Was well into my exile when I first heard this tune,
90s slow jam by Bobby Brown, coincided with major breakthroughs,
Making progress with recovery, can almost taste the victory,
Gotta tread lightly, though, no need to be so hasty.
August 24, 2018
WARNING: This entry contains details that some readers may find gross
August was coming to a close and every day, for the most part, continued to be a virtual replay of the last; Eat, read, walking drills, take pills, sleep and repeat. Talk about groundhog day, the only real differences were the clothes that I wore and also the books and random internet articles that I read daily. In addition to taking mid-day naps and watching random Youtube videos (always a fun way to pass the time) I had also taken to doing plenty of reading, a past-time that I usually enjoyed but had largely neglected during healthier times. My sister and I were avid readers during our youths and my parents amassed a rather impressive book collection over the years that we kept in a special room in the house that we nicknamed ‘the library.’ This is not to say that I went through one entire book everyday – that would have been madness – but I chose three books at a time and read bits and pieces of each during a few half-hours that I could steal on a given day, temporarily leaving the confines of house arrest to escape into their worlds. I hung out with Holden Caulfield in The Catcher In The Rye, got a crash course in how to run a kingdom through rather severe means from Machiavelli in The Prince, witnessed the worst of human behavior in Lord Of The Flies, joined Sal and Dean on an epic road trip in On The Road, ran with The Greasers on The Outsiders……..the list went on and on and I am quite chuffed at having been able to get through a decent number of books in a rather short period of time.
But then again, I had all the time in the world to do so.
I even took a trip back down memory lane by revisiting some of the novels that I had to study during my high school and university days. Having spent most of their prime years being bounced, squished and rubbed around inside my school bag the high school books looked every bit the worse for wear, with their crinkled and scuffed covers and dog-eared, yellowed pages. Some pages from the books I read for university still bore highlighted sections and scribbled crib notes that I used for study purposes, reminders of a time long gone.
Did I wrestle with the temptation to break from my routine? Did I consider defying doctor’s orders and starting up the car to set off on an epic road trip or to throw myself back into real workouts? You bet I did! While I had embraced and accepted my temporary (yes, emphasis on ‘temporary’) life as a recovering patient there were days where it felt rather draining for a naturally active lunatic such as myself and during my times of solitude I definitely flirted with the idea of walking on the wild side.
‘To hell with this,’ I would say, ‘I’m gonna go buck wild.’
But something would always stop me, a voice inside my head acting like an all-knowing, all-seeing Big Brother that reprimanded me for my rebellious thoughts.
What the fuck is this? Nineteen-fucking-eighty-four as described by George Orwell!?
Nope, just good old-fashioned common sense.
It was during those moments that I felt, at times, the urge to drill a massive hole through my skull, rip my brain out and boot the motherfucker into the next country but in the end that internal voice of reason and my own strength of mind obliterated whatever reckless streak was trying to get the better of me. It would have been the height of foolishness to give in to impatience and push myself too fast, too soon. Recovery was my top priority and if I had to live like a monk for at least the next few months then so be it.
At this point the game of hit and miss continued as far as my stools were concerned but there was some great news; in addition to less bloody results my stools were hardening up and beginning to look normal again. Previously, I was firing off small solid pebbles mixed among blood before it deteriorated to the point where, more often than not, I was shitting nothing but pure blood and that ultimately sent me to the hospital in need of a transfusion.
It made me wonder what became of the food that I ate.
Then once I started taking the medication necessary to fight the colitis there had been less blood – which was a positive sign – but my stools remained liquid, like a big bowl of caramel porridge that was sometimes topped off with a decent amount of raspberry sauce, not exactly an ‘out-of-the-woods’ outcome.
Apologies to anyone that was eating while reading that part. If it makes you feel better I just put myself off of my next meal!
But it was also during this period that I started to see solid little logs in the mix again and man, all I can say is that the happiness and euphoria that welled within me was damn near impossible to contain and as corny as it sounds I sometimes had to fight the urge to shed tears of pure joy. I settled for looking skyward and mouthing ‘thank you!’ to the big guy in the sky but while I was home alone, I sometimes allowed myself to let loose. Imagine a skinny-fat, hobo-looking nutjob walking out of the toilet and shouting “YYYEEAAAAHHHH!!!!” like Lil’ Jon on steroids before breaking into a weird dance and you’ll have an idea. And let me tell you right now, I cannot dance to save my life! But to say that it was a relief to finally have confirmation that the medication was working is a massive understatement. For the first time in my treatment I saw that proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.
