did it, then I wasn’t going to pass!
Having done my extensive research online on the subject of colonic irrigations, I soon found out that most doctors oppose the treatment and that the majority of news sites reported the method to not only be useless but outright dangerous, causing side effects like cramping, kidney failure and even heart attacks.
Now, this information probably would have scared off any sane person from trying a colon cleanse, but I decided to still try it and called up the health clinic and booked an appointment.
When I got to the place (which was located in a basement), an older woman who claimed she had performed colon cleanses on herself for over 30 years greeted me. She met all my worried questions with a smile and said that this cleanse was the best for everything.
“If I feel a cold coming on, I just flush myself, and away it goes” she said and led me to a small room where some kind of dreadful installation of a combined bed and toilet was placed in the middle.
As she told me to strip off everything below the waist she explained to me what was going to happen. I was going to lay down on this “bed,” she was going to stick a tube up my colon and flush water in. Everything would then be discarded into the toilet bowl that was tilted up on the end of the bed. Just another Friday night.
She didn’t even get the tube in properly before I panicked. What if something went wrong? Had she disinfected it properly? What if too much water went inside me and I couldn't get it all out?
She gave me an odd look and explained tiredly that this was something that was supposed to be relaxing and meditative. Meditative my ass, I thought wildly, and almost cried when she started the session; she would let water come inside, I would yell stop when I started to feel uncomfortable (I just had to say stop but I yelled) and she would stop the water flow and let things flow freely.
10 minutes. That’s how long I could handle it. A sixth of the actual time I had paid for. I just couldn’t do it. I kept playing up horrible scenarios in my head where the water would keep filling my intestines until they exploded or how I would drown from the inside out (?). I told her I couldn’t do this and she gave me a disappointed look but freed me from the water-pumping beast.
As I was leaving I thanked her a million times but told her that this just wasn’t for me: I would just rather go back to being a normal bulimic again than doing these flushes. She didn’t get the joke and led me to the door in frustrated silence.
As I bow my head in shame I still get a chill down my spine thinking about the horrifying "toiletbed"
So what’s the conclusion?
I’m sure colon cleanses are great for some people who are experiencing troubles with their stomachs, but for me it was just a bit too much to handle, maybe because I don’t have any issues with my bowels in the first place. I don’t know, maybe it’s like coffee and wine, maybe it will grow on me. Maybe one day I’ll be sophisticated enough to enjoy a proper colon cleanse and love it.
But for now, all I can say is this: if your imagination has a tendency to scare you, don’t do drugs or a colonic irrigation - because ya’ll be scaring yourself shitless. Literally.