More Than Just Hot Air…

Fountain in Lucerne

“…and so when treating congestive heart failure, you need to include…”

I felt a significant bit of flatus building. Sooner or later I was going to have to let it go. Surrounding me at the conference table were my fellow residents, their eyes focused on the PowerPoint slide presentation projecting onto the wall. Beads of perspiration started on my forehead.

The lecturer for the Thursday afternoon didactic session was an old cardiologist from the community.

But not just any cardiologist.

Oh, no.

He was the biggest, most giant prick of all cardiologists and as such, there was no way in hell I would be able to stand up and walk out without inciting his wrath. That would not bode well for the next late night cardiology consult I had to call in.

However, I also knew I could not hold the fart in much longer. Fortunately, my chair was upholstered. If I let it go bit by bit, hopefully the odor would lodge in all of that padding, slowly dissipating at undetectable levels while I got my much needed relief.

So I did it.

“…beta blockers…”

Little bit.


By little bit.

“…checking the ejection fraction…”

Until it was all gone. 

I shifted slightly at the very end because of the sensation that there was a bit of the gas trapped between my butt cheeks. 

Suddenly, my blood ran cold.

What was that sensation? Like KY jelly glopped at the butt crack. (You are not allowed to ask how I know how that felt but suffice it to say that was probably not as erotic or painless as one would like to imagine.)

What he hell happened here?!?!?

And then it came to me. I started taking a weight loss medication a few days prior called orlistat. Several of the female residents were taking it because the drug reps had brought a ton of samples. Residency causes depression and that combined with sleep deprivation had brought a number of unwanted pounds for all of us. 

This drug was well known for causing greasy stools. The night before I had eaten pizza. Rather than stop myself from eating that extra two or three pieces of pepperoni pizza, I thought, “Well, no worries! I will just poop all of that fat out…” Apparently I had just had a greasy fart. 

Please, God, don’t let it be soaking through my scrubs.

The lecture ended. There was a polite smattering of applause, while we all seethed with deep hate for this man inside. Everyone stood up, shuffling like the zombies we were back to our pod areas to catch up on clinic notes and paperwork. I waited until no one was looking then stood myself (back against the wall) and surreptitiously slid a hand back to brush my backside. 


Greasy fingers.

I looked down at the chair.

Well. You know what that upholstery probably looked like…

Fortunately, I had draped my white coat over the back of the chair when I sat down so I threw that back on for cover and ducked past the cardiologist who was chatting genially (prick that he was) with the program director at the doorway. I made a beeline for the bathroom and cleaned as best I could and sat on my foot at my desk the rest of the afternoon to keep from staining more furniture. Fortunately I was post call and had no more patient contact that day.

That, ladies and gents, was THE most embarrassing event of my entire life to that point, excluding the events surrounding my first period which is another story for another time. It was also when I really started hating drug reps…

And now everyone who felt gipped by my Breaking Wind post earlier this week not actually having anything to do with farts can now feel vindicated and hopefully Jane can now giggle herself to sleep tonight at my farting expense! 

Photo taken in Lucerne, Switzerland.


120 thoughts on “More Than Just Hot Air…

  1. Hilarious, although I’m sure not for you at the time πŸ™‚ Thank you so much for this post. Just once again pointing out how human we all are. I wonder how many of us could put ourselves in this same situation, perhaps only with a slightly different meeting, or a bit of variance in clothing…BEST. POST. TODAY.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Wow! I’m am…impressed. You are human.
    Up until now I thought, “MD, writer, poet, photographer, mother, sensitive, well-spoken, blah-blah-blah…perfect.
    Now I know.
    Thank you.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Perhaps you should have become a gastroenterologist, seeing as how you can identify … (I’m pretty sure none of them actually poops or farts based on how they act …)

    Great story. I feel so less alone …

    Liked by 3 people

  4. If laughter is the best medicine then clearly you’re the best doctor ever because I’ve never laughed so hard. Not AT you, but WITH you. I’ve been there….not the weight-loss drug part, but the part about needing to let out gas (or worse, run to the bathroom to have diarrhea) while being surrounded by people. Agh. Thanks for making such an awkward situation seem so much lighter.

