Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Affliction

Oh man...my colon blows. I didn't have this on my list of interesting topics for future journal entries. But since I saw another journal entry on this topic, maybe I should add it. *giggle* At least I've kept my sense of humor about it!

My doc diagnosed me with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome for those lucky enough NOT to know) about 10 years ago. I never got "backed up" but I would have these attacks, for lack of a better word, and would need a bathroom IMMEDIATELY. I remember one time driving to work and having an ATTACK. Unfortunately I was in a very rural area...no gas stations, no malls, no public facilities of any kind to be had. I finally pulled over to the side of the road praying for the cramping to go away. I looked around the car hoping to find a plastic supermarket bag or SOMETHING. Nada. No trees - damn these developments built on former farm land. I had plastic floor mats in the car, so my quick and brilliant mind determined that was an easier cleanup than my leather bucket seats and linen dress. So I whipped off the undies, shimmed the dress up and slid my butt as far off the edge of my car seat as I could (I am NOT a tiny woman, mind you). I neglected to plan for the aftermath. No tissues, no napkins, no old newspapers...damn that trip to the car wash! So I used the only thing at hand...my pretty leopard undies.

I couldn't continue on to work and leave a load on my floor mats...not to mention that I now had no underwear on. So I turned around and headed for home. I called in sick from my cell phone and called my husband to meet me in the garage with a bucket of water, soap and as many baby wipes as he could muster up. I wasn't able to save my linen dress, but my car seat was ok. I just threw out the underpants. I almost threw out the floor mat too but hubby used the high-pressure hose attachment, bless his heart. Oh my, I have many many horror stories like this one. I can honestly say I know where EVERY restroom is within a 100 mile radius of home and I have probably been in every rest-stop on every major highway between here and my parents house, friends homes, anywhere I regularly traveled to.

I remember two times I desperately needed to find a restroom while in New York City. The first time I just barely made it into a stall in the public restroom in the subway station under the World Trade Center towers. I didn't look at the homeless women washing themselves and their clothing in the bathroom sinks. I guess I SHOULD have looked to see if there was any toilet paper in the stall I picked. Turns out these homeless women had taken all the paper out of every stall. Just as I was digging through my purse desperately looking for tissues or something, a snide gravelly voice drifted under the stall door. "What's the matter honey, need some paper?" Followed by evil laughter from the other women. "Give me all your spare change and I'll pass ya some under the door," she wheezed. Extortion! Highway robbery! I was being held hostage by evil homeless women! I was scared but more than a little ticked off too. I dropped what little change I had into the woman's grubby paw and she seemed less than satisfied. I finally told her I would leave her some paper money in the stall if she passed me a roll of paper IMMEDIATELY. She complied. First I gently wiped my butt with a dollar bill and stuck it, excrement side down, to the floor. Then I finished the job with the regular paper. I mentally apologized to the poor cleaning crew in charge of mopping the floors and then made a run for it. No one chased me. Whew!

The second time I ran into trouble in NYC, I was sightseeing with a good friend. I was feeling pretty pleased with my tour guiding when I began to feel that horrifyingly familiar pain in my guts. It was 2 AM. We were in the financial district...the heart of Wall Street. Any New Yorker will tell you there is very little open in that area in the middle of the night. I knew I wasn't going to make it back to the subway. I quickly ran for an alley and dropped my pants next to a dumpster. Lord knows what my friend thought at first. We had been drinking a bit. Maybe she thought I was going to throw up. When she saw me squat, she began laughing hysterically! Lucky for me I had tons of Kleenex in my purse this time. I had just finished cleaning up and had pulled my pants back on when a bright spotlight suddenly illuminated the entire alley and nearly blinded us. An amplified voice inquired "Is there a problem, Ladies?" New York's finest...the men in blue...holy crap! My friend was still giggling and snorting uncontrollably. I composed myself and nonchalantly said, "Uh, no problems officer. I thought this alley was a shortcut back to the subway. But it's a dead-end..." My voice trailed off. The spot light went out and a pleasant, un-amplified voice replied, "You two should know better than to walk down strange dark alleys in the city at night. Try to be more careful." *Whew!* That was a close one.

The good news is I was misdiagnosed with IBS. A few years after these tales of poppy woe occurred, I had emergency abdominal surgery where they found tumors, cysts and extensive adhesions and scar tissue from a disease called Endometriosis. My colon was constricted in many locations and adhered to my abdominal wall in others. After the surgical "clean up", my bowel problems went away! What a relief! Of course I had a boat load of NEW problems - mostly female type things like infertility, but I am still pretty happy my "IBS" is gone. I have tons more room in my purse without all those tissues and napkins. ;-)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

OMGosh, I can so relate to this entry! I was told I had IBS also and last year a new doctor asked probing questions and I learned it was a reaction to a medication I was taking! I no longer have the problems but, I sure feel sorry for those who do because when it hits it hits without warning at times.

Monica