over the past few days i’ve been dealing with an exacerbation of my symptoms that i am having difficulty explaining. a sensation of fullness at the top of my abdomen, at the area of my diaphragm, just below the sternum, and an ungodly amount of referred pain in my lower back. i was worried about it, told my mom and the nurses at omaha GI i was worried about it, but they all basically told me it was part of ulcerative colitis, part of the experience, and there wasn’t much to do but ride it out. i’ve been trying to keep everyone updated on my condition from the very beginning of this flare, which started Halloween night (no exaggeration), because i guess i believe knowledge is power, but lately i’m getting the impression that others don’t want to hear it. i know this is all stupidly vague, but the point is i’ve begun to feel bad about informing others of my aches and pains, my blood loss, weight loss (which is currently around thirty pounds). it’s been a major sore spot between my mom and I, for example. i’ve unfairly thought, more than once, what the hell kind of nurse are you to make me feel bad, like i have to constantly justify, what i’m telling you about my pain? well, we had a big argument about it today, primarly because i was (and still am) in some really bad pain. we were on our way home from seeing a movie (sick-/dying-boy gets a treat), i had just endured 120 minutes of pain/pleasure–it was a great movie (her), but i was writhing in my seat the entire time. in the car i told her to get on the phone to omaha GI since they hadn’t left for the weekend. she obliged, and after we explained the situation and told they’d call us back in fifteen minutes, i got some static once i aired my motives (knowledge is power/i wanted their professional opinion on what to do). “What do you think they’re going to tell you? Go to the ER, that’s what, because you’ve created a liability for them. They have to take care of you, and they’re not going to tell you to say home once you explain your symptoms.” it was all true what she said but i was in excruciating pain and didn’t want to hear it. i told her i probably wouldn’t go to the ER. we raised our voices there in the car, she wanted to know what the point of calling them was, then, and i shouted–a couple times–BECAUSE I DON’T WANT YOU TO PAY FOR IT. when omaha GI called back they recommended an ER visit, i stole the phone and attempted to clearly and rationally explain my symptoms. “No, my abdomen is not rigid or distended.” i tried to persuade the nurse on the other end that i sort of knew what i was talking about by referring to my abdominal quadrants, that i was soft and (relatively) pain-free in each of them. “I swear to god, the pain is right up under my ribcage, around where my stomach is.” she told us she’d update the doctor and call us back in another fifteen minutes. ultimately, their advice was to take two doses of Miralax. they (and me, and my mom) were concerned that i might have a bowel obstruction. the symptoms certainly fit. and that’s basically where i am at the moment. it’s eleven thirty Friday night, i’m about to pop a second Vicoden (“borrowed” from mom’s leftover supply, from when she had a brutal attack of diverticulitis a month or so ago). i’ve been lying in bed, in pain, since four this afternoon. the great question this evening was whether i’d go to the ER. i don’t know. i still might. i’m not out of this by any stretch. did all the usual: cried at the pain, thought dimly of swallowing a ton of loras and giving the world one final salute, etc. the pain is bad, but what’s even worse is the timing. this monday (the thirteenth) i was supposed to begin a CNA (certified nurse’s assistant) certification course. i’d been waiting since early November, was one of the first to sign (and pay) when they announced the schedule for the new year. i’ve wanted this course so bad, to start in a new direction, nursing as a career. i told my mom i wouldn’t drop out even if i had to load up on zofran and an assortment of pain meds to make the class. but if my condition doesn’t improve in a couple days, i might have to. and that, more than anything, breaks my spirit. the lost time is what kills me. i’ve wasted so much time in my life, and i’m just trying not to do that anymore. it’s not enough that illness has stolen my health; often it seems like it’s trying to steal my future. i fight all the time, but with a broken heart broken mind broken spirit broken everything.