    Also, the whole time I was reading this I was thinking UPHOLSTERY UPHOLSTERY UPHOLSTERY. Exactly the reason why I try to steer clear of it (and carpet, of course).

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Hoooooooly Shit. That was riveting. We were watching a UFC event a little while back and one of the fighters had pooped himself and the stain was quite evident. Then he was choked out by his opponent. In a stadium. On Fox Sports. So at least you weren’t fighting in a cage with peanut butter bum. But still . . .

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Crazy funny now, but I can’t imagine the nerves and discomfort then. Guess we’re all the same, except not most of us act like this would never happen. To us. Well, it does and we fib about it. πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ Good on you for telling it like it is. We have all the same chips and mechanisms. πŸ˜›

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Literally laughing outloud. Not literally laughing my ass off. Holy crap! I think I’d still be sitting in that same chair, today, never having the courage to stand up, ever. I came close to this once while shopping, because of the diet potato chips that used Olestra, but not, not…. :::laughing::: hooboy, not in a professional conference!

    You know we are laughing WITH you right? There but for the grace of god go I? etc?

    Liked by 3 people

    • LOL! You can laugh at me, fear not! It was a stupid, stupid thing to do. I never wrote that prescription for anyone again. Everyone that I knew who took it did not limit the fat in their diet like they were supposed to in order to keep that from happening, much like me. I was not an isolated case, as it turns out…

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Great story. But I do have a comment or two and a question. First, I refer to what you experienced as a “shart.” That basically is a fart where a little bit of, well, shit, also is expelled. Never a good feeling. Second, as to feeling like “KY jelly glopped at the butt crack,” that’s the feeling I have after a prostate exam. The doc then hands me a tissue and issues the order, “clean yourself up.”

    But now for the big questions. That chair you sat in at the conference table, the one you looked down at and saw what was on the upholstery. Did you leave it there or did you pull it away from the conference table and put a sign on it that said, “out of service.” Because if you just left it there, I can imagine that the next person who sat in that chair after you was not a happy camper.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can reassure you that while I do not have a prostate, I do understand the feeling quite well. Sadly. As for the out of service sign, I went back the next day, early, under cover of darkness. The chair was gone. There was no shart. Technically it was not poo…. But call it what you will. It was not “normal”!

      Liked by 2 people

  9. There is something to be said about the level of comfort this gives to many of us. It doesn’t make me happy that this is what happens. It gives me comfort that we truly are just all …. the same. πŸ™‚ Okay….and some laughing. Now. But if I was with you then I would have felt bad for you and been a decoy for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Sometimes we get away with non-consequential stuff. Sometimes we don’t. I really like when we get away with non-consequential stuff. I really shake my head when we don’t, like, would it spoil some vast eternal plan to simply expel gas unnoticed?

    Way to keep the brave face on. And to have the jacket ready πŸ˜€

    Liked by 2 people

    • It was only by the grace of God that it worked out. If I had been found out I would now posses a nick-name that would follow me around until the day I die! The one I had was much, much cooler than the myriad of alternatives!


  11. OMG>.::ggggiggllllee::: I was crying reading this…. Finished dinner as I figured what was coming…….unlike some people….I am totally laughing at your expense.
    Now I know what happened to me. I must have sat in the chair you messed…. I did sit in someone’s mess. My experience was more that I did not know that I had stained my skirt. The slip I had on was clean because I checked but…my light blue flowered, very pale skirt…had a big diarrhea tan stain (it was not coffee) centrally located…which I was wearing while I was teaching a group of new clinicians….circling and swirling around in front of them, leaning forward over the table to demonstrate something….no way anyone missed it. I found out because one of the new people told my preceptor and she had the balls to tell me. And sure enough, I was branded. I spent the rest of the week wondering who saw because I had walked all over the building also.
    …. I would have loved to see how high your eyebrows shot up when you realized what had happened….. :::snerk snerk:::
    You are the best!
    I hope we can swap the horror of menses messes next! I have a couple of doozies….one includes a upholstered chair in the center of a packed teacher conference.
    Its great to be human. Thanks for the laugh. Love you Doc!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. ROTFLMAO!!!! FINALLY! The doc quits dancing around the topic and just puts it out there!!! YESSSS!!! You’re my hero, heroess, heroine, whatever…you’re ACES in my book. GREAT post. Made my day, in fact.

