Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Laughing and crying

Warning, the following contains too much information.

So my stomach has been screwed up in various ways for two weeks or so now, and it's gotten really bad the last few days. Heading into my CT, I was worried about this because even under the best of circumstances, drinking two liters of banana-flavored barium contrast solution screws up my stomach. There is no worse feeling than being trapped inside the machine, or even stuck way up on the table, and having to throw up or go to the bathroom. So I wanted to let the techs know where I was at: "Sorry to lay this on you, but stomach is feeling really queasy and I've been having a lot of diarrhea, so I just want to make sure that everyone is prepared for what might happen and we can make any necessary cleanup as non-traumatic for all of us as possible."

They laid some special stuff on the table, got me a little basin in case I needed to throw up, and set up the IV. By that time, my stomach was clutched in knots and I took a last trip to the bathroom. When I came out, the nurse somewhat shyly offered me a diaper. But not just any diaper. This thing was fit for an offensive tackle or a morbidly obese fortune teller. Folded up, it was about the size of a baby blanket. As I put it on, I had a sudden vivid memory of when the kids were infants, and how when they moved up to the next size of diapers during that time, the new diapers always seemed so huge... I flashed on a memory of those little distended infant belly buttons, with the adhesive tabs on either side of the diaper almost meeting in the middle. I laughed hard as I stuffed the monstrosity into my pants and went up on the table.

I'm thinking that most of you probably haven't worn a diaper in recent memory. It sucks, obviously. You don't feel sexy. But I vowed at the start of this whole thing that I would not feel ashamed of my body. I haven't lived up to that perfectly, not even close, but a diaper (even one the size of a mainsail) is nothing in the scheme of things. And it still makes me chuckle, particularly because I didn't end up needing it. Even though I have probably said it dozens of times, I've always hated the expression "If I don't laugh, I'd cry" because you need to laugh and cry; both in illness, and in regular life. 

I'm laughing now, a little, and soon I will cry.

1 comment:

Bill said...

I knew I was helping you out when I foot-in-mouthed the adult diaper joke.

Thinking of you.