When I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis back in 2008, I wasn’t mad. In fact I was somewhat relieved that my mystery ailment had a name and that there were treatment options available. My naïveté led me to believe that if I just took some pills every day, everything would be normal. Now I sit here at my desk, sans colon, feeling the pain of acidic stool pushing through a poorly constructed ostomy, and I’m angry.
I’m angry that so many treatments have failed, and perhaps even angrier at the fact that I didn’t try more medications before opting for surgery. I’m angry that over a week ago I had my first ostomy blowout – a moment when a backup of stool bursts so wildly out of the stoma that it actually causes the ostomy appliance to partially come off the skin. I’m angry that I had another ostomy leak just three days later. I’m angry that both leaks occurred when I was away from home.
I’m angry that I have to explain to so many people what an ostomy is. I’m angry that the same people I have to explain ostomies to all of a sudden become experts on the subject and feel compelled to give me advice that I never asked for. I’m angry that my well-intentioned but illogical relatives directed me to a “healing centre.” I’m angry that I don’t have the spine to tell them I think it’s all quacktastic bullshit.
I’m angry that my yesterdays seem so much happier, my present is filled with so much strife and struggle, and my tomorrows come with so many doubts.
A while back I took some mindfulness classes. Sometimes when I catch myself feeling angry, I try to take some deep breaths and calm myself down. That might help when you’re stuck in traffic, but when you’re wiping blood and feces off the irritated skin around your stoma it’s weaksauce. I guess I’m still a noob when it comes to this meditation stuff, but seriously, when the shit really