April 7th, 2012
|02:06 am - Crohn's related from manuscript 2 of 2 (WARNING language)|
“Fuck!” Marissa shot up in bed and clutched her stomach. Another shard of pain shot through her abdomen and she had to remind herself to breathe as she fought back tears. She pulled her knees tightly against her chest, trying to stifle the shear torture she was feeling.
“Marissa! Are you okay?” The groggy voice beside her asked, full of concern.
“I-,” ‘Deep breath,’ Marissa repeated in her head. She pasted a weak smile on her face before turning to Aaron, “I’m okay, go back to sleep,” she strained to say, trying to keep her voice even. ‘Great, I never wanted him to see this side of me, it’s so not sexy!’ Her breathing became labored as she thought she felt red-hot pokers being pressed into her skin near her belly button.
“You are not fine,” Aaron was now more alert than before. “Marissa, you are drenched with sweat and shaking. And unless we were just fucking in my sleep, something is definitely wrong.”
Marissa barely registered that he was even talking as she blinked, slowly, and concentrated inwardly on her breathing.
“We need to get you to a hospital,” Aaron tried to take charge.
“NO!” Marissa finally shouted, panicked. “No,” she repeated, softly, as she concentrated on breathing again, “Just. Get. Me. To. The. Bathroom.” She whispered, staccato, breathing hard between each word.
“Okay,” he agreed, gathering her into his arms and carrying her across the hall to her bathroom.
“You can put me down, I can take it from here,” she panted.
“Let me help you, Marissa,” he willed. ‘Why is he being so helpful?’ Marissa wondered, ‘I would’ve thought he’d be running for the door by now, this isn’t something that’s normally part of our relationship.’
“You don’t want to be in here, believe me,” she said, trying to give him an out, “Please put me down now.” She looked deep into his onyx eyes, imploring him to listen. Finally, he loosened his grip and let her feet land on the cool tile.
“Thank you,” she grabbed the sink on her right and pulled her way to the bathtub. She turned the tap until the water coming out was scalding.
“Can I do anything?” Aaron asked.
“Can you give me twenty minutes in here? I have a pill caddy in the top drawer of my dresser, can you have those waiting when I get out?” she whimpered.
“Of course,” he answered, before taking one last look at her in pain and closing the door behind him.
Marissa slowly sank into the too hot water, her pale skin turning bright red as all of her blood cells came to the surface.
‘Shit! I was hoping to never tell him about this. Who knew this encounter would last overnight? We are usually wham, bam, and see you later. He’s never going to want me again,’ she thought to herself as her abdominal pain finally started to dull. She started to relax against the cool tile of the bath, when Aaron burst through the bathroom door again. He was holding her pill caddy that held enough pills for the week, with four compartments each day, making twenty-eight places to store her pills. His face was full of worry.
“Shit, Marissa, what the fuck is this?” he asked, holding the caddy out to her. “My grandma doesn’t take this many pills.”
“I’ll explain everything to you when I get out. I promise, please?” she pleaded, the pain trying to creep back up inside her.
“Fine,” he agreed, reluctantly, “but the door stays open so I can hear and see you are okay.” She heard him take the pills into her kitchen and fill a glass with water as she, again, wondered why he seemed to care so much.
Just as the water turned tepid, she lifted herself out of the bath tub, grateful that only a dull, tired ache remained. After drying off, she slipped into her robe and walked to her kitchen, ready to face Aaron’s questions and puzzling worry for her.
She walked to the kitchen island and opened the window of the pill caddy for that morning’s pills, there were eleven of them. She divided them into two piles and popped them half in her mouth and took a long drink of her water to wash them down and repeated the step with the remaining pill, then walked over to the cabinet next to the refrigerator and pulled out her prescription acetaminophen with codeine and took it, too.
“Seriously, Marissa? How many pills did you just take?” Aaron asked, this time accusatory. Marissa sighed and turned to look at him, now dressed in his blue boxers and undershirt.
“Eleven, plus one more for good measure,” she answered. “I’ll tell you all about them.”
“What do you have, Marissa?” The worry returned to his eyes.
“I have Crohn’s Disease. These pills are supposed to prevent me from waking up the way I just did. I’m feeling okay now, and I’ll feel much better once the codeine kicks in.”
“I’ve never heard of it.”
“Most people haven’t. It’s an autoimmune disease that affects my entire digestive tract. It has some disgusting side effects, so I don’t talk about it,” Marissa cast her eyes downward.
“It means that my immune system sees my digestive tract as an invader, so it attacks it like it would a virus,” she said, turning back to her pill caddy. She pulled out the next morning’s pills and picked up one of the four turquoise capsules and held it up to him. “This is what is a called a 5-ASA, or mesalazine class of drug. It’s an anti-inflammatory. I take sixteen of these a day.” She heard Aaron gasp as she put the pill back and fished out one of the three small round white pills.
“And that?” He seemed genuinely interested.
“Prednisone, a steroid,” she answered matter-of-fact, “I take three, but only in the morning, otherwise I’d never get to sleep. The side effects of this one are the worst.” She frowned before pulling out one of two slightly larger round white pills.
“A steroid? Do I have to worry about ‘roid rage if I don’t call you?” Aaron asked, chuckling nervously.
“No,” Marissa laughed, “This is azathioprine. It’s an immunosuppressant. It’s also used in organ rejection for transplant patients.”
“Wow,” Aaron looked stunned.
“These last two are just supplements, iron and calcium,” she finished.
“So, how many do you have to take throughout the day?”
“Twenty-three, plus the pain pill I just took that I have for ‘just-in-case.’ My GI doesn’t like to prescribe them, so it’s a really weak dose,” she explained.
“You are so young, why didn’t you tell me?” he took her hands in his and looked into her blue eyes.
“I didn’t think we had that kind of relationship, to be honest,” she shifted her eyes to their hands again. “I didn’t want to seem undesirable. I mean, this is a pretty gross disease to have.”
“Oh, okay, I get it,” he pulled his hands to his side.
“This doesn’t change our relationship, does it? I love what we have, I wouldn’t want this to prevent you from wanting to spend time with me, that way,” she emphasized.
“Of course not. It doesn’t seem like I hurt you… right?”
“No, you do the opposite of that, but if you wanted to hurt me a little, I’d be okay with that,” she flirted.
“That codeine kick in yet?” he asked, putting his hands around her waist, pulling her toward him.
“Most definitely,” Marissa chuckled.