Today I find myself functioning at the speed of a sloth, which is particularly aggravating since I was actually feeling pretty okay the past few days. While yesterday should have been my first day of work at my new job (if I can even call it that), the boss ended up calling me last minute telling me I was not needed because they were overstaffed, and that I should wait to be called to go into work. This was extremely dissapointing; however, it ended up working out since I ended up in Urgent Care…again.
Friday around 3am I woke up feeling hot with abdominal pains and thought I might vasovagal. Thankfully I didn’t, but when I woke up four hours later I wasn’t feeling much better. The abdominal pain was getting progressively worse, and I had to pee every ten minutes which was also becoming painful. These symptoms are most often associated with a UTI, but the nausea and dizziness were accompanied by blood in my urine which, spoiler alert, is fucking terrifying when you’re a person who doesn’t have periods due to lack of uterus. So, I thought Urgent Care sounded better than passing out from pain alone in my apartment.
Considering I was there only two weeks ago for nightmarish nerve pain in my left leg, and a month before that, and several months before that, Urgent Care is not my favorite place. It isn’t that I don’t like the people there, because the staff is actually wonderful; but being a frequent visitor at medical facilities my entire life gets old, and I was hoping that after moving to a new city I wouldn’t continue the legacy. After having a catheter once again shoved into my arm, having blood taken and being poked and prodded, the doctor said that I had a severe bladder infection, but they were worried that it could also be something else because of the abdominal pain that I have been having longer than the infection. I was sent off to another Urgent Care location to have a CT Scan after being told not to eat until it was done in case I needed immediate surgery, since they were concerned for my organs. That’s definitely not what a person wants to hear.
Thankfully my tests and Scan came out mostly okay. Aside from a bladder infection created by Satan himself, they found an ovarian cyst. The doctor said it was small and unimportant, but I was told the same thing when I was 21 right before more came and did not go away, which led to surgery. I am especially panicked considering after my 26th birthday, which will be in two months, I will no longer have health insurance. I suppose we will get to that disaster when it comes, though. At least that’s better than surprise surgery, right?
While these diagnoses are incredibly minor compared to everything else I have faced, these “close calls” I have to come across over and over in are ridiculously exhausting in every way. I have had so many close calls regarding my health, and equally as many diagnoses. I am grateful that the actual diagnoses have for the most part not been as severe as the expected ones, but that doesn’t entirely remove the anxiety from these experiences.
At the same time, I can’t even bring myself to say, ” I am sick of these close calls,” because I fear the moment I do, the worst really will happen. I keep wondering how many more close calls I will have before the day comes when the worst is expected, and that one diagnosis that is my worst fear is given to me. I’ve been nearly diagnosed with cancer, MS, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and even some of the most rare diseases such as Hereditary Angioedema. Instead, cancer ended up being a benign tumor, MS ended up being a syrinx in my spinal cord, Rheumatoid Arthritis ended up being Osteoarthritis, and the Hereditary Angioedema, while not that, was never actually figured out.
In the end, I feel like I can’t handle close calls anymore because I just can’t stand the fear and the whole “waiting for hours while hooked to an IV to see if my life is going to be flipped again…thing. Being actually diagnosed isn’t any better, either. To be entirely honest, I don’t know what to do with myself or how to ever feel about my medical situations. People who do get diagnosed with frightening diseases such as the ones I’ve had my close calls to amaze me, because so many of them have gotten those diagnoses that have completely flipped their worlds upside down, then carry on after that, still fighting, loving, and living as best they can. They are beautiful, powerful warriors.
As I write I am starting to wonder if maybe the real reason these close calls trouble me so much is because I am not sure if I would be able to be one of those people who fight on after disaster. I have already fought so hard in my life for so many reasons, whether it be for my health, my relationships, my home or whatever else. I know I am a fighter, but as I have said many times before, even the strongest people reach their limits. I am just barely turning 26 and I hope that I have a long, healthy life ahead of me. I am also unbearably tired of being sick, taking medicines that make me groggy, being in hospitals and being diagnosed (or nearly diagnosed). My anxiety causes me to fear many aspects of life, but what I fear most is my own body failing me one day, once and for all, and being robbed of my life that I truly love for all the positive and negative.
Most of us have always been told that famous quote, “the only thing to fear is fear itself.” While that may be true, fear is a truly terrifying concept, especially for people such as myself who have already been forced by circumstances beyond our control to face death, illness, and life changing events. Who can blame me for being scared? No matter who you are or what you have faced, I don’t think anyone ever stops being scared. Even musicians who have been in front of thousands of people for concerts dozens of times admit that every concert still makes them nervous.
Being chronically ill is not anywhere near as awesome as being a famous musician, but if those musicians can jump onstage and give inspiring performances despite their fear, maybe I can jump onto those uncomfortable hospital beds when my health forces me to and face whatever comes towards me with somewhat equal bravery. At least, I hope I can. After all, no matter how well I take care of myself I don’t entirely have a choice as to what happens with my health.
If my choices are between being swallowed by fear or facing my life with as much bravery as I can muster, really, that doesn’t seem like much of a choice at all.
Another head aches, another heart breaks, I am so much older than I can take.
And my affection, well it comes and goes, I need direction to perfection, no no no no
Help me out, Yeah, you know you got to help me out,
Yeah, oh don’t you put me on the backburner, you know you got to help me out.
And when there’s nowhere else to run, is there room for one more son?
These changes ain’t changing me, the cold-hearted boy I used to be.