Piper Chapman, move over, you are not the only one unlawfully incarcerated these days! It's not my fault my Ashkenazi jewish ancestors thought it was prudent to use their cousins as an appropriate gene pool to inbreed, in turn, passing on these irritating digestive auto-immune diseases. So I've been locked up in Beth Israel Hospital now for four days and the outside world feels quite distant. Lucky for me, I've got a great team of doctors tending to my needs but it doesn't make for any speedier of a discharge when you're waiting for a petri dish of bacteria to culture and spell out your recovery. I can thank my new friend Hector, the 24 year old Cuban deportee, my double amputee neighbor Casado and a barrage of friends/gifts/parents for helping me get through this "trip". If you reached out, you did a mitzvah!
Was I stricken down after taunting the god's of infectious diseases? I dressed as E-Bowl-A Cheerios for halloween only to be stunned by a raging spasm attack at the halloween party...downhill from there. Crohns has spoken!
The short of it
When you eat, that food has to take a road trip until it leaves your body. Turns out the drive from Maine to Florida down I-95 gets a bit backed up around Boca and Fort Lauderdale if you know what I mean. Your small intestine should look like a garden hose but in times of a flare up, that hose shrinks up and doesn't let water (and anything else) flow through easily. Makes for some serious cramping and spasms and leads to further pain and welcomes infection to the area.
Fight through it
No matter how tough you are, this doesn't get better on its own. I tried it myself with a bevy of pharmaceutical cocktails only to realize that the pain wasn't going away. There's a big business around solving this stuff. There are some heavy hitting drugs that attack these digestive diseases and its a tough one-way ladder to climb because once you get to the next rung of powerful drug, you can't really take a step backward. In fact, doctors go through 6+ years of schools just to say, "Eric, you need to rest your tummy."
So what have I done since I arrived at the ER on Sunday night around 7PM?
(In no particular order)
- Revolted against underwear of any sort
- Discovered that the gluten-free craze is a culinary phenomena backed by only a few small scientifically proven studies. Nothing conclusive! In fact the issues with digestion may come from other FODMAPs associated with grain products. Gluten free for celiacs is real...they can lay (and keep) claim to that.
- Nano-Lego remodels of NYC skyscrapers are no joke. I slaved over the empire state building +750 piece set for 2.5 hours late into the night, wrought with dim lighting from the Beth Israel shackles.
- Read the first few chapters of Tom Robbins psuedo memoir - Tibetan Peach Pie. He was a badass and tried to rob his Appalachian Trail hometown bank at the ripeful age of 8 with a Tommy gun, he nearly succeeded.
- Had great friends come and visit and listen to endless stories of my Dad's experiences escaping traffic tickets by gaming the Philadelphia police force bureaucracy. I have a lot to learn from that wise old man.
- Watched three separate Sixers losses and watched LeBron cripple into lethargy
- Thought long and hard about how women are really nurturing creatures. I can't believe how supportive the women in my life have been through my recovery process. Men have much to learn (speaking in generalities of course).
- Unsuccessfully tried to back up my computer to my itunes, amazon prime photo storage, and dropbox only to realize that my resistance to upgrade to the newest iOS 8 is the harbinger of the nuisance.
- Texted with nearly my whole rolodex...my thumbs are swollen.
- Thought about Wendy's Spicy Chicken Sandwich, ushered in requests from numerous visitors for said Spicy Chicken Sandwich, deliriously asked resident doctors for said greasy companion, asked a non-english speaking nurse for a ride to 43rd and 3rd (Wendy's closest location) and finally begged my GI doctor to let me just have one chicken finger; he scoffed.
I think I needed this time to think on many levels. For one, it was amazing to see so many people reached out and asked how I was feeling. To me it didn't feel like they were hitting the check box of sending a text but that these people, my friends, really cared about my well being. It was powerful to see my own self actualization that emerged throughout this experience. As people came out of the woodwork, I began to find my place in their world and build my own self image from it. I'll never hesitate to send a thoughtful message to someone in a rough health position again. It put things into perspective. Speaking of perspective, I was so terribly worried that my health situation would put me behind in work and throw me aside at a disadvantage. I was incredibly surprised to find that all my colleagues bonded together to send me a care package and an inspiring card. It really showed the face and true colors of the company that I can proudly say that I work for. It's an SP family to its core.