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)