    Yes, as another reader so eloquently mentioned, I prefer the word “shart” too. I do think that may indeed be a technical term. If not, it should be. I’ve learned about those the hard way. Now I keep a spare pair of undershorts in my locker at work and another set in my car for just such occasions.

    I also find it rather humorous that yesterday, I too wrote a blog post on the very same subject. I’m waiting ’til April Fool’s Day to share it though. I somehow see that as rather appropriate.

    Now I believe I may have laughed so hard I think I have to change my undergarments. I can’t wait for my wife to get home. She’s bound to leave something on the sofa after she reads it. Oh well, won’t be the first time…won’t be the last!

    Thanks for the laugh, Doc…you’re more fun than a barrel of monkeys!!


    Liked by 1 person

  13. And now you know what we’ll be thinking of every time we see your blog title, Behind the White Coat. πŸ˜‰

    I would love to see a post on what has happened since then that has been *more* embarrassing πŸ˜€

    On a related note – during his first week of first grade this year, Little Man came home with different clothes on. I asked him what happened and he told me he had an accident. He continued, “I was on the playground when I had the accident. I went up and told the substitute teacher that I had a wet toot. She didn’t say anything for a little while.” I can only imagine what was going through that teacher’s head.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Apparently this is more likely to happen as we get older. My dad was terribly embarrassed by his first grown up accident at 83 in his Sunday school class. A friend went to his house to get him some clean clothes. Last week, Dad’s other friend had an accident in a restaurant and came to use Dad’s bathroom to clean up. It really helped Dad to not feel so alone, like your post. And humor is so healthy in these situations!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is as if the powers that be have to take every last shred of dignity before we leave this earth. I hate that anyone has to endure that but once you reach a certain age that sort of accident should not have to be endured. If I were ruler of the universe…..

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Doctor, if everyone could be as witty and as honest we would be laughing our asses off on a daily basis. I’ve neve crapped in my underwear but I’ve had to run from the nursing station once when I waited too long to stop typing, As I ran I expelled gas(flatus) but there was only one patient in the hallway responding to inner voices. I barely made it to the bathroom. That taught me to never put off the urge to defecate. Your post had me cringing and laughing all at the same time. Your anguish and anxiety were very real. But like everyone else, I laughed till my side hurt. It was not at you but, the situation and your witty manner of writing about the ordeal.

    Oh and your pun about the GI docs. They have to put up with too much crap. Priceless. .

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Teaching a class of boys and girls who are aged about 13 or fourteen where boys have no idea about anything and girls have their periods at inconvenient times meant accepting sudden and tearful outbursts and running to the bathroom and me having to pretend I didn’t know and the idiot boys not knowing and ……………………Sometimes life can become a little confusing.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Eek. That’s all I can say, really. And possibly urk. You dealt with it so coolly… I have no idea what I would have done in that situation. I suppose maybe just announce very loudly, ‘I have just farted appallingly!’ and wait for the room to clear. Shame you couldn’t have blamed that cardiologist.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Reblogged this on Chaos Theory and Human Pharmacology and commented:
    Bravo! Thank you for writing and posting, wonderful story!!

    By the way, it made me also curious, orlistat (I know that there is surely publication bias here, but how much could it be?).

