I Don't Remember How to be Sick - Uncover Ostomy
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I Don’t Remember How to be Sick

I finally decided to go to the doctor.

After my mom called me out for my blog post last week, after my boyfriend bugged me enough, and after being on clear fluids and having pain for 3 weeks, it was time.

Yesterday afternoon, I emailed my GI doc’s receptionist at Mt. Sinai hospital in Toronto, detailing my symptoms – some of which I have never had before. Early this morning, she called and told me that the doc could fit me in. This doctor barely has time for anyone and he was fitting me in.

This must not be good.

I made it to my appointment today, sat down and went over my symptoms with my doctor. He hummed and hawed, asked me some questions, and poked at my stomach – the usual. The unusual part, however, was that he had no idea what was wrong with me.

In fact, he wasn’t even sure if my symptoms were related to my Crohn’s Disease or my ostomy. Maybe the gallbladder? Maybe the pancreas? Maybe a stricture or maybe just some scar tissue. Who knows! The only way to find out, he said, was to schedule me for some tests and test out a med.

I was sent across the hall to get my blood drawn, downstairs to fill a prescription, then back up to the 5th floor to try on some hospital gowns for my xray photoshoot.

After an hour and a half of running around the hospital, I left, and started to walk home.

It was cold out, but sunny, so I put on both my jacket hood and my big sunglasses.

And I walked.

I kept walking.

Mind blank.

Walked some more.

My mind still blank.

I walked by a pharmacy.

Without even knowing it, I walked through the door.

I didn’t need anything.

I was drawn to the candy section. The only area that had food I could eat.

I circled 2 aisles.

I still didn’t need anything.

Mind still blank

I stopped on my second time around and stared at some candy. I lifted it off the shelf and read the ingredients.

I didn’t need it.

I turned and started to walk around the rest of the store.

And then my eyes started to well.

Still in my sunglasses, so the lady across from me in the store at the cash register couldn’t see, tears made my vision blurry, and a lump in my throat formed.

I didn’t want to eat anymore stupid candy.

I wanted a real meal. Something so simple. Something I haven’t had in 3 weeks.

Lump getting bigger, I walked out of the store, and continued walking home.

My mind, no longer blank, now racing, fuelled my walk home – how could the doctor not know what was wrong with me? How could I not know what was wrong with me? What if I need to be on medication again? What if I have to go back to the hospital? What if I need surgery? What am I supposed to do? Am I strong enough to handle whatever is coming my way? Will I have to stop working? What about my boyfriend? Would I still have the energy to continue working on all the extra things I’m working on? Could I spend weeks in a bed again? Could I handle people poking and prodding me? What about the pain that comes with tests? What if the pain gets worse?

And so on, and so on..

And then, my mind stopped on one last thought –

I don’t even remember how to be sick.

The last time I was really, really sick, I was 13 years old.

Whether it was because I was too young to understand how sick I was, or if I just didn’t have anything to lose, the thought of being sick was never that frightening.

I remember that I could just accept the fact that I was living in the hospital. I remember being ok with missing out on holidays and vacations. I remember accepting that I was doing school work from a bed and skipping after school activities with my classmates. I remember just laying back while doctors and nurses poked, pinched, sliced and diced me. I remember being able to handle the pain. I remember it all just being ok.

Or maybe it was all the drugs. Most of what I remember experiencing is clouded in a haze of drugs.

But what I do remember in that haze is that I just knew how to be sick.

What about now? I’m 25 years old and very aware of what could happen and what might happen and how much of an impact it would make on the wonderful life I’ve built.

I don’t remember how I did it.

Maybe it’s the fear of not knowing. Maybe it’s because this is the second time in 2 years. Maybe it’s because I have so much more to lose.

Whatever it may be, at this point, I can’t really fathom what’s coming and what I’m going to do about it.

The only thing I can do is make light of the situation and hope for the best.


Can someone say sexy hospital wear? Sigh. #crohns #colitis #ostomy #ibd #hospital

A photo posted by Jess Grossman (@jessgrossman) on

Jessica Grossman
  • Lynn Colynuck
    Posted at 11:24h, 29 January Reply

    Oh Jess how I can relate. It seems my life consists of just always being sick. I hate to says this but I am 64 years old and they still can’t figure out how to help me. Fine they put a name to it DIGITS but does that help us no. I wish I knew how to help all of us. Now Dr. Taylor has retired which he deserves but who helps us know.

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