I am forever scarred from this experience.
You see plenty of gross things as a medical student. It never ceases to amaze me what can come out of the human body, or in some situations what people will put inside it. . However the grossest thing I’ve ever seen in medical school occurred far from the operating room or emergency department where most of these stories take place. No, this one happened in the psych ward.
To set the stage, I’m going to need to explain what a colostomy is. Basically, when you have surgery on your bowels, they can’t always just pop them back in and let you poop through them. They need time to heal before you start sending things through the pipe. In some situations they’ll actually cut the bowel into two part. Lower end gets closed off and lies dormant, while the upper end, which is still active, is diverted out through a hole in your abdominal wall.
In case you’re having trouble figuring this all out, yes, that does mean that you would now be pooping out of an artificial hole in your stomach. Pretty gross, huh? Of course, this new exit point isn’t well-controlled like your normal one, so to keep you from staining your shirt, they need to attach a bag to collect your specimens. Ok, stage set…
So my buddy Ryan and I are on the floors in the psych hospital, just taking in all the insanity surrounding us, when we’re approached by a female patient, in her late 60’s, wearing a bathrobe. She comes up to us and asks us if we’re doctors. We tell her, no, we’re medical students. She then proceeds to ask us if she could show us something. At this point, I could only imagine where this was going, but before I had time to object, she tore open her bathrobe to reveal her completely nude body, which featured a freshly filled colostomy bag.
To this day, I still awaken in a cold sweat, just terrorized from the experience. I’ve tried to include a less x-rated image of what I experienced above, but it doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the real life horror tha I endred. It was by far the grossest thing I’ve ever seen in medical school.