In our series, ANONYMOUS RANT, we let ostomates groan and gripe about things that irk them.
It's 11:30 on a Friday night. Four hours ago, Clementine (my 3-year-old daughter) and I were making homemade sugar cookies that looked like monsters. It was raining outside, so we grabbed our umbrellas and played in the rain while the cookies baked.
Three hours later I'm hyperventilating after Googling my newest Crohn's symptom, Cellulitis, and literally having the scariest panic attack of my life. Doctor Google states that I need to be in the hospital from the side effects I'm seeing from Cellulitis. Reason #403 why we should not Google health questions... mass hysteria.
After taking my Valium, I catch my breath and pack for the hospital. I cry with my daughter because she knows momma is leaving again because of her "boo-boo." Clem asks me to be back before the sun comes up. I sure hope that I am my sweet girl.
11:52pm – I’m sitting in the ER parking lot chain-smoking cigarettes (I know, you don’t have to tell me it's the worst choice considering my condition). But how is a person expected to cope when it’s the fourth ER in six days and endless medical professionals have no clue what to do with her?
Life's current road trip has led me on a tour of all the hospitals in Central Arkansas this time. Google maps doesn't take the scenic route in the middle of the night. A dreary interstate drive that always comes when the rest of the world is resting and peaceful. I'm here advocating for my body.
ER stop #1: Saturday/Sunday morning approx. 2am. I have no ostomy supplies due to my supplier not shipping because of the hurricane. I enter the ER with an entire roll of paper towels around me. Two nurses come in and say, "well what do you want us to do?" I remind myself to stay calm and tell these well-polished, refined women that I can change my own bag so they won't get poop on them because God forbid! The women send me on my merry way with some cream, relieved to not have to touch the terrifying front butt! I never see a doctor before I'm discharged.
ER stop #2: Sunday night/Monday morning about 1am. ER doctor comes in and states he used to be a plastic surgeon. Well let me just tell ya, he musta never made a damn stoma look pretty because he was terrified of my alien stomach. Doc butt hole hater suggests I quit smoking and sends me on my merry way with Ativan. He obviously didn't see the huge red band on my arm stating my allergy to Ativan which causes me to hallucinate. Good ole doc also sends me home with Bactrium. Now, I'm so out of it at this point, I just start taking the prescribed meds without thinking about it. Two days later I realize home boy prescribed me antibiotics. You know, that good old medicine that caused me to have C. diff. The medicine even my PCP refuses to prescribe. Pretty boy doc gives me some anxiety meds also because obviously I'm being dramatic for no reason and am just another neurotic woman at the ER.
ER stop #3: Tuesday around 10am. New day, new ER. Thankfully, my ostomy nurses are at this hospital. I call my angel nurse after the doc comes in to see me. The poor man is so baffled by my stomach he acts like he doesn't have his own asshole! Leah and Trey (my saviors) come down and tell the doc (who’s suffering from Acrorectophobia; the fear of buttholes in high places) to run every test on me. This ER finally believes me (ostomy nurses are heaven sent) and agrees that I haven't gone completely neurotic. I'm just literally in pain!! After three different hospitals, I finally get Cellulitis as a diagnosis. We depart at 4pm and my husband treats me to broth at Olive Garden. Let's be real, if I eat the veggies I'll have to go straight back with a bowel obstruction, so tasty broth it is!
ER stop #4: Arrival time is 11:31pm. I sit in my (new to me) tiny purple car — the car I bought just six hours ago because it made me feel happy due to the ridiculousness of it. Also, I'm needing a road trip souvenir after this shitty (pun intended) week. At 1:44am I explain everything. Not to brag, but it seems like I'm the one with M.D. after my name. I pull up all my evidence from scholarly medical journals. Judgmental/baffled doc is looking at me like I've completely lost it. Doc tells me to stay on the antibiotics (that I'm constantly throwing up due to its side effects) and writes me a script for anxiety. Thanks, doc #4… I have no idea where that anxiety comes from!
My current road trip through life: in standstill traffic about to run out of gas.
Saturday morning, 8:03am. I'm drinking coffee after two hours of sleep. I've barely slept this week due to the Hydros and Valium making me feel and act like a crack head. I'm getting ready to babysit because we have no money due to the fact that I'm only getting half of my pay from the work week and on medical leave. I have crafts to put out, dishes to do, and laundry to fold before the kids get here. I will put on my happy mask and smile at the moms, telling them we are so happy to have a playdate.
Crohn's/Patient mode turned off and filed in the back of my mind. Perfect, happy, multi-tasking mom mode activate.
Next stop on the road trip: moms with chronic illness museum. Miles till empty, 28.