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  • Sati Rampersad

Don't Be An Idiot!


In Denial

When I was discharged following my three-week hospital stay and much-needed “bowel rest”, I’d felt better than I could remember feeling in so long that I started thinking I was back to normal and would stay that way forever. I returned to work and yes, the gem of a supervisor was still there. I wasn’t sure what to expect because while I was in the hospital, many of my colleagues visited me but SHE never did. Surprising though, she had mellowed towards me, I guess my hospital stint convinced her that I really was sick and not just trying out for the best actress award. Life was looking good again, and although I was still going to the bathroom about four to five times a day, I wasn’t in any pain so I just accepted that as my new reality, so much so that I began making enquiries about school and classes and such. I thought the timing was perfect because I’d planned to put my son in nursery school at the beginning of the year so I could begin part-time classes then as well. However, two months later, I started feeling periodic twinges in my right lower abdomen which I chose to ignore hoping it would just go away. Smart, yes I know. But when periodic became frequent and the twinges became painful jabs, plus my bathroom visits doubled, it became very difficult to ignore. So being the practical, logical person I thought myself to be, I went into complete denial. There was no way my Crohn’s was back already! I was doing all the right things! ~ eating what I was supposed to, staying properly hydrated, taking my meds as prescribed, trying not to stress, not overtiring myself. Also, this felt different somehow, the pain wasn’t like before and it wasn’t constant, so I tried to convince myself that it had to be something else going on.

Desperation

Naturally I did what any intelligent person would do (NOT!), instead of talking to my doctor, I spoke to the pharmacist about it when I went in to refill my prescription. I’d been dealing with this pharmacy from the beginning so of course the pharmacist was knowledgeable about all my health issues. I was fully aware that I was avoiding calling my doctor for fear of hearing something I wasn’t ready to hear. Even my husband told me I was being ridiculous, but the thought of going through that hospital experience again so soon was unfathomable to me. The pharmacist obviously picked up on my desperation to find an alternative explanation and decided I was ripe for the picking, so to speak. She started telling me about this Helicobacter pylori bacteria that was responsible for many gastrointestinal issues and was more common than people knew, and that it frequently went undetected. She even gave me a pamphlet on it and told me look it up because the symptoms were similar to what I was experiencing. So I did my due diligence and found that there were some similarities with my symptoms, but then the symptoms for most gastrointestinal issues were similar. Then came the pitch that, had I been thinking clearly, I would have seen coming a mile away. She told me there was this special honey that was derived from trees native to only New Zealand and Australia. It allegedly had antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic properties, and was used to treat a variety of ailments, particularly those gastric in nature. I’ll admit I was intrigued because I, like most people, grew up hearing about all the wonderful things honey could do. So naturally (no pun intended), this honey wasn’t easily available but she was a distributor, of course she was, but she wasn’t selling it retail only by cases of twenty four. Granted the jars were small (250ml), but that was still a lot of honey for one person. She told me I could sell it to other people if I wanted. So of course I bought a case and proceeded to use as directed because it came with instructions. Suffice it to say, many dollars poorer, several jars later, my symptoms kept worsening, I finally called my doctor, and changed pharmacies. I’d learnt a valuable life lesson.

Say It Ain’t So

Too embarrassed to tell my doctor about the honey incident, I just explained that I delayed contacting him foolishly hoping for things to settle down on its own. I could tell he was a little disappointed in me for waiting so long before taking action; I wasn’t going to add to that by telling him why. It turned out that my symptoms were no mystery to him, he said it was in fact a flare-up of my Crohn’s. And guess what? I needed to be hospitalized again because the treatment I was on was clearly not working and rather than playing around with dosages and other drugs while my condition worsened, he was going to do a high dosage intravenous steroid drip to hopefully settle things down. Since no mention was made of the dreaded NG tube, I tried not to worry too much, besides, what choice did I have? All I could think about was-here I go AGAIN!- my poor husband had to do the juggling act AGAIN - work, household chores, kid, hospital visits. My son was going to think I was abandoning him AGAIN, and my job would be affected AGAIN; I thought this time for sure my job would be in jeopardy. Also, my plans for furthering my education were starting to look like a distant dream. I was admitted to hospital for treatment as planned, and what was supposed to be a week-long stay turned out to be much more complicated than that. Why did things never seem to go the way they were expected to? Damn Murphy and his law!


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