Note: all the pictures within are ENTIRELY safe for work. Really!
It is not for me to judge what people do for kicks. I mean, however many fully consenting adults are involved, hey, whatever.
But there are some things that people do that just seem...ill-advised. And raise more questions than they answer. For example: HOW does someone get a "personal sized" volume of concrete mix? Can you ask for that at the Home Depot? And why, exactly, would you want to take said personal volume of concrete mix and put it where the sun don't shine?
And what was with the ping pong ball, anyway?!
Stephens and Taff. "Rectal Impaction Following Enema with Concrete Mix" The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology, 1987.
(Figure 2. Do you want to know what this is? Do you REALLY?)
If you've spent any time (A) on the internet or (B) watching shows like "Scrubs", you'll know that people like to put things up their butts. Sometimes these things have a medical purpose. Sometimes these things are cruel jokes perpetrated by frat brothers. Sometimes these things are in temporary butt storage until they make it into prison or through customs. Often, however, these things are for sexual kicks. Usually, these items are pretty harmless: plastic things made for the purpose, say, or body parts which are attached to the body and therefore removed with relative ease.
But sometimes people aren't so smart. And when people aren't smart about shoving things in their body cavities, they end up in the emergency room.
And one of the ways to be...not so smart about putting things in your orifices would be putting things in that you cannot get out.
You know, like concrete.
I'm not really sure of the rationale behind this one, but apparently a guy came in to the ER complaining of severe bowel distress. Painfully (and probably in severe embarrassment), the guy let the doctors know that he and his partner had been fooling around. The partner mixed some liquid concrete, and used a funnel to pour it into the first guy's rectum. And about four hours later, here he was in the ER.
The doctors took some x rays.
(Figure 1. This is not what a normal pelvis looks like)
The white mass you can see in the center is the concrete. But you'll notice at the top a little round hole. That's not a hole.
It's a ping pong ball. Because why stop with just concrete, you know?
What amazes me most about this case is that they got the concrete out WITHOUT SURGERY. This guy was walking around with a OVER HALF A POUND of hardened concrete in his rectum, perfectly contoured to all the nooks and crannies in there (nooks and crannies. You'll never look at an English muffin the same way again), and they got it out without having to tear him open. My hat is off to the doctors. They just knocked him out, put in a catheter on either side of the rectum to relieve the suction around the concrete, and pulled. And "A concrete cast of the rectum was delivered without incident". The guy went home the next day, presumably cured of any desire to go anywhere near concrete again.
The authors of the case study had a lot to say about the kind of person who would put concrete up his rectum. They begin with a history of people who get a lot of enemas in childhood, and apparently develop "klismaphilia". They hypothesize that this guy got a lot of enemas as a child and, like the good Freudians they were, they concluded that this resulted in the concrete incident. I think they really could have just asked the guy.
But what about the ping pong ball? Again, they didn't ASK the patient, but they thought the ping pong ball got put last. As a kind of stopper. It ended up WAY up there because ping pong balls are filled with air, and will be a lot less dense than concrete. So before the concrete hardens the ball would have moved upward toward the top of the concrete mass, but the hardened stopped it from making it all the way to the top. The authors suggest that the peristaltic contractions of the rectum (probably from trying to get the concrete OUT), might have also succeeded in keeping the ping pong ball IN.
So remember, friends. The rectum has its limits. And concrete? That's just too hard of a subject.
Today's Friday Weird Science comes to you from Mary Roach's new book Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal. If this doesn't make you want to read it, what will?