Having an upper GI is only good when they give you the Propofol. Recall, this is the junk Michael Jackson took before bedtime to go to sleep, except the body does not really rest, it feels no pain, and it does not remember, but it is not recharging whilst it is under, and you are really under when they give you a shot of this stuff.
I did not awake this time. I had a nice chat with the anesthesiologist this time and we discussed my height and weight and he assured me he would not allow me to arise amidst the affair. Everyone with Crohn’s Disease should have a good GI doctor. It makes a difference. I had a very bad GI doctor who diagnosed me and for that reason went through the process a second time to be sure I was absolutely dis-eased, which I was, sadly. Anyway, I have a good GI doctor. He’s Dutch. Unlike most Americans, Europeans have a very good way with people, a mix of business-compassion-intelligence.
Just before they slipped me the goo-juice, we had a talk about why I was there. I was trying to get off the proton pump inhibitor I’ve been on for 18 years. I don’t like to be on anything; I am a purist. I haven’t taken antibiotics for 19 years; I soldier through every infection because I am saving it for something really death defying. He said losing 20 lbs in a month is a sign that the PPI is the right thing for me, long term side effects or not. I felt a kind of ok-resignation when he said that, and in went the goo-juice, not to mention the plastic o-ring they make you put into your mouth, taping it to the sides of your face and head (into which they slide the monster black scope-snake). Into my oxygen infused the oddest, medicinal smell and then the edges all around me began to fade. My glasses were removed from my face by this time, so it was a little blurry anyway. I was thinking about Michael Jackson went it all went black, imagining this is how he felt every night.
Waking up, I saw the doc again. I wasn’t feeling particularly loving, but I told him he had made a positive difference in my life. I’m sure people gush like hell when they come out of these induced hazes. What the heck, who cares. I probably repeated it a few times, that’s amnesia for you.
I thought a little excerpt from Death by Quiche: A Gut Reaction to Crohn’s Disease written by yours truly would be appropriate today. So, grab a cup of tea and let’s send a kind thought to those who are not in remission, who are suffering every day instead of just a few tough years. Remission is a wonderful gift. I will never, ever forget its purpose in my life.
EXCERPT [Death by Quiche] Copyright 2016 All Rights Reserved
March 8th, 2000
The Doctor Isn’t In
Ok, so, I’ve been feeling sick to my stomach for weeks and weeks now. Since it is beginning to put a strain on my daily life I stopped taking the antibiotics for my skin and made (and kept) an appointment with the dermatologist to tell him about the constant diarrhea and how the meds made my stomach burn.
He listened to my explanation with his head pointed sideways and said, “Unless you’re eating the topical gel, there’s no way any of your skin medications are causing the problem.” I said, “What about my stomach burning all the time?” I also reiterated my case against using antibiotics as a part of the treatment. He switched gears, trying the woman afflicted routine, asking if I was ever anxious and depressed. This was a ridiculous question, because everyone gets anxious every now and again. Then he wanted to know if I’ve ever asked my doctor for Prozac. I rolled my eyes at him and didn’t respond. Some people cannot take constructive criticism.
I gave him an article I found on the net showing how excessive usage of antibiotics could cause gastrointestinal upset. Flustered, he said, “Well, you can stop using them if you want to, but your skin will never clear up.” This comment was on the heels of last week’s dental visit, where I was told that I should invest in braces, even if the cost was out of my range. It’s all about appearance, he told me. I kept thinking, he’s right, no one will hire me after college because I look like trailer trash.
So, because I didn’t opt for braces, I sucked up the discomfort and took my dermatologist’s advice to stay on the meds a while longer.
March 14th, 2000
As soon as my father pulled their old, grey Plymouth to the curb, the end of the street came into view. I could see the water. I kicked open the car door and set off, saying that I‘d be back in a while. “How long is a while?” my mother asked me. I didn’t reply and heard her say, “How long is a while?” to my father, who said, “A while, honey, just let her go.”
He began tugging grocery bags out of the trunk. I know I should’ve helped them, but I couldn’t stand to be with my father while he got ready to go to work. He’s a flight attendant now. From missionary preacher to airline stewardess in less than a year. Because of his job, it’s so much more fun to ask him for a Coke. And some peanuts. He doesn’t laugh as much now that I’ve said it thirty times. Today, he was leaving for an overnight trip. I didn’t want to hug him goodbye, or look rude for not doing so. He makes my skin crawl.
It’s freezing here. I didn’t bring the right kind of jacket for Boston in March. I’ve been wearing a ridiculous crimson anorak with no hood and my mother’s red hat. I look like a stop sign with legs. The wind howls through my every fiber.
As I was passing my parent’s neighbor on the way to the water, I got a smile from the guy standing by his American-dream white picket fence. His wife joined him, dragging a loaded trashcan behind her to the curb yelling about spilled coffee grounds on the kitchen floor. He shrugged his shoulders at her and said, “Ah – what can I do about it now?” I looked back at them both and found they were leaning over their front gate, staring at me.
By the time I sat down on the park bench by the inlet, the wind had picked up. It was time alone, which gave me a few moments of clarity to examine the ambush my mother laid for me in order to get me to go to church this weekend, even though she knows I don’t want to go. She said she would go alone if I wouldn’t accompany her. I asked what she did all of the other times dad was out of town working. She turned away with that look that makes me hate myself and loathe all of the shit between us, which remains so overwhelming, sitting out like a rotting, stinky corpse in the sun.
And when I looked down at the words blow me stenciled into the bench, I thought, you know, that’s just right for this moment.
March 15th, 2000
My uncle bought me my ticket at the T station today, flashing me his meaty grin as he went through the turnstile ahead of me. He should be a tour guide, because he loves to talk, eat good food, see the sights, schmooze. He can make any cold, gray day full of zest, and he’s one of the best cooks I know.
Harvard is situated amid busy streets with people going in and out of every doorway, of every shop, getting on and off buses, hailing taxis, walking every which way, in front of me, on my feet, on the backs of my heels, all at the same time. This wild melee went on while the air ran through in my hair and the rain pelted the ground.
As we walked through an enormous quad-like area, passing huge trees, the crowds thinned out to shadows. The night drew in, the wind blew an icy wet chill over us. Passing students made me wonder what it would be like to spend my graduate years on campus. I felt the drag of the working class in me, fighting against all of my dreams. My nose began to run as it began to rain, and I wiped it on my sleeve, not caring. I felt like I was back in the UK again, walking to school in the early morning as the drizzle came down over me.
“Let’s get some coffee,” he offered, motioning me off the curb where I had come to rest, oblivious to our direction.
Inside the bookstore, I wandered around while G. found a little table in the café and got us hot drinks. I found Marcel Proust’s Swann’s Way: Remembrance of Things Past and decided I would begin reading it, as the first few pages reminded me of being stuck in a vortex of recollection while the present time constantly pestered for attention. I held the book up to flag G. down when he appeared with biscotti and lattés in tow.
I melted the chocolate on the edge of my biscotti in the warm milk, feeling sort of sad and euphoric inside. I asked G. how I was going to broach the deeper issues of sexuality with my mom and dad again if I couldn’t stand to be around them – and who would I turn to for advice if these two people couldn’t help? He said, “You have to deal with what makes you loathe your parents, kiddo,” and, leaning over for the honey added, “That’s the ticket to moving further on.”
They know I’m gay. They don’t know how I struggle with being a Christian at the same time, how I worry that I’m living out my life for no purpose because I am certain to be in hell for all of eternity. That mindset determines my outlook every day. Sometimes, it gets to the point where I don’t know why I should have a life at all. I will not marry, and any children I produce will be bastards, not legitimate in the eyes of my parents, of the church, or of God.
I couldn’t say this to G. because I had so many other things I had to resolve. I couldn’t talk about how my body ached all over. I would have to choose my battles, covering whatever I needed answers to the most. We took our drinks with lids and walked back down to the T station. While we were changing lines from green to blue or from blue to red (I was lost and merely following him) he said he didn’t know what to say except that I should fix what I could and let the rest go.
The city rushed by from the windows as the train sped us toward home. When we went through a tunnel, and the lights would flicker out, I would close my eyes and revel in the privacy.
March 16th, 2000
My mom has always had a case of the Jewish Mother Syndrome. Our conversations of late are one-sided. I listen to the barrage of statements quoted in no particular order, and ponder what I could say that would not trigger a further inquiry, thus lengthening the list of questions to address. All of the points prod me to say something, anything, but I do not. Sadly, I cannot present my concerns. I don’t even ask for advice. Instead, I do what I do best, sitting by, mute, unable to cope with so much attention in one serving from my usually distant mother. It went something like this today:
Do you want some tea?
How about more coffee?
Are you warm enough?
Are you tired?
Do you need a blanket?
You look tired.
Are you losing weight?
What’s wrong with your skin?
How about watching some TV?
What happened to your brother’s last girlfriend?
Did you sleep well enough last night?
Have you had enough to eat?
What would you like for breakfast tomorrow morning?
Have you seen that commercial about the women and the toilet cleaner?
I love the television.
Are you enjoying the church you’re going to?
Will you be going with me to ours?
What are your plans for the rest of your time in Boston?
What’s that you’re reading?
Your aunt has been reading another religious fiction series about the Rapture.
Makes you want to be sure your heart’s right with Jesus.
Are you still a writer?
What’s that you’re doing with your hair?
Your father loves his new job.
He looks like a regular blue devil in his outfit.
I adored him in his army uniform too.
That’s why your brother was born!
Oh, don’t be uncomfortable, we’re old enough to talk about sex now.
Did you know I lost two children before I had your brother?
And we weren’t even expecting you!
I bet you didn’t know we’ve got health insurance now.
Your father got a life insurance policy in case we die, so you don’t have to worry about burying us anymore.
Your brother wants to know what we do with all our money.
I promise we’re not wasting it.
We can’t afford to buy any kerosene to heat the house, so we’ve been using electric radiators instead.
My god, I hope we don’t burn down this place, it’s all we’ve got, and we’re only renters.
Have you met our boarder?
He said you could sleep in his bed.
I changed the sheets. You know how Latino men can be.
I feel like we can’t do anything at all because we just don’t have enough to go around.
Christmas was a little slim again this year, I hope you didn’t mind too much.
I’m going to get a job, but I want to be able to walk to work, to save on petrol, and that’s going to be hard to do.
I had to give myself a perm last week because I can’t get over the sky-high prices these local women charge for a body wave.
I went down to that little coffee shop we drove past yesterday and talked to the man who was there – who was no less than downright rude, and who had the nerve to say that the manager was not there when I know he was the manager, I could just tell.
I have no idea what I’m going to do, but the Lord will provide.
I want to take private singing lessons, believe me, but the woman I found in the city won’t call me back with rates, so you know how that goes.
You always laughed at my singing, but I still practice.
I used to be a star in high school.
I could really sing, but my voice isn’t what it used to be.
Are you sure you don’t need a blanket?
Here, have this one because I know you have to be cold.
Go on, take it, please, just take it.
You’re a waif.
That red hat of mine is so cute on you.
You look thinner, are you vegetarian again?
If you’ve got laundry that needs to be done before you leave, just leave it outside your bedroom door in a pile and I’ll pick it up.
It’s so cold here, just like England but the people are ruder, and it’s so dirty, and they drive like maniacs – I can’t get over how crazy people are on the roads.
I love being here since I’ve always loved the sea.
You know, we never do stay in one place for too long.
Like your father says, we’re nomadic, and it’s a curse for sure.
March 17th, 2000
In the Air: on the Other Side of Bipolar
Mother departed in a huff to the gate area alone. I kept telling her she was headed in the wrong direction. How I wished my father had not left us to park the car. He came striding up to me in his navy-blue flight attendant’s uniform wondering where mom went to. I pointed in the direction from which he just came, and threw my hands in the air in exasperation just as she rounded the corner looking like she was ready to go ten rounds with no intermission.
When an opening appeared at the ticketing counter my father shoved me up to the agent and flashed his ID. The ticket agent rolled her eyes at him when he asked if she could seat me in first class. I cowered in embarrassment. This is what parents do best.
“Are you dressed for first?” she asked, eyeing me cautiously as if I might be wearing a leotard instead of the black pants and shirt I had on. I put my arms up, in surrender, as though ready to be frisked. She leaned out over the counter to get a closer look at me. “I’ll see what I can do,” she said, dubiously.
We walked away from the counter, heading for the concourse. “God, that was humiliating,” I told my dad. “Yeah, but worth it if you get to fly first all the way to Chicago,” he responded, frugally. Not really, I thought, but left it alone.
At the gate, the boarding agent told me to wait until she called my name. My father asked her about first class seating. I shot him a cool look and he remarked, as we walked back to our seats, that she looked like a real bitch anyway. And since she probably heard him, I ended up being the last on the plane, tucked away near the engines and the bathroom at the very back. My mother tried to grab at my carry-on as I got up to leave, having kept radio silence the entire time preceding my departure.
“Will you let me carry your bag to the gate, please,” she said with a mixed look of anger and pleading on her face. I didn’t reply, or give her my bag. Instead, I gathered myself up and said goodbye to what seemed like the air, my mother glowering at me, red faced. I boarded the plane without looking back.
I have finally had enough.
March 18th, 2000
Sexual Release Attained (about six times in a row)
I am exhausted from parental guilt, religious objections to my sexuality, subsequent self-induced celibacy, and constant oppression. This black cloud overhead is not the same kind of depression that has diluted my mother. She crumbles and reconstructs every two days. I’ve been in the same state of disrepair for months now, wondering what to do.
I am suffering, yet thanks to the portable wonders of masturbation, I am somewhat more at ease.
March 26th, 2000
If nothing else is redeemable about a Sunday, I can say it’s the one day I love to shop. I spent $179 on a huge Mexican chest that I’ve decided to use as a much-needed coffee table in the living room. I had to call J. from the store to get some help extricating the diagonally wedged object from my tiny trunk.
He arrived with his little pick-up truck about an hour later looking frazzled, having already driven past the place three or four times. Of course, he asked what possessed me to try to get it into the trunk. I said two cashiers did it, which was partially true. I actually told them to do it, even though they said it wouldn’t fit. After it got stuck, they took off.
We struggled the chest onto the truck bed while my lengthening hair blew about in my face. I stood on top of the box as he was strapping it down and said, “I am Medusa!” because my hair has a weird curl to it now that it has grown out. The gusty air completed the look perfectly.
I don’t think the room fits the piece. One day, I will have a bigger domicile to cram even more crap into. In the meantime, I have maintained my usual consumption rate by purchasing two thick glasses for burning candles. I’ve got so many candles lit right now, I could hold evening Mass.
It was a beautiful, sunny day and then I fell off to sleep and awoke to find it raining! I was staring at the puddles forming when J. from downstairs rang the doorbell with D’s youngest grandson, M., to see if I wanted to come down and have dinner with them. I studied them both from the peephole for a while before opening the door, wanting to be left alone. I said no thanks to dinner because I wanted to watch TV for a change, which was a lie.
I’m going to church again. Today, I commuted on my bike, before shopping, before the rain. I peddled along through TG park with my helmet and backpack, riding on the wind. I had to carry my bike up nineteen steep steps when I got there. All of the kids were running around like wild banshees until C. shouted for everyone to settle down and pass out the song books.
I still don’t sing. At first, I felt uncomfortable, but now I hum along and feel fine about it. I have begun to tithe my money, as commanded in the Word of God, per C. It makes things a little tight, financially, but I do what I can, and I believe it’s the right thing to do. I don’t know what they do with the money, but they feed a lot of homeless people when they do city-patrol at night.
While riding my bike home, I got cut off by a truck running a stop sign. I bellowed, “Hey!” and the guy gave me the finger. Nice. Gas is very costly right now. Soon, it will be too expensive for anyone to fill up their huge shit cans and we’ll all be commuting together and hugging trees, along with saving the environment from a slow and toxic death. I’m obviously low on some kind of vitamin…
April, May, June
April 8th, 2000
So, I’ve been this gassy human for what seems like forever now. This morning, I was sitting on the sofa in my jammies watching TV, reading a book at the same time, hearing the air roll around inside of me, literally able to feel it with my hands under the skin. It started to come out. At one point, it really got moving, just crazy, all kinds of farts escaping here and there – really bad smelling, gradually increasing to even more nose throttling.
I was embarrassed for myself, but lit a little incense, like the great Chinese emperors, and got over it. Then a ruthless pain spread over my whole abdomen, doubling me up and over. I sucked in a lot of air and pushed down to try to squeeze out the fart, and promptly shit in my pants.
I have heard that humans go through shitting experiences when they least expect it. G. told me of his first night in Vietnam when his entire unit was forced into combat from a deep sleep. They ran out of their tents, diving into trenches, wearing only their boxers, boots and helmets. He said he was holding onto his gun, hugging the dirt. It was his first experience of shelling and he crapped his pants, literally, while sucking in the mud, fearing for his life. I have always admired him for telling me that story, and now I respect him doubly because of how painfully humiliating it is to shit in one’s pants in private, let alone in public.
I knew, instantaneously, what I had done. I wasn’t pushing out air. In fact, it was quite warm and smelled sort of like Kimchee. I vaulted off the sofa and sprinted to the bathroom where I was confronted by the reality of it.
I have to admit, I hadn’t lost control. I wasn’t out walking at the Zoo when I suddenly lost continence in front of a group of first graders. But, I had chartered upon new waters. What if this happened again, only I was in the presence of other people? What would I do?
I took a painful poo in the loo and then bundled all of my clothes into the washer and took a shower, feeling the mortification wash over me. I didn’t know what to think, but I it’s something like shame. That’s messed up. I’m curious about what happened, and I want to ask questions.
How horrible it is to have no way or no one to ask such a thing. Has it come to this? That we live in a world where one cannot shit in one’s pants and wonder why without looking like an incompetent?
April 9th, 2000
Better Days, sitting (not shitting) on the Sofa, writing in new diary
I found this great hulk of a book at Borders last night on the clearance rack. I was sitting in the café afterwards waiting for my semi-blind date to appear. She did not. Turns out she was there, in the History & Religion section, where I had looked and re-looked, but still managed to overlook her.
I hate internet dating.
This is the second time I walked past her in the same day. I already made the first face-to-face greeting earlier, at her part time job as a stocker at a grocery store. I crossed back and forth between the rows of food, trying really hard to spot someone adhering to her description. I walked past her twice, which wasn’t a good sign. I kept peering at her from behind the Tostidos thinking, no, that can’t be her.
I think she’s really nice, even if she’s not my type. She’s a bit older than me, about 45. She won’t tell and I know better than to ask. She likes the fact that I’m younger than her, and makes me blush with emails twice daily and sometimes a phone call when I get home late at night from work, tempting me to come over and visit. She says she has a nice house. I am not sure about dating someone so much older than me.
My brother has been slamming me with his scathing remarks about being gay lately. If he finds out that I’m out on dates with someone over 40, it would only make things worse.
Ah, you can’t even please yourself without the world coming down on you, which I might add is far different from the world going down on you…
April 10th, 2000
Jail Bait & Southern Babes
Called the Correctional Facility to see what it would take to visit my cousin while he serves out his short sentence for DUI offenses. I know I do not qualify as a normal family visitor because I’m not his mom or sister. While I made the best case possible, citing that his family lives out of state, except for me, I don’t know if it had any impact.
The lady on the phone briskly informed me that I would have to write a letter explaining my relationship to my cousin (??) and the unavailability of his family, and then submit that to the state capital, after which point I would also have to agree to an extensive background check, which might include taking my fingerprints and a photocopy of my Blockbuster card (I made that part up). She said to check the Significant Other as well as the Family Member box, and to write “cousin” in the margin. That has an Arkansas ring to it, I remarked to her. A cold silence on the other end was my only answer.
All of this rigmarole is fine with me if it keeps T. connected to his family for the duration of his incarceration. I think he has a better crack at life afterwards if everyone doesn’t treat him like a pariah. So far, there are rumors circulating throughout both sides of my family that he’s a fugitive living on the lamb in Mexico with his mamacita girlfriend. While creative, the truth of the matter is, he was in Boston, working a normal job like anyone else before he turned himself in.
My Big Violet (that’s her name) needs repotting. She’s dying in her little terra cotta home, drooping all over the place, but is always giving me little purple flowers, all months of the year.
Have scored a most beautiful picture of Jodie Foster on the cover of W magazine. It’s the December, 1999 issue, which D’s ex girlfriend (the French one) saved and mailed to me. I have cut out the picture and pasted it carefully into this book. Every time I open it up, those two pages fly out immediately, and cause my heart to flutter!
April 11th, 2000
Watching Elizabeth (again)
No class this morning. I find myself sitting here with a cup of tea and really cold feet watching this great, olde English tale of recent Hollywood remake, when I should be studying, or out championing some cause.
As dramatic as I am, I should like to be the Virgin Queen, though I have no royal blood to speak of, and my money is as old as this newly laid, yet closely resembling astro-turf, all weather carpet in my living room. Elizabeth decided against the pressures of this world to devote herself to greater and more relevant issues. But why must life be lived at such an extreme?
See, I’d make a terrible Virgin Ruler. Not to mention that I’m not a virgin to begin with…
April 12, 2000
Singing to the Choir
My tax dollars were hard at work early this morning when the city trucks with their hot gravel and street paving brought me to consciousness long before my alarm clock. At 8:10, I threw my left arm over my ear and reset the alarm for 9:10. At 8:45, tired of listening to the trucks arriving, dumping, leaving, and returning outside my front window, I jumped up and yelled down at them, the only after-effect of which was a wave from the steam roller guy who got more than a good look at me in my next-to-nothings. Very awkward.
I need to get some new sheets to replace the holier than thou set currently hanging on for dear life to the edges of my mattress. I made a list of financially exorbitant, yet trendy items I must own to update to the current period, but have conveniently lost the piece of paper. Unwittingly or not, this has prohibited my progress in becoming a trend-setter in the world of interior decoration.
END EXCERPT [Death by Quiche] Copyright 2016 All Rights Reserved