I also had a scheduled appointment with an immunologist on the 24th of August at the same hospital where I received my blood transfusion and was also ordered to submit another blood test, the results of which would immediately be faxed and e-mailed to Dr. G and Dr. B. My parents accompanied me on the trip back to the hospital where we were greeted by the immunologist, a tall, slim man of Indian appearance who looked to be in his late 30’s to early 40’s, although his smooth features and full head of hair made him look rather youthful. He was soft-spoken but possessed a firm handshake. This lanky fellow was a lot stronger than he looked – or perhaps I was still weak from my health battle.
The meeting didn’t last too long, the immunologist took my blood pressure (which came out normal) and then interrogated me about my current state of health since my hospital stay and I told him nothing but the truth but made sure to emphasize all the positive developments. I admitted that there was still the occasional bloody stool but quickly added that such occurrences were becoming less and less and that the stools were becoming solid again.
“I’m glad to hear that,” he said before adding, “and you look as though you’ve regained some color on your face.”
Well, my haemoglobin levels were still in the late 80s at last check but I took his word for it. My lips, ears, fingertips and the inside of my eyes, however, remained pale pink, even if my skin was no longer as pale.
The immunologist then handed me some paperwork that effectively discharged me as an in-patient from the hospital. Man, what a great feeling! Nothing was going to stop me now.
Not so fast, Kiddo.
The immunologist also ordered me to see the hospital’s haematologist in a few weeks’ time in order to examine my iron levels since my recent blood tests indicated that in addition to my haemoglobin, my iron levels also suffered as a result of the blood loss. No surprise there, with great blood loss comes decreased levels of iron. He gave me a sheet of paper that contained the haematologist’s number before sending me off to take another blood test, the purpose of which was to find out where my haemoglobin levels stood.
My parents and I returned to the waiting room and I pulled out a card from a stack near the door to one of the blood testing rooms that contained a number.
Number 3. Cool.
Once my number was called I was to trudge into one of the rooms, roll up my sleeve and have some more blood drained out of me. I slumped down on a chair in the waiting area next to my mother and played with my phone believing that it would be at least fifteen minutes before I would be called in. I had just made myself comfortable and almost drifted off into my own little world when a nurse poked her head out of one of the clinics.
I was called in faster than anticipated and I scrambled as I frantically put my phone in sleeper mode and then hastily walked into the clinic. This might have been the first time I had to wait for less than ten minutes for a health-related appointment.
Once inside the nurse gently instructed me to take a seat and roll up one of my sleeves. It was a rather chilly day and I was wearing a long-sleeve shirt and so I rolled up the sleeve of my right arm and rested it against a cushion on the table. She clamped a buckle around my arm near the elbow and tightened it, raising a vein in the crook of my elbow.
“This might sting a little,” she said, oblivious to the hell I’d gone through over the last couple of months. I nodded politely, but deep down I was rolling my eyes and laughing sarcastically.
No shit. I’ve been jabbed so much I’m surprised my haemoglobin levels are still climbing. I am well aware that it will sting.
I made a fist with my right hand to keep that vein raised and then she plunged the needle into my arm.
Ahhhh the bitter sting of the needle! We meet again!
She drew about two or three vials worth of my blood before retracting the needle and placing a patch on the area. I slowly rolled down my sleeve and stepped off of the seat.
“Thank you, sir.”
“Thank you, ma’am. Have a great afternoon.”
I dusted myself off before leaving the room to re-join my parents.
The next day, I dialed the number supplied to me by the immunologist and booked my session with the haemotologist. It was a foregone conclusion that I was going to need an iron infusion. Coming off of being ‘severely anaemic’ in addition to the ‘severe pancolitis’ diagnosis there was no doubt that my iron levels would be anything but crash-hot. Looks like I’m going to find out what an iron infusion feels like.
Staring down the barrel of another medical procedure huh? Ok, bring it on!
We shall get to know about this haemotologist very soon. Stay tuned!