I Should Live in Salt

Another c. diff infection.

Each time, it gets a bit harder to believe that I’m ever going to have a healthy year again. That this is ever going to be manageable.

When I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, I initially shrugged it off. Another chronic condition? Sure. Why not. I’ve had asthma my entire life. Horrible allergies. A bad back since I was a teenager. Chronic conditions are my thing. Gimme the three pills a day. I’ll add them to my morning cocktail, no biggie.

But I’ve not been in the “normal” group for UC. I’ve now had three c. diff infections in the past year. This made it so in 2014, I was actually sick for more days than I was well.

This is a fucked up thing to realize when you’re 32.

The post-diagnosis depression had more to do with the other thing it could have been. The potentially fatal thing. It made me ask myself the question, “If you’re dead in a year, will you have been happy with how your life has gone?”

And the resounding answer was, “No.”

That’s a fucked up thing to think when you’re 30.

I use to have a really fucked up definition of “happiness.” I’m a workaholic. I consider a day a success when I’ve barely had time to sit down. I can manage this for weeks at a time. I know it’s unsustainable, so I go through periods of feast and famine, where the periods of famine are filled with me beating myself up because I don’t have the energy to do anything productive.

And when I’m depressed, everything is famine.

But since then, I’ve actually started to change that, so the point that I felt like I was finally starting to break apart that cycle. Prior to this latest c. diff ordeal, I could actually say that I was happy without having to kill myself with work. I started to think that maybe the depression wouldn’t be able to touch me again.

A week ago, I went out to dinner with a friend. He had some minor upset the next day. I have now been on and off the toilet for an entire week. It’s scarier this time. More sudden and at a greater magnitude.

And I find myself asking new questions that terrify me. Is this what the rest of my life is going to be like? I’ve been unlucky with the UC odds so far, does this mean that I’m going to be one of those unlucky people who this kills?

Don’t Google “C. diff., constipation, ulcerative colitis,” after your doctor doesn’t respond to an e-mail asking about how worried you should be. Just don’t.

I’ve woken up the past few mornings with the thought in my head, “Maybe today’s the day you develop a fever. Maybe you’re dead by the end of the week.”

I’m really trying this time be optimistic, but every time it’s harder, and I can feel that black pit opening up beneath me again.

I started another round of the same antibiotics as the last two times. The kind that are $2500 for a month’s supply. My insurance company denied the prescription for the other antibiotic. The new one that c. diff isn’t resistant to yet. It’s $4000 for a course.

Things appear to have settled down a bit today, and for the first time in over a month I finally got a good night’s sleep (the Prednisone has been giving me insomnia, and between the chest cold and the c. diff, sleep has not been a consistent thing). I made a list of errands I could run. I read at a coffee shop for a few hours this morning and had a bagel.

I can see you sitting over there in the corner, Depression. Sipping your espresso and smoking your cigarette.

Man. I don’t want to be sick anymore.

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