Booster Seat

 As I sit pondering what to write next, I wonder, how deep do I intend to go introspectively? How much will this aid other’s with their struggles, or if nothing else, for a bit of comic relief? I cannot answer for anyone else, only myself, thus, the story continues.

Among a sea of restrictions, which anyone with IBS relates, the first few are the struggles to maintain a mapped out, laminated, updated directory of close circuit, easily accessible, clean bathrooms plus a supply of stretchy clothes kept in the car. Those treasure hunts are unpredictable. Too many times, I’ve had to ask the person I’m riding with to pull over immediately, then will myself to make it through a store entrance, locate an employee and ask where the bathroom was, while clenching. This gets old, not to mention embarrassing, not to mention the pain associated with such occurrences, followed by the age old question, why do I bother? Sometimes, it’s just easier on everyone to stay home, to shy from navigating the crowds both on foot and traffic; this basically translates into being chained to your abode.

I recall one road trip with my parents, my dad had been navigating between the interstate and sparsely placed bathrooms in little known interstate towns all day, and deserved a medal for his patience. The need came, my dad quickly exited (thank God for that close exit), we pulled into a gas station, my booster seat catapulted me out of the door as the car was still moving, desperate. Another such incident, my friend exited the interstate, we found a clean looking establishment but it was on the other side of the road. We did a u turn, as we sat in rush hour traffic, the bathroom looming in too far of a distance, I knew I had to act fast. Out I pop, out of the car, running awkwardly up the sidewalk, wearing a peculiar look of distinction, past two rows of traffic jammed cars, finally reaching the oasis in the desert – the driveway leading into a fast food joint. Those employees must’ve seen my kind before, for they did not offer any sort of “hello, welcome to…”, instead they looked in my direction, then instinctively towards the direction of the facilities. Apparently, my tribe had been there many times before, having paved a well-trodden path wearing stricken expressions. Gravitational pulls affect multiple systems. At times I expected hieroglyphs etched into the stalls, tales of woe and entrapment, clutched to the bosoms of my people as they gathered in their interstate caves.

GI #3 prescribed a massive medication regimen of aminosalicylates and corticosteroids, explaining that I would “be healed” within one year. There is no way to gauge a person’s response time to medication, that one year was false hope. I was led to believe that my Crohn’s Colitis was a problem, but not a big deal, something completely usual, “manageable”; so adopting that lackadaisical mindset I did not take the diseases seriously. Being the gifted in denial human I am, I continued to work full time, going about my daily activities like I had never been diagnosed with this monster. I would love to pen that time heals, however, time proved to be a foe, with improved symptoms, which switched to worsening symptoms, which became unmanageable. As I later learned, mesalamine is of little use in treating Crohn’s Disease…

Imagine waking one day, realizing you have somehow floated down to rest on the floor of a body of water; the pressure of the deep and the cold darkness from lack of sunshine slowly creep in – you’ve no idea how you got there. What’s more scary is innately knowing this resting place will be your home, your final destination as it laboriously yet expertly chokes the life from you. The more you struggle to free yourself, the more you become entangled and wrapped into the black grasps of chronic illness, of which there is no stopping – the more you fight the deeper you sink. Living with Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn’s Disease, chronic illness and other life threatening conditions is like living in quicksand, you never know how quickly or deeply you will slip from day to day. You never know if someone will miraculously be able to throw you a lifeline. Your life, at this point, becomes a gamble.

4 comments

You never cease to amaze me with your courage and determination Keep fighting and get stronger If it were possible there is a lot of people out there who would take a share of your pain

Many thanks, Stephen! There are strength in numbers and I hope that everyone dealing with illness realizes they are not alone.

Judy Wanamaker

Still praying for you. Even though you suffer so deeply, your writing style is so engaging.

Thank you, Judy for your prayers and encouragement. In a world of suffering, prayers indeed are powerful!

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