As I sat on the ugly yellow floor of the bathroom in my suite my first semester at Cottey College, I wondered what was happening to me that my body would rebel against itself so violently. What was happening to me that I would wake up at five o’clock in the morning with a pain in my back far beyond anything I had ever felt before and proceed to get sick seven times within two hours? I had no control over my body. After those two hours nothing had improved.
Luckily, one of my suitemates got up early to study for a test and discovered me hobbling back to my bedroom. She rushed me to the local emergency room where they ushered me into triage and asked me a series of questions, one of them being the most pointless question ever uttered, “Can you tell me how much pain you are in? Just on a scale of one to ten?” I looked up at her from the keeled over position I had been in for nearly three hours by that time and muttered, “Ten.” Although, what I wanted to say was “Well, I would say it started out as a ten, but now, I would say it is roughly thirty-seven. Give or take.”
Shuffled into a room of my own, luckily set up with an adjoining bathroom, I threw up three more times. It took the nurses six different tries, each in a different spot in my arms, to get an I.V. properly inserted so that they could give me some medication. Finally they did and I was placed on a few different drugs; one to calm my stomach and a couple for the pain. I was asleep within fifteen minutes.
After that point I remember very little of that day. I remember my grandma coming in, and then my mom a little later. I vaguely remember being moved to a different room. I spent all day in the hospital, undergoing multiple tests, including one that showed I was severely anemic. Out of a normal 12-hemoglobin count, I had a 7. I was given three units of blood before I went into laproscopic surgery at the end of the day to get some answers. The doctors still had no idea what was causing all of these problems. As I woke up slowly from the anesthesia, my vision blurry and my stomach sore, I did not even recall going into surgery. Apparently my mother was crying and telling me how much she loves me, but I have no recollection of it at all. I was wheeled back into my private room where my mom and grandma were waiting and soon the doctor came in to tell us the diagnosis: Crohn’s Disease.
This is the thrilling tale of the day I was diagnosed. I still only remember bits and pieces, which is why this writing seems a little choppy. A lot of it has been filled in by my friend who took me to the ER, my mom and my grandma. It was an incredibly scary day for all of us. However, it was the day that some pieces of my puzzle began to fit together. For instance, I have had joint pain for most of my life, and it got progressively worse in the months leading up to this day until I was barely able to hobble around my dorm room. Also, I had a severe infection earlier that year, for no apparent reason at all. The blood in the stool. And, of course, the unexplainable digestive issues that went on for more than a year prior. On this day, however, everything clicked. It was a long, hard, scary process, but at least I had some answers.