Why me? It’s one of those self-pitying questions I ask myself on a regular basis, and especially on days like today when I’m feeling incredibly sick.
I’ve had to live with UC (Ulcerative Colitis) for five years now, and still, to this day, I have not learned how to effectively cope with it. For one, it’s never easy to accept the fact that you will have a disease for the rest of your life. And secondly, UC is one of those fun ones that comes with embarassing and life-altering symptoms.
I won’t bombard you with all the details of UC, but simply put, it causes inflammation and internal bleeding in your large intestine (colon). As a result, this affects your energy levels, the types of food and drink you can consume, and here’s the best one: the number of times you use the bathroom in a day. At its worst, UC also causes nausea and lower abdominal pain.
For a much better, more professional description: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001296/
However, the purpose of my post is not to talk entirely about UC. But rather, it is a reflection of today’s experience at the hospital—which would not have happened if I didn’t have UC.
I had to miss a full day of work to get an iron transfusion—which essentially replenished my body with iron that was lost over the past six months due to a fairly severe UC flare-up.
For five hours, I sat in a depressing room (full of other patients) who were also getting various IVs and transfusions. While it certainly wasn’t pleasant getting a bag of rust-coloured, liquid iron pumped into my blood, I couldn’t help but wonder the reasons why all the other patients were there. With the help of my trusty glasses, I peeked over at a few other IV machines and successfully took note of some of the other treatments.
While I’m no doctor, logic and general observation led me to believe that the ladies sitting across from me were taking immuno-supressant drugs through IV (never a good sign—likely their treatments were for severe auto-immune disorders). I also heard the nurse ask both of them if they wanted Gravol, so I assume that nausea was a common side effect.
And the poor man on my right was getting a blood transfusion (as for the cause, I’m not sure). Every time I glanced over at him, his cheeks were flushed and he was fast asleep in his chair.
By the time I left the hospital, I felt a weird sense of guilt. There I was, panicking about a minor iron transfusion, when all those other patients were suffering far greater than I.
And even now, while I sit on the couch feeling completely drained and slightly nauseous, I know it could be so much worse. Someone out there, likely at this very moment, is having just as rough, if not a worse time with their health than myself.
My hospital stay was an eye-opening one, and it’s experiences like these that put things into perspective.