There’s a lot of things I wouldn’t dare to eat now that I’m older, wiser, and have felt the often excruciating error of my ways.
Which is why I’m giving my brain some serious side-eye this evening while I desperately crave a french bread frozen pizza. I haven’t had a french bread pizza since like 1999. I’m not even sure why I would crave such a thing except for the fact that my entire body is so hollow that I think I’m hearing an echo every time I take a gulp of Gatorade.
It’s been a bad few days as far as gastroparesis goes. And by bad I mean rocking-back-and-forth, screaming, praying to my ancestors, many (ingenuine) bargains with God over what I would give (my macbook, my car, my impressive collection of fuzzy socks) in exchange to not feel the (torturous, entire body cramping, reaching out from the pits of hell) pain I was feeling.
And as I sat there thinking about the entirely liquid diet I was most likely going to be on for the next week or two and how much better my clothes were going to fit afterwards–I started thinking about what I do best in situations where I’m like 98% sure I’m going to either die, faint, or have a complete mental breakdown over pain.
1. I react quickly.
If you know it’s going to get worse–than you know it. I don’t second guess my premonitions of continuous, probably worsening pain. I just go for the gold. For me that’s best represented by STRONG painkillers as early as possible from the onset of
discomfort impending death. The sooner you begin treatment, the sooner you’ll hopefully be so cracked out of your mind that you won’t have to endure the six excruciating hours in front of you of what is sure to be nightmare generating full body spasms.
2. I get myself into the panic room.
My bathroom. My bedroom. My bathtub. My bed. The four B’s culminate into what I like to refer to as “the panic room” or the room I most want to be in when I’m about to go full on Hurricane Katrina inside my own skin. If I’m downstairs, I bolt upstairs to get to my haven. If I’m out of the house I drive like hell to get home before the lightning strikes down on me.
3. I tune it all out.
Sting. John Mayer. The Dave Mathews Band. The Counting Crows. Corrine Bailey Ray. These are just a few of the crooners who I blast on my phone while waiting for my bathtub to fill up so I can float on a layer of Epsom Salt and pretend I am at the beach where no one is violently cutting into my abdomen with dull scalpels.
4. I tell myself that eventually it will end.
One way or another. One medication or another. One blow to the head or another—the pain will end. I just have to hold on for a few minutes or hours until it does. And it will. And eventually I’ll fall asleep in my towel on the bathroom floor or maybe I’ll even get luxurious and make it to my bed with a bucket by my side and a sympathetic poodle on my chest.
5. I swear I will never do whatever I did wrong again.
Sometimes it’s something really obvious like I went to a festival and ate a funnel cake (because why would I believe in my right mind that I could digest a funnel cake?) But sometimes (like this time) nothing I ate really “set me off” it was just a culmination of weeks of “I can’t really tell if my stomach hurts so I’m just going to go about eating normally” and then it wasn’t okay. And then I hated myself and wanted to die. But in those moments I swear that if BREATHING was what set me off I would never, ever, ever do it again.
What do you do when you’re like 98% sure you’re about to die?