Remember when I said “the flare seems to be calming a bit” last week? Yeah. So much for that. Friday I came home from work to collapse, called the Gastro for instructions only to find out that a) her office closes on 1 pm on Fridays and b) her answering service does little more than a recording: tells you to go to the ER if you are having an emergency. Fine, said I, we’ll just wait till Monday so we don’t have to shell out a bunch of ER copay money.
On Friday I started feeling nauseated, so I stopped eating. Note to anyone who is more stupid that me: do not do this. Your body will keep shitting out blood even if you do not give it solid or liquid sustenance. Just so you know. While I can look back on my previous flares and say, yes, I already knew this, there’s just nothing like stupidity living in the moment, is there?
Saturday I writhed around in bed all day and cried on the toilet. I had anywhere from 10-20 movements, and they were all scherzo and fortissimo. Sunday A. took me to the ER.
Albeit somewhat tearfully and with a prewritten cheat sheet, A. and I successfully negotiated that repetitive rigmarole of listing symptoms and medications and history of disease to every fresh set of scrubs who came through my room. After that, the ER staff was consistently great. They gave me morphine before sticking me for blood and urine (my first catheter! It was less than triumphant) and they set me up with prescriptions for the flare, the pain and the nausea to get me through the rest of the weekend.
I started on the Dreaded Pred and went to see my gastro. My gastro’s waiting room is best navigated by ingesting a pain pill and bringing headphones; for some reason, nearly every doctor’s waiting room or urgent care or ER I’ve been in recently is dominated by a loud widescreen TV. Less germs than magazines, I suppose? If you live where I do and you don’t want to watch football or Fox news, you’re better off wearing headphones, or bringing a book and a well-practiced ability to block out aural bombast.
Anyway. The gastro kept me on the Pred, and we’ve started the waiting game to see if it will chill out the flare up. So far, I’m still seeing a lot of blood, but the pain is much lower. The remembered pain and my anticipation of its possible return is worse. I also did a stool sample (something that really needs its own post because of all the fun ACCESSORIES that go with it) to see if I developed, as I thought earlier, c. Diff. No word back on that yet, though.
Anyway, I look back on that flippant post from last week and all those lovely pictures of fresh vegetables and want to die of both shame and salivation. For maybe going on five years now, I’ve been reasonably normal. Give or take a few minor flares, I’ve been able to control this thing and eat like a happy, somewhat adventurous human being limited to the abundance of western hemisphere. I’ve been able to eat an amazing amount of food. Maybe I will get to again after this blows over.
That said, there is nothing worse in these days during and after a flare when you are drinking broth, eating farina, and drinking your nutrients (if you can even do that, you’re lucky, I know) than the porn of food. Whether it’s coming from television commercials, magazine ads, grand opening mail fliers from that new grocery store, or from inside your own twisted epicurean brain, it is hell, hell, hell.
Burgers. Bacon cheeseburgers. Tacos. Black beans and rice. Heaps of lettuce topped with fresh tomatoes and peppers and chunks of feta cheese. Bowls of fettuccine alfredo, or angel hair with rich spicy tomato sauce and meatballs. Neapolitan ice cream. Chicken curry. Egg rolls dunked in soy sauce. Sushi rolls with soy sauce and a little wasabi. Spring rolls. Mountains of homemade vegetarian won-tons. Stir-fried vegetables with cellophane noodles or rice stick. Kit Kat bars. Caramel sauce.* Apples. Lumpy homemade corn dogs. French fries. Onion rings with ketchup. Hot fudge sundaes. Corn on the cob drizzled with butter and salt and pepper. Oven-fried chicken. Corn bread with gobs of melted butter and maple syrup. Nachos with melted cheese. Cucumbers, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, all raw, all dipped in ranch or bleu cheese or eaten plain and crunchy.
I’ll be in
my bunk the bathroom. For the rest of you out there, if you can eat? Eat. Eat. Enjoy it. Suck the marrow out of it – literally, if you like. But enjoy it.
*Neither that nor the ginger snaps materialized last week, I’m afraid. Unsurprisingly.