The time I experienced explosive diarrhea on my first day at a new job

I’m pretty sure this is what nightmares are made of. It was my first full-time job out of college.  I was managing accounts for a small prosthetics and orthotics supply and fabrication company.  We had a fairly large manufacturing area, but only about 12 people working there.  I was nervous about my first day at a new company, and had spent most of the day with the owner learning my position.  The day started with a trip to Starbucks to meet and discuss the specifics of the position over coffee.  A few hours later, we had lunch at a greasy spoon diner that we referred to as “old folks” because pretty much only old people ate there.  After lunch, I settled down to start digging through paperwork of some sort on my own (thank god) and my stomach started to grumble a bit.  Then it began gurgling.  I knew what was coming, but avoided it at all costs.  20 minutes later I had broken out in a cold sweat and had no memory of what I had done for the previous 10 minutes other than squeeze my anus shut and double over in cramps.  At that point that it became apparent I wasn’t going to make it through the rest of my day.

 I had to come up with a game plan. The building had 2 single-person bathrooms.  One looked out into the primary manufacturing area where everyone was. Getting to this one would require passing through 2-3 different rooms and the door was directly next to a computer.  That bathroom risked too much exposure.  The other bathroom was about 5 feet down a short hall and opened up to a small room (that at the time was empty) where carbon fiber devices were laminated.  It seemed like a no-brainer.  I chose the close room with nobody in it.

 That was a poor, poor choice.  As my diagram below will illustrate (and I learned the hard way that day), the carbon fiber lamination room experiences some toxic chemicals, and as a result, has a very robust ventilation system.  So robust in fact, that it sucks air from the bathroom, even if the bathroom fan is on.  Now this wouldn’t necessarily be terrible, except that the path that the air takes rakes through the three workstations.  See diagram below.

embarrassment diagram

So here’s how this played out.  Nobody was in the lamination room.  I snuck into the bathroom, turned on the bathroom fan, and unleashed a brown river of patty melt, mocha, and garlic fries upon the commode. I emptied my entire digestive tract into that toilet, then as I was about to sigh with relief, wipe, wash my hands, and GTFO before anyone learned of my indiscretions, it happened.  4 production guys came into the lamination room to begin working on various prosthetic devices.  I froze.  Nobody knew that I was in the bathroom.  I sat there, with my asshole burning from last night’s burrito, trying to plan my next move when I heard the lamination room’s ventilation fan kick on.  A minute later, I heard the exclamations of disgust coming from the lamination room.  As I hunkered down, pants around my ankles, careful not to make any additional noise, I once again broke out into a cold sweat.  This time not from physical discomfort, but emotional.  I was going to be the girl who shit up the bathroom on her first day.

“Oh, NASTY!”
“Ugh, what did Scott have for lunch?”
“Oh man, he seriously blew it up in there!”
“This is terrible, I’m out of here.”

This exchange solidified 2 things for me.  1) I was not going to leave that bathroom while people remained in the lamination room under any circumstances, and 2) they thought it was someone else who had detonated a shit grenade in the lavoratory.  Great success.  I just had to wait them out.  And wait I did.  For probably 30 minutes I hid in that bathroom, waiting for everyone to clear out of that room and allow me to slink back to my office.

Over a year later, I was out to beers with the guys when I admitted what had transpired.  They told me that they all suspected that it was me, but didn’t know if I could take the shaming at the time, so kept their mouths shut.  Thank goodness for understanding coworkers.  That’s still the funnest place I’ve ever worked.

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