Skip to main content

And the diagnosis is...

As I sat on the ugly yellow floor of the bathroom in my suite my first semester at Cottey College, I wondered what was happening to me that my body would rebel against itself so violently. What was happening to me that I would wake up at five o’clock in the morning with a pain in my back far beyond anything I had ever felt before and proceed to get sick seven times within two hours? I had no control over my body, and after those two hours nothing had improved. Luckily, one of my suitemates got up early to study for a test and discovered me hobbling back to my bedroom. She rushed me to the local emergency room where they ushered me into triage and asked me a series of questions, one of them being the most pointless question ever to be uttered by a human tongue, “Can you tell me how much pain you are in? Just on a scale of one to ten?” I looked up at her from the keeled over position I had been in for nearly three hours by that time and muttered, “Ten.” Although, what I wanted to say was “Well, I would say it started out as a ten, but now, I would say it is roughly thirty-seven. Give or take.” Shuffled into a room of my own, luckily set up with an adjoining bathroom, I threw up three more times. It took the nurses six different tries, each in a different spot in my arms, to get an I.V. properly inserted so that they could give me some medication. Finally they did and I was placed on a few different drugs; one to calm my stomach and a couple for the pain. I was fast asleep within fifteen minutes.
After that point I remember very little of that day. I remember my grandma coming in, and then my mom a little later. I vaguely remember being moved to a different room. I spent all day in the hospital, undergoing multiple tests, including one that showed I was severely anemic. Out of a normal 12-hemoglobin count, I had a 7. I was given two blood transfusions before I went into laproscopic surgery at the end of the day to get some answers. The doctors still had no idea what was causing all of these problems. As I woke up slowly from the anesthesia, my vision blurry and my stomach sore, I did not even recall going into surgery. Apparently my mother was crying and telling me how much she loves me, but I have no recollection of it at all. I was wheeled back into my private room where my mom and grandma were waiting and soon the doctor came in to tell us the diagnosis: Crohn’s Disease. 

This is the thrilling tale of the day I was diagnosed. I still only remember bits and pieces, which is why this writing seems a little choppy. A lot of it has been filled in by my friend who took me to the ER, my mom and my grandma. It was an incredibly scary day for all of us. However, it was the day that some pieces of my puzzle began to fit together. For instance, I have had joint pain for most of my life, and it got progressively worse in the months leading up to this day until I was barely able to hobble around my dorm room. Also, I had a severe infection earlier that year, for no apparent reason at all. And, of course, the unexplainable digestive issues that went on for several months prior. On this day, however, everything clicked. It was a long, hard, scary process, but at least I had some answers.

Comments

  1. It was actually 3 units of blood and they put each into a torture device that squeezed the blood into your body as quickly as possible. Scary day.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Overwhelming Nuance - Dancing Crohn's Disease

Below is small segment of my Dance Studies Research Project, "Cripping Dance: Radical Representations of the Disabled Dancing Body." It's the bit I wrote about my own work, Overwhelming Nuance (excerpted below), which, as you will see, was inspired by the feelings of denial that so often accompany disease. 





Nearly four years after I was diagnosed with Crohn's, it flared massively. Lost in the idea that "my disease will not define my life", I ignored for months the signs of the looming crash. This breakdown forced me to come to terms with the reality of my disease. I suddenly understood that the idea that the mind might overcome the body just supported the willful denial of my disease. After this experience, determined to force an openness about disease in my own life, I claimed disability as part of my identity and choreographed my own "crip" coming out.

The issue with "mind over matter"

I think about this pretty constantly. Is "mind over matter" really a thing? Is it really possible to outsmart your body? If so, is this a useful tool? Or is it a harmful lie? Is it just kind of a white lie? Also, (and this is what the whole thing really boils down to for me) is the mind actually separate from the body? Are we our bodies or are we our minds? Do the two have to be mutually exclusive? Or are the mind and the body actually one and the same?

My opinion on this subject has changed drastically and regularly over the years. Early on, right after my diagnosis, I was firmly ensconced in the pro-mind-over-matter camp. Without ever thinking about an alternative, ironically. Actually, this started long before I was diagnosed. For at least a year leading up to my official diagnosis, I experienced intense health issues and paid very little real attention to them. I just kept on going as best I could, thinking these symptoms would go away eventually. This, obviously, did no…

HAWMC Day 9: Keep Calm

Today's prompt is to make your own "Keep Calm" poster. 
I thought for a while about what I wanted to put on mine. Honestly, I think it's pretty hard to do better than "Keep Calm and Carry On." Seriously. It's catchy and it's to the point. Perfect. I considered the raunchy options: Keep Calm and Keep Pooping, Keep Calm and Break Wind. I considered the needy: Keep Calm and Call Mom (I mostly really love that this one kind of rhymes.) Eventually, though I ended up with this:

That pretty much sums it up. Just do your best. I think this is all any of us, chronic disease or not, can expect out of ourselves. It's something I'm trying really hard to keep in mind. Just do your best. That's it.

Oh, and have you guessed what my favorite color is yet?

What would your "Keep Calm" poster say? Make one! Share it in the comments! I would love to see it!