It was a fairly normal Monday. I had a long to do list and, what I considered to be, a fairly bad case of indigestion. It was a burning, griping kind of pain, that after a half hour quite literally had me at my knees. For some reason I decided to get it checked out before heading into uni, and I arrived at my medical practice in somewhat of an alarming state, clutching the reception desk and announcing that I felt like I was going to collapse.
I was shuffled away into a back room, assigned a bed and a nurse who (typically) I went to school with. A doctor came in, they poked and prodded and told me I needed hospital evaluation. I was in agonizing pain, but had a horrible suspicion that it was indigestion…or worse…trapped GAS. I tried to convince the white coats that I just needed some pain killers, I would not..COULD NOT go to hospital for a humble fart! But my pleas were ignored, my husband was called, I was wheelchaired into the car, and after that my ability to give a fuck was seriously compromised.
The pain was akin to being in labour, without the sliver of relief between contractions. I began to panic because I literally could not do anything to get through the moments. I lost all control in the waiting room, groaning, writhing, losing snatches of consciousness, telling Steven – in all seriousness- that I felt it was time to call an ambulance. Nurses scurried over, took my obs, gave me some pathetic excuse for pain relief and told me I was next.
“Next for what?” I wondered. “Next to DIE?!”. In fact death would have been preferable at this point.
Finally I was taken in and hooked up to the good stuff. While the doctor syringed morphine into my vein I understood, just for one moment, the allure of narcotic intoxication. I heard them talking about me, checking my breathing, but it was all above me and I drifted up into somewhere far more pleasant.
I tested negative for the main culprits, and once the Ob-Gyn team got a whiff of my history of endometriosis I was diagnosed with endometriosis (who conveniently can only be diagnosed through surgery) and sent home.
Of course it wasn’t endo. And of course I was back again less than 24 hours later. Vomiting my guts up and unable to stray from the toilet.
A doctor came in and I was told how mighty unlucky I was to have endo pain ONTOP of a case of viral gastroentroitis and told I could go home. As the doctor left our room Steven let out an enormous fart that he’d obviously been harboring for some time. Almost simultaneously I lurched forward and puked into a plastic bag. Yes. We’re that classy.
And this doctor dance went on for a few weeks. Back and forth, back and forth to the point where I seriously considered the possibility that I was experiencing some sort of stress reaction. Or, I WAS MAKING IT ALL UP. IT WAS PSYCHOLOGICAL. But my wonderful GP pushed and pushed and eventually found what she was looking for.
You know its bad news when your doctor calls you at night. I sat on the bottom of the stairs in the midst of a family dinner and listened as I was told I had something called Oesinophilic Gastorentoritis. My GP sounded quite pleased with herself as she described the illness. And so she should. This weirdo disease has only been diagnosed around 300 times worldwide. Confirmation of my condition probably gave a distinct edge to her mad diagnostic skillz.
And that was the start of it. I walked back into the living room. Announced “I’ve got that weird disease the doctor was talking about” then promptly burst into tears. Partly from fear, and partly from sheer relief. THANK GOD! There is a name for what I am experiencing! I’m not mad! (well not yet! That comes later).
That night I slept fitfully, and this time it wasn’t only the nausea keeping me awake. 1 of 300, I kept thinking. 1 of freaking 300! What is up with that?! How could I possibly have something so stupidly rare. No one knows about this disease. Even my supposed specialist had never heard of it. There is limited research. Few routes of treatment. This was beyond a joke. This was, quite literally, a kick in the guts.
Meh. Sometimes you kick. Sometimes you get kicked. Everyone has their time, I’m told. It seems this is mine.