Shitting Blood

Well, not really. Typically, when I wipe, there’s bright red on the paper. Sometimes a few fine dots, sometimes a splotch the size of a pencil eraser that makes it clear that holy shit I’m bleeding from my asshole. I had a doctor check it out, he says it’s a tear in the anus. How the fuck did that happen. I don’t recall sanding my asshole with cheap one-ply five times a day.

I looked up how haemorrhoids happen. One cause is prolonged sitting. That is probably it. For months I’d sit on my ass playing World of Warcraft for hours every day. I never thought that would lead to me grinding shit directly into my bloodstream every time I take a dump. I’m fucking twenty-three. This shit isn’t supposed to happen yet (no pun intended).

Then again, a lot has happened in the last three years. In 2014 I was hospitalized as a suicide risk. In 2015 I was hospitalized for viral myocarditis. Woke up one Sunday morning feeling like a truck was parked on my chest, went to the hospital and was told by the doctor that it was probably heartburn from all the meds I’d been taking for the gastroenteritis I had that week. But, she said, we’ll do some blood tests just to be sure. Then she comes back and tells me I need to be put in the ICU because my heart muscle is dying. First time I had morphine. It didn’t do anything to stop the pain. Anyway, made a full recovery; it’s like it never happened.

Fast forward to December and I’m at my mother’s, sitting on my ass playing World of Warcraft. Again. I had constant diarrhea and started feeling nauseous from time to time. My mother, a psychiatrist, thinks its stomach inflammation from the energy drinks and Ritalin I took every day. I stop, but it persists. In January I start my honors in biochemistry. It just gets worse. Took about half a dozen doctor visits to finally get a gastroscopy. Turns out I have inflammation in my duodenum, with an ulcer. It hasn’t improved with stomach acid-reducing medication, the biopsies indicate that it’s not bacterial, and I don’t pop anti-inflammatory or pain pulls regularly, which is the only remaining probable cause. The doctor gives me three weeks of a PPI to bring down my stomach acid. If it doesn’t improve they’ll have to do more tests.

It’s frustrating. I just started feeling like I’m finally ready to be a functioning human being. The depression that crippled me for years has finally lifted, I feel like I can finally live up to my potential. Then I start feeling nausea and stomach cramps every day makes it impossible to eat more than one or two portions of food a day. Before, the pain was in my head: just constant, debilitating sadness every day. Now that’s gone, the pain is in my gut. Feeling like my gastrointestinal tract is being nuked from orbit.

Despite that, I’ve been keeping up with the honors course, even though it’s fucking gruelling. Staying on campus for 9-12 hours at a time. Set aside 10 hours for sleep and wake up still feeling tired. Reading through articles the terminology of which is like hieroglyphs. Jumbles of letters and numbers referring to experimental materials I only vaguely understand.

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I pull through, though. The methylphenidate helps a lot. Ten milligram instant-release tablets, maximum of six a day. Pop one with some caffeine and you can be interested in anything. But I’ll write about that another time.

I used to think that you pursue financial security and disposable income to reap the pleasure of retail therapy. Now I think it’s so that if you or someone you love gets fucked-up sick you can pay a respectable medical institution to get it fixed.

I just want to be healthy. Not completely free of ills, but just functional.

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