    Hmmm… Let’s see…
    Search Query (Today – Mar 6th, 2015): Orlistat
    Results: 50 NCT Numbers
    Completed before January 1st, 2014): 40 NCT Numbers
    Database Downloaded and Converted to Google SpreadSheets: Open (worldwide – except in countries with restrictions):

    PubMed Search Query (Today – Mar 6th, 2015):

    – 31 study registers Not Found:

    NCT01332448, NCT01170806, NCT01414465, NCT00601354, NCT01550926, NCT01719419, NCT01003483, NCT00461799, NCT01126970, NCT00752726, NCT00001723, NCT00871845, NCT01475019, NCT00207311, NCT01320228, NCT01035333, NCT01797757, NCT00152360, NCT00940628, NCT01387243, NCT01351753, NCT00533481, NCT00794963, NCT00212199, NCT01047657, NCT00541762, NCT00759993, NCT01152931, NCT00320333, NCT00419289, NCT00317057.

    – 9 study registers found: 13 matching articles — Database in the following URL:

    Pending Embase (to be continued…)

    Right now, I’ll just stop writing and suggest you to read this awesome story reblogged from Victor Dolore’s Blog: Behind The White Coat — URL:


  19. Pingback: My Article Read (3-5-2015) | My Daily Musing

  20. Oh dear. I’ve had that happen with stomach bugs, but it’s never just happened (yet, knock wood!)
    Years ago, a lovely bug went through our whole family, and nothing was safe. Everyone’s bed linens, everyone’s undies, much carpet, so many towels…my husband did have the privilege of vomiting his instant vomit out of doors, lol!
    I so remember that drug, that chemical, with the potato chips or something — anal leakage. I never have been much a fan of chips, thank tacos.
    I’m glad you escaped without notice, although one would think a group of doctors would be more understanding…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, my…I’m so sorry!

      It certainly isn’t funny at the time, but explosive diarrhea (geez, I can never spell it right without looking) can be funny in retrospect. I’ll never forget…both my dad and I had a sudden onset from something we ate. We both raced for the bathroom at the same time (thank GOD there were two in the house). I made it in time. He didn’t. He lost it just as he was pulling his pants down. Ever since then, our family has called it “the shotguns”.

      We sure weren’t laughing then…but it’s “oh so funny” now! LOL!


      Liked by 2 people

  21. Thank you for your honesty! This reminded me of an article by Roger Angell, who still writes for The New Yorker magazine at age 94. He said:

    “The thoughts of age are short, short thoughts. I don’t read Scripture and cling to no life precepts, except perhaps to Walter Cronkite’s rules for old men, which he did not deliver over the air:

    Never trust a fart. Never pass up a drink. Never ignore an erection.”

    Well, at least one out of the three applies here. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  22. That really made me laugh. I had a similar experience when i discovered, through the medium of a fart that was not a fart, that I had the noro virus. 50 minutes home on the tube afterwards was interesting.



    Liked by 1 person

  23. Well covered Victo. As the owner of a colostomy, I can honestly say you handled that well. Wearing black, carrying a coat, always having the closest washroom in mind, these are all things that help. i’ll tell you another secret that isn’t always helpful but can be amusing – broad spectrum antibiotics administered over an extended period will make your shit smell like flowers in the garden – no kidding. This can remove a great deal of the embarrassment.from the incident when fecal matter escapes. Like having a bunch of daisies in your underwear – Ha! I discovered this by accident. Unfortunately killing all the bacteria in your gut is not a healthy thing – as nice as it may smell.

    Liked by 1 person

    • OMG! You are so awesome! Seriously. Truthfully, I have never been close enough to poo after broad spectrum antibiotics to be able to tell a floral smell but I am so grateful to have you share that tidbit. I LOVE that kind of trivia. Thank you so much! πŸ™‚


  24. One of the advantages of having a guide dog who goes everywhere with me is that if the need to release excess gas becomes uncontrolable I have my four-legged friend to take the blame. Not, of course that I would ever allow my dog to take responsibility for my actions …

    Liked by 1 person

  25. I’ve read this post yesterday, and this morning while I was having one of my daily bowel movements, I all of a sudden remembered a few lines from this, and started giggling uncontrollably. This is incredible, thank you, thank you and thank you! πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

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