For those a bit squeamish, or if you have no interest in someone undergoing gastrointestinal investigations, probably go read about my wonderful yoga retreat experience in the French alps. Other option, read on and become a bit more educated. People don't really talk about this, particularly women. So I will.
In the past few days I have turned to the internet in hope of finding like minded people, someone with experience or able to give me some advice & reassurance. It was pretty much nigh impossible, everything outdated, from people much much older or being over dramatic. At 25, and having spent the best part of a 5 year relationship having my other half think I didn't even do so much as fart, I have become oddly comfortable with talking about my bodily functions. You don't really have an option not to.
Yesterday I was admitted to hospital with severe abdominal cramps, near total inability to move and abnormal & overly frequent bathroom visits. All the fun stuff! I've been dealing with this on and off since I had an extended bout of EColi 0157 starting in October 2014 with the last big flare up being this time last year. I was referred for a colonoscopy back then but heard nothing: one of the ones that dropped off the list. 5 weeks ago this most recent flare up started, with it peaking 4 days ago ( hence me currently residing in an overheated room in a stylish hospital gown on a diet of bland food ). My parents amazingly took it into their own hands and brought me to see a private consultant who had me in the hospital within an hour and having an almost certain diagnosis of ulcerative colitis (still pending the scope and biopsies to confirm). What they don't tell you, when you go for a simple consultation, is just how they plan to 'investigate'. It was a bit of a shock. I'll spare the graphic details because I'm sure you can imagine where they're looking, but they use what I can only describe as an air pump to open your bowel which was probably the most alarming feeling. Bizarre yes, but in about 2 minutes she was able to see clearly what was wrong, and to think I had been waiting over a year for someone to do this, and within a 15 minute appointment I knew so much more than I had learnt in 18 months.
So here I am, sitting in a gastrointestinal ward with women 3 times my age and my first hospital stay since I was 4 with a dislocated hip. I've been here 24 hours and already had an enema (much less alarming and sudden than you think), and had the long awaited flexi sigmoidoscopy. I didn't sleep last night potentially due to the steroids but mainly because my mind was whirring about the procedure this morning. One of the main reasons I want to write this is to reassure anyone who has to have this that it really isn't that bad. The anticipation is definitely worse. They lightly sedate you so to be honest I can't really remember having the procedure let alone whether it was uncomfortable or not but what I can tell you is the staff are lovely and it only lasted about 10 minutes. They look halfway in your large intestine and take a biopsy, very simple, not too uncomfortable and definitely worth the risks to get yourself the right treatment!
What I have ahead of me now is 5 days twiddling my thumbs trying to recoup while they pump me with steroids to get ahold of the inflammation. Luckily I packed my knitting so the blanket I've been putting off will get some attention! And then there's the HOGA (hospital yoga) I'm going to develop. I look barking rolling about, working out what postures feel good and can be done from a hospital bed but sure if it helps me and provides others with some entertainment then continue I must!
It's what you make it though isn't it. This was certainly not where I was planning on spending my week, in fact I was meant to be walking in the highlands, but hopefully this is the start of me regaining some control of my life and becoming less off a nuisance, worrying about toilets and my bloated tummy! And who knows, maybe I'll even be able to eat my first proper Christmas dinner in 2 years!