You know how when you learn a new word, suddenly it pops up everywhere? It’s in the book you’re reading, it comes up in daily conversation with your bodega guy and it’s the answer to a “Jeopardy!” question. You’re newly hyper-aware of this discovery — this exciting word! — and now you can’t escape it.
It’s kind of like how, as soon as you cancel your trip to Hawaii, suddenly everyone you know is there, just got back from being there or is planning to go there next month. Every single person, really, from the “Today” show anchors to the cast of “Beverly Hills 90210” to every engaged, honeymoon-planning couple you’re “friends” with on Facebook.
And it’s like how, when you can’t run, that’s all everyone else is doing. Since when did that chick you went to high school with start throwing down 42-minute 10Ks, and why is every contestant on “Wheel of Fortune” in the middle of half-marathon training? Plus, when did everyone move to PR City and stop being mediocre? What the hell?
So yeah, I didn’t go to Hawaii.
Honestly, it was an easy decision to make. All you “just get on the plane, Ali,” people are nuts. Sorry. I appreciate your positivity, but it was so unrealistic. Feel the pain I’ve been feeling for eight seconds and you’ll know that “just getting on the plane” isn’t quite as simple as it seems. There was no way I was going to be OK on that long-ass flight, and there was certainly no way I was going to be a happy traveler once I finally got to the hotel. And then, even if I survived the vacation, I’d have to do the flight again on the way back. No, thank you.
I knew I couldn’t spend the week at work, though. I was too sick and too sad. On Monday morning, I called my boss to talk with her about my options (which, turns out, are limited — medical leave isn’t really an option, so instead I have used up all my sick, personal and vacation days for this nonsense) and she was very sympathetic and understanding. The one thing she asked that really stuck with me was, “Alison, who’s taking care of you?”
And then I had to pull the mute-button-move so I could start weeping a little bit. Because the reality is, no one was taking care of me and I clearly couldn’t take care of myself anymore.
So instead of going to Hawaii, I saw a new doctor in the city — hated him — and then I did manage to get on a plane.
Not the plane I planned for. But kind of a better plane.
For the past week, I have been in New Hampshire, staying with my parents and letting them cater to my every whiny need. I am finally letting someone take care of me.
I swear it was their idea, and as low-maintenance as I try to be, I do find myself asking my mom to “please refill my water cup” at least 22 times a day, and she has not yet complained or delivered without a cute smile.
I got a visit from this guy, too.
I’d love to say having Tyler here perked me all up, but I slept for a lot of the time he was here, and the kid is so dang active now that I can’t run around after him. It was frustrating not being able to chase him and play with him like I would have wanted, but his presence makes me happy, so I can’t complain about that.
I did my third Humira shot on Friday, which was exciting because each time I do it I stupidly convince myself it’s going to work. That’s a cute trait, right? Delusion mixed with optimism masked by a general tone of “whatever, this is bullshit.”
Being in New Hampshire has been amazing, though. I am disappointed that I’m not cured simply by being here. All I’ve done is sleep, watch TV and let my mom feed me way more than I want to eat, and the change of scenery (and couches) has done wonders for my mental state. That apartment in NYC had started feeling like a prison and I felt trapped there. Here, I have more room to roam (which I don’t do, because I’m too lazy and tired all the time) and I have my choice of bathrooms, which is very cool.
Another fun thing I’ve done is ditched gluten. I saw this new doctor last Monday, before I left, and he was a douchebag and he was rude and he was nasty and condescending, but the one thing he said (after I tried inquiring about food allergies and whether I should consider cutting dairy out of my diet) was that I’d “definitely feel better if I cut wheat out of my diet.” The pasta-lover and diet-hater in me says “no, doc,” but the girl who has been violently ill for four months says, “fine. I hate food anyway.”
My mom has whipped up tons of gluten-free dishes for me and it’s been lovely.
Except for this one thing, which may or may not be related to the lack of wheat in my body…
For the past few days, I’ve found myself feeling the opposite effects of the normal Crohn’s symptoms. Instead of running for the bathroom and…doing stuff…I’m, well, not.
I get the pain and the cramping and the bloating and then, no matter how much pushing I try (which isn’t much because owwwwww), nothing is happening.
I know what you’re thinking: “But Ali, isn’t that a good thing?! Isn’t it good not to be going to the bathroom every two seconds?!”
No, not at all. I get the pain and the misery without any of the relief.
So there’s that.
Meanwhile, the fevers and night sweats come and go. I had a few fevers when I first got here, and I went through a decent rotation of pajamas and towels for coating the bed. I have oxycodone to help with the pain, but it keeps me up at night and makes me all jittery, so I don’t want to get too hooked on that. I also have sleep medication, but that doesn’t overrule the stomach pain, which wakes me up no matter how tired I am.
One thing that has been difficult about being home is the stairs. I didn’t realize just how out of shape I had become until Monday, after my doctor’s appointment, when I was walking home while on the phone with my dad. I had to walk up that stupid hill between 2nd and 3rd Avenues — the same hill I used to run up every single morning without thought — and had to stop halfway up the hill. I was so out of breath that I just couldn’t keep going. So I leaned against a tree, told my dad to “hang on a sec” and cried. Crying, by the way, doesn’t help you catch your breath.
I couldn’t believe how difficult it was just to walk up a little hill. And now that I’m home, I’ve found the same demon in the stairs. The first few days, it was so much work just to get up and down them. Going up, I would get out of breath. And coming down, my knees and ankles ached. I also seem to have developed some arthritis-y symptoms in my wrists, but that’s been a good excuse to stay off the computer and ignore everyone. (You had a birthday? You ran a PR? Sorry I missed those things. Congratulations on being born and going fast. You rock.)
I don’t know when I’m going back to the city. I don’t ever want to go back to that apartment because being there just reminds me that I’m still sick.
I do have a job I need to tend to, of course, though I’m lucky that I can work from home for a bit if needed.
I’m lining up appointments with new doctors in hopes I can find someone who will tell me something encouraging.
I haven’t been outside in a week. I haven’t breathed fresh air or gone for a walk, and every now and then my mom will make me “do a lap” around the first floor of the house in an attempt to “get some exercise.”
But basically, regardless of where I’m located, I’m still sick. I haven’t made improvements.
And I didn’t go to Hawaii.
Oh well. Those islands aren’t going anywhere, right?