April 7th, 2012
|02:04 am - Crohn's Excerpt from my manuscript 1 of 2|
So I have to be up in 5 hours, but I don’t care. Jeffery told me he loves me, not adores me- loves me. I’m so scared. I’m going to miss him so much, and I love him, too- but I’m not in love with him, he knows that. I just want everything to be okay. I’m going to miss everyone, and I’m glad to get away from my dad and brother for awhile. I need to do this for my future. I need to do this for my sanity.
* * * * * *
The morning Marissa was supposed to leave for boot camp, she woke up to pain and heat radiating through her body from her stomach.
“Gah!” she managed to gurgle as she tried to pull herself into a sitting position.
“Marissa! We’ve got to get going!” she heard her mother call from down the hall.
“Okay!” she called, through a strained voice, as she gasped for breath.
After a struggle, she finally rolled herself off her twin bed and into a standing position, even though she had to walk like a hunchback, her arms hugged across her stomach tightly. Slowly, she made her way to the bathroom.
“I’m going to take a quick bath!” She yelled, breathlessly.
“Make it fast!” her dad roared from the living room.
“I will,” she answered in a whisper.
“You’d better change your attitude before you leave that bathroom,” her father warned.
She tried to blink back the tears she felt, but the pain was too much. Hot tears spilled over her lids and sliced down her cheeks as she turned the handle on the hot water, filling the bathtub. She stripped as carefully as she could and sank into the hot water. The relief she felt was almost instantaneous, and she took a deep breath again, before attempting to straighten her body out in the bath and washing herself.
“Hurry up!” Her dad’s words sent another twinge of pain catapulting through her body. Her freedom was just a plane ride away, even if she was going to be controlled even more in less than twelve hours, no one would put their hands on her again.
“I’m coming!” she yelled, as she reached for her towel on the rack beside her and dried herself quickly.
* * * * * *
Thirty-six hours, one plane ride and less two hours of sleep later, Marissa’s stomach was now relentless. She practiced deep breathing techniques she learned from the one yoga class she attempted, but she still felt like her insides were being ripped apart. She tried hard to stand at attention, but overwhelming need to double over was proving to be too great.
She felt overheated, though Marissa was almost positive that had more to do with the Northern Illinois summer humidity and the fact that she was wearing military issue sweatpants and a sweatshirt. She felt her body start to sway. Luckily, her shipmates surrounding her helped her to stay upright. They were marching from the mess hall toward their barracks for the night when they stopped to allow another company to pass them.
“Come on, Masterson, you can do this,” one of her shipmates whispered beside her. On the last syllable, another jolt of pain rocketed through Marissa’s abdomen and she fell to her knees in a crumpled heap before anyone could catch her. She closed her eyes tightly and gripped her sweatshirt, panting.
“Petty Officer!” her shipmate yelled from behind her in formation as Marissa’s stomach started to heave and empty on the gravel coated walkway.
Marissa tried to focus on the man coming up beside her to yell at her to return to attention, but everything started to go black as she felt the Petty Officer catch her head before it hit the ground.
“Call a medic!” was the last thing Marissa heard before she succumbed to the blackness and numbness settled over the pain.
When Marissa came to, she was hooked up to an IV and was lying in a hospital bed on base.
“How are you feeling?” a nurse beside her asked, pulling the curtain around her bed for privacy.
“I’m not sure. I’m itchy, but I don’t hurt as badly as I did before,” Marissa found her voice to be rough in her ears. “I’m thirsty.” She tried to clear her throat.
“That’s to be expected, we’ve got you on some pain killers and some fluids for dehydration. Also, we’ve taken you back for an upper and lower GI series while you were out. The doctor should be in any moment to explain the results,” the nurse started to take her vitals and make notes on a chart. Marissa looked at the ceiling tiles as the blood pressure cuff on her arm started to tighten.
“Hey! You are back with us!” A man, Marissa assumed was her doctor, came around the curtain with a reassuring smile on his face. Marissa smiled weakly in return. “Well, the GI series and blood work were pretty conclusive, but we have to run one more test to be 100% positive,” he started.
Marissa just blinked up at him from her bed, her mind numb from the pain killers.
“We’ll have to fast for the rest of the day, and take you for a scope tomorrow, but I’m almost positive you have Crohn’s Disease. A pretty severe case, too, to be able to identify it before a scope,” he explained as if his words had significant meaning to her.
“I have what?” she asked, slowly.
“Crohn’s. It’s a disease of your intestinal tract. Not fun to have. We’ll try to get you stabilized here after we confirm the diagnosis and get you started on some medications, and then we’ll send you over to separations,” the doctor continued.
“Separations?” Marissa whispered, tears springing to her eyes.
“Of course! You aren’t healthy enough to continue with basic training. You’ll need to get home and find a gastroenterologist to get you on the proper medication regimen for you. We’ll send you with some general information and once you have a doctor back home, we’ll be happy to forward your records for treatment,” the doctor laid a reassuring hand on Marissa’s arm. “I’m sure with the pain killers, you aren’t getting everything I’m saying, but it’ll be okay.”
‘Separations?! I can’t go home! They’ll think I failed. They’ll be ruthless. What am I supposed to do now?’ Marissa thought as she started to feel the pain in her stomach creeping back up. She winced. Her nurse moved to check her pain medication levels and checked her watch, before adding a new dose into Marissa’s IV.
“Just relax, Masterson. That’s the only thing you can do for yourself right now. Stressing isn’t going to solve anything and, frankly, it’s not good for the Crohn’s. I could send one of staff psychiatrists by if you’d like? Sometimes finding out you have a chronic condition can cause some depression.”
“Chronic condition?” Marissa managed to squeak out.
“Yes, but we’ll know more tomorrow. I’ll leave you with some information about what Crohn’s Disease is and I’ll be happy to answer any questions you have tomorrow after the exam. And anything I don’t answer, you’ll be back home in the next two weeks. Good?”
Marissa could only find the energy to nod as the pain medication started to take effect and she felt herself drifting off to sleep again.