Dear intestines, this has all been one very funny joke, but I’d appreciate if you’d stop now.
I have a correction: they weren’t my sheets; they were my girlfriend’s.
For the first time, another person, aside from a doctor, had witnessed my disease firsthand. It was embarrassing, to say the least.
Thankfully, we had been dating for around two years before this happened, so we were pretty comfortable with each other, our faults and imperfections. I would be able to talk about it—without going into too much detail, of course—and open up to her.
- I think having someone, whether it’s a significant other, family member or good friend, to talk about your inflammatory bowel disease with is one key aspect on the road to recovery. Not many people will understand, but having at least one person helps, for sure. And, hey, if they don’t mind talking about your bloody diarrhea, well, they just might be a keeper!
On the same token, ulcerative colitis was still very foreign to me at this point, so, really, I couldn’t say too much about it. Both she and I still had much to learn.
- Indeed, it was just the beginning.
So, my next step was to schedule another appointment with my GI, while hers was to, well, wash those sheets.
At my appointment, I was prescribed more mesalamine, this time in an oral form and an enema. This meant still administering nighty; however, it was in liquid form (think nasal spray), as well as swallowing four horse pills every morning.
That night, I awkwardly sprawled on the bathroom floor and completed my first dose of the enema. The next morning, I took my first dose of the pills.
A few hours later, I was in the emergency room.
I was experiencing intense stomach pains that I originally thought resting would assuage. After some prodding by that very same girlfriend to seek out medical help, she drove me to the emergency room to get checked out.
There, my symptoms got worse, and more symptoms came. I was in the most pain than, to this day, I have ever experienced and some pretty gross things were happening on both ends of my body, at the same time… in the middle of the hallway…
“I’m sorry,” I kept repeating. I truly meant it, but I couldn’t control what my body was experiencing. While writhing in pain, I got pricked for a blood test. The nurse missed the first time and blood started seeping from my arm. I didn’t care, to be honest. I was delirious.
I remember my girlfriend with tears in her eyes and my mother also doing her best to remain calm—while calming me down in the process.
- Mothers are good like that. Mine is, at least. We hadn’t necessarily been getting along the best, but when family needs family, they’re always there for you. I remember her voice comforting me, her hand gripping my hand and the peace she brought in that intense moment. A mother’s love is unrelenting and unconditional, and that surely comes in handy during these moments. Again, sometimes, it’s just nice to know someone cares.
The morpheme would keep my pain at bay for a brief moment. During one of those lulls, I remember my doctor explaining I had pancreatitis, likely from the new medicines I was taking. Like ulcerative colitis, I wasn’t exactly sure what it was, but, supposedly, it’s pretty serious.
- A few days later, I was watching TV and one of those awful medicine ads came on. On the long list of possible side effects of this particular medicine was pancreatitis, “which could be fatal,” according to the commercial. My jaw dropped out of place and my eyes bulged from their sockets as I thought, “Holy crap…”
Thankfully, I survived that night, plus another one or two after being admitted into the hospital. Once I was home, I happily kissed mesalamine goodbye forever.