Cheers Sexy People!
Wow what a ride (and I’m still on it I’m afraid!) I am writing you from the other side of an alarming medical scare that rocked my world, my polycule, and my “best-laid-plans“ schedule! In our polyamorous community, we often talk about the “what-if’s”, such as “what if you are in the hospital and your multiple partners want to visit you… will the medical staff let them in, give them a hard time”, etc.? Well I got to find this all out first hand after I landed in the ER from gut-wrenching, doubled-over pain. Yes yes, I got to endure the joy of the proverbial “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up”-ness that we think of when we think of elderly brittle ladies who live alone. Well this 48 year old, socially active, pole fitness dancing gal found myself on the floor of my bathroom on March 13th wondering why I left my phone a whole two rooms away! Could I send the cat to retrieve my phone with some magical, super-glue string? Eh, who cares… I’m just going to keep lying on the floor of this lovely bathroom staring at the ceiling wondering What The Fuck is going on with my gut!?
It was a scary moment indeed.
Finally several hours later, my husband and I confirmed that it was diverticulitis, an inflammatory bowel disease that had progressed quite frighteningly to an infection with other gross complications – no need to elaborate here. At first we were both somewhat relieved as our vivid imaginations had already progressed to much more devastating ailments. Also we were not completely surprised at the diverticulitis diagnosis as my father had nearly died from this disease at the age of 60 requiring emergency surgery that stole him away from death’s door that was only hours away.
Once I got ushered quite elaborately to my private room (thank you UnitedHealthcare Insurance! I am sheepishly feeling that privilege of coverage now!), my sense of humor and authenticity started to come back. I thought, “What have I got to lose now?” As the nurse asked whom I lived with as she filled out my new spiffy medical records, I answered confidently, “My husband, my boyfriend, and my two cats” waiting for her reaction. She looked just slightly befuddled and just kept on typing. Victory!
That first hospital visit, it just so happened that my beau was on his first vacation abroad with his family (lovely wife and adorable son). I had little time to worry about any emotional feelings of jealousy over this, as the very physical excruciating pains in my gut were far more noticeable and acute. Though it was challenging my beloved was so far away during these difficult days, my dear amazing husband literally slept by my side every single night holding my hand. He was there for each of the multitude of doctor’s visits where we heard frightening details of my new-to-me condition. How the heck did this happen and so seemingly FAST?
(Spoiler alert: Family history seems to be a factor, as well as a typical American low-fiber diet over the course of my lifetime, regardless if I have eaten “healthy” for the last ten years. Please NOTE, fellow community: Make sure you are getting enough fiber in your diet! The recommendation is 25 grams daily for women under the age of 51, and 38 grams for men under age 51. Consider supplements if you are not getting your fair share. If you live in America, chances are you are getting only HALF of the amount of fiber that you need!) – Public Service Announcement Over.
After a liquid diet “meal”, a low fiber meal, and a bowel movement, they released me from the hospital with my family in tow with 10 days of oral antibiotics.
But wait! There’s more!
Fast forward three weeks later… I need to have a follow up CT Scan (Xray of my gut) for my new gastroenterologist to check my progress. I wake up feeling weak and ask my husband to take me for this quick 15-minute scan. As we are checking in, I feel dizzy, then hot, then everything goes “dream-scape” like with fancy bright colors, and I proceed to collapse on the floor. My Brazilian jui-jitsu blackbelt husband literally catches me as I fall so that I don’t hit my head. It was TOTALLY NINJA! The next thing I know, some blond woman I’ve never seen before is waking me up from a deep relaxing sleep saying, “Honey, you just passed out.” Serendipitously, in my fog I had brought us to the wrong location for my scan: The hospital versus the imaging center around the corner. Was someone upstairs looking out for me?
I get rushed to the ER. Another CT Scan. Another scary diverticulitis infection diagnosis. This time they tell me it’s even worse than it was before! What? Yikes! My husband is of course with me, and within an hour my beloved arrives Uber-ing straight from work. So sweet to be surrounded by my two loves for this epic moment I will not soon forget! Emboldened now with courage and WTF-ness, I tell every staff member that this is Spouse 1 and Spouse 2. It made me think of Dr. Seuss and his Thing 1 and Thing 2, except this was even so much cooler. No one blinked an eyelash! As a matter of fact, we ended up having some fun with one of my male nurses, who said we could borrow some of his cos-play uniforms and get kinky at home when I’m better. I think we were bringing the sexy to Inova Alexandria Hospital!
This hospital stay, I befuddled the doctors as my scan looked far far worse than I was presenting – not in much pain if at all, joking around with the staff, walking the halls. I was able to avoid emergency surgery thanks to my upbeat, low-pain episode. They watched me closely, and my new colorectal surgeon had a picc (catheter to heart) line installed in my right arm (OK, THAT was SUPER FREAKY and SCARY!). My two loves wore hospital caps and masks to keep the room sterile and cracked jokes trying to make me smile while it was installed. I needed that more than I realized as I burst into tears after the procedure was done.
Why? Partly because I was PISSED! I admit I had a “Why is this happening to me?” moment. I endured and survived infertility. I waded through other stigmatized situations such as coming out polyamorous. And looking like the picture of health to all who know me, now I have a picc line in my arm and this gut infection that does not want to release me? Seriously, God, why do you hate me?
My partners lovingly talked me off the ledge, allowed me room to feel my emotions and cry, and gave me pep talks about acceptance, and dealing with the present moment for what it is… all things I hope I would have said to someone I love who needed to hear it. LOVE!
I am now on day 20 of a 30 day infusion of IV antibiotics that I administer at home via this fancy picc line that I joke makes me look like a deranged cyborg. One of my two beloveds that live with me help me administer these drugs on a daily basis. Yay for poly living and poly families! The more loving and caring peeps under one roof looking out for each other, the better I say. I am on a special low-fiber diet for a full six weeks to allow my bowels time to rest and heal. I have also drastically changed my diet. I am now vegetarian (or pesca-tarian as I am consuming fish only), and have cut out most dairy. I bought a juicer and am juicing my way to better health. When I go back on a full fiber diet, I will switch to smoothies using my beloveds’ trusty Vita-Mix.
As I’ve been pondering life and what lead me here to this moment, I believe more than EVER that we improve the quality of our lives (including our health!) by improving the quality of our relationships! I am a big advocate of removing toxic relationships from one’s life as much and as quickly as possible. I have had some stress in my life, and have been focusing on cultivating empowering, positive, healthy relationships based on mutual respect, while simultaneously investing less and less energy on those people and situations that drain the life and vitality out of us.
This is no accident.
To that end, I started reading “Mind Over Medicine” by Lissa Rankin whom I saw speak at World Domination Summit 2015 and later met in person. This book is fascinating! We have more control over our health with our minds and our emotional well-being than we realize based on her research.
Here’s an excerpt:
One of the most profound ways your mind can heal your body is through the relationships in your life. We all know that love heals, but did you know that it heals not just the soul but the body? While loneliness, anger, and resentment are poison for the body, the desire for connection, intimacy, and a sense of belonging with family, lovers, and friends is hardwired in our DNA, and when these desires are fulfilled, our bodies respond with better health. When you find your tribe, feel loved, and surround yourself with the people who know your heart and accept you just the way you are, you optimize your body’s capacity for self-repair and make your body ripe for miracles.
Wow! Awesome! I’m ready for a miracle please! I would like to send out to the universe that I would like this infection in my gut to kindly and promptly leave my body. I have learned my lessons here. I will take those lessons forward with me and share! Thank you for the reminder that we ALL need to find our TRIBE, our COMMUNITY, those who accept us. Welcome, LWB community! We need each other!
Wishing you peace, love, and happiness,
(and thrilling, fun sex too!)