Medication can be a beautiful thing. Whether it’s mostly placebo effect or not, the ability of a pill to change our worldview is almost magical – or, at least, it would be if we didn’t think we knew how it worked. We don’t, of course, know exactly how any of the antidepressants actually make it easier for people crippled by despair to function with the same normal ups and downs the un-afflicted have. Whatever. All I know is that when I got to 200 mg./day Pristiq started working for me. I feel as though I’ve missed the last four months completely, but the next four should be good. I finally couldn’t settle my differences with the electric company, so I have to move (hopefully it won’t be far; I just started getting to know my neighbors and they’re actually pretty cool!), and that sucks. My last month’s rent is my deposit, so I don’t have a deposit to move with, and my check on the 1st will have to be my month’s rent. I’ll have to pay off the deposit slowly at the new place; that sucks, too. Truth is, if it wasn’t for Alex I’d be terrified right now, but I keep telling myself at least I’m not alone, you know? For now, that and the pills is enough. Please cross your fingers for us, and now go be happy.
I have been more and more depressed over the course of the last few months. After I attempted to pull a ‘Whitney’ (the morbid and so-soon-it’s-just-plain-wrong new street name for the combination of Xanax and Alcohol originally reported to have killed the beautiful and tragic late singer Whitney Houston…as if you didn’t know) on last Sunday, my roomie had me “Baker Acted” ( I think it’s just a Florida thing), and I finally changed one of my meds from Wellbutrin SR to Pristiq. I feel better already, even though I know it’s just a placebo effect since these things take time to kick in. I hope the improvements continue, in which case I will return to this blog thingie more regularly…as before. Until then, if you like you can check the SHOEBOX page; I never stop scribbling.
The holiday depression has yet to lift, and my colon can’t seem to make up its’ mind: to poop or puke or not. One day I have diarrhea, the next I don’t. I’ll have a terrible 3-day flare, and then for a couple of days I’m fine. My roommate is…well…healthy people who’ve never been sick for long can’t understand chronic illness. I’m trying to get motivated again, but I’m feeling nothing except anguish. So why write, right? I don’t know. Why not? Where’s my pen?
Woke up at 10 ’til 5 this morning to make the usual mad dash for the bowl and I still had the runs (and for me, of course, that’s normal). Then I fell back to sleep and got up around 9 to make my first official bathroom run of the day (since I was getting up) and was extremely shocked by what happened – so much so that I had to scrawl a little poem in my confused glee:
Can it be?
Is that solid
stool I see
at the bottom
of the bowl?
Did that drop
from my butthole?
This can’t be –
what I see…
am I dreaming
Now a little
dance I’ll do…
I’m so proud
of that hard poo!
Yeah I know what you’re thinking: it’s crap. Crap about crap, no less, but I think it expresses well the diarrhea-less delight of the Crohn’s patient given a reprieve by the warden of his bowel-walled prison. I’ll probably have diarrhea again later, but for now I bask in the magic underwater glow of my colon’s latest production. Unfortunately, I’m gonna have to flush sometime:(.
There’s a certain strain of magical thinking that only the chronically ill can indulge in. It’s the idea that even diseases medically-known to be incurable will go away if we just pretend we’re healthy. Our mass media and popular culture encourage this delusion. It is akin to the belief among those on the bottom rung of the economic ladder – or even among the middle class – that to be more successful you just have to project an image of success (embodied most memorably for me by Annette Bening playing Mrs. Lester Burnham in the 1999 film “American Beauty,” who adopted the mantra “I will sell this house today!” in an effort to grow her real estate business). I practiced that for years (somewhat out of necessity – since I had no health insurance, and everyone knows you shouldn’t worry about things you can’t do anything about, right?), refusing to even talk about Crohn’s Disease, particularly about my painful and embarrassing symptoms. Then someone suggested that all aspiring (or – less charitably – failed) writers have blogs these days, even if only for the practice. So was born this passage that you are reading right now, and many others, in which I discuss my illness ( actually illnesses, since I’m also certifiably Bipolar). I’m not sure if I’m suddenly not afraid to write about it because I realize that a blog is like playing to an unimaginably huge room while the vast majority of the seats are empty, or because I’m older and (perhaps) less self-conscious in general. But I digress. The point is that I finally realized that you don’t get well just by acting well. I have Medicaid now, and I’m being treated with the newest medications for (in this case) Crohn’s, so I haven’t been hospitalized for almost a-year-and-a-half. I still don’t discuss my symptoms with most people, since, once you start waxing eloquently on the drawbacks of constant diarrhea there’s really nowhere for the conversation to go (even if there is somewhere for you to go nearby – and there’d better be ). That said, even writing about it in the midst of this vast blog-o-spherical sea isn’t easy. It can make you feel pitied, even if you’re not. It can give you the feeling that you’ve invaded your own privacy somehow. Not that there is such a thing as privacy anymore (how quaint!)… I don’t think anyone is naïve enough to believe that. People don’t seem to even want what used to be called a ” private life;” apparently they’re lining up in Cyberland to click away their right to privacy, entrusting it to people and companies known to be unworthy of that trust: yes, I’m talking to you Mark Zuckerberg. Personally I don’t do Facebook: it bores me, and I think it’s mainly for children, adolescents, and advertisers. I also may be the only person in America who has never tweeted anything, since I don’t feel the need to broadcast my text messages, and (as I’ve said before) I have never aspired to be or to have a ‘follower.’ Also, I’m not selling anything, and that has undeniably become the raison d’etre of ‘social’ media. But I digress. I’ve been living mostly on generic Ensure Plus, and that alone improves my condition considerably. The only fly in that nutritious ointment is this simple fact: liquid in, liquid out. So for the past few days I’ve rarely ventured far from the comfort and safety of my own bathroom. I can OD on Imodium and take a relatively long bus ride, if necessary. I just can’t – on many days – eat or drink anything until I get home. Try going through your day without refueling or rehydrating at some point while out of the house. It sucks. It majorly sucks, as the kids (used to) say. So I’m griping about it in the only way that I know of that probably won’t annoy or disgust anybody: digitally. When your body becomes the enemy, the mind can be your best friend. And it’s practice. For what I don’t know (yet).
- another shitty day (literally) (ghostlizard.wordpress.com)
- What are the side effects of crohn’s diseases treatment (wiki.answers.com)
- Complications of Crohn’s Disease (everydayhealth.com)
- Crohn’s still sucks… (ghostlizard.wordpress.com)
- When to Talk About Crohn’s Disease (everydayhealth.com)
- Battling Depression in Crohn’s Disease (everydayhealth.com)
What if this were you? This reminded me of why I started skipping school in the eighth grade.
Happy Tuesday, or whatever day you read this.
that is the digestion. Whether ’tis nobler in the gut to suffer the inflammation of outrageous misfortune, or to blow chunks against a sea of troubles and by so blowing end them. To hurl, to sleep”…” to sleep – perchance to dream : ay, there’s the rub, for in that vomit-sleep what dreams may come when we have gurgled up this mortal bile, must give us nausea.” Or something like that. Okay, okay… so it ain’t Shakespeare, but if Hamlet had had Crohn’s and gave his soliloquy while sitting on his porcelain throne, holding a double-lined wastebasket in front of his mouth (just in case), and emptying the contents of his entrails spasmodically between lines…well I, for one, would definitely have identified with him more. That really blows. Chunks. Like I just did. I’ll spare you the details (or is it too late for that already?). Suffice it to say that one can be too thin (if not too rich – how would I know?) but one can never have too much toilet paper. Seriously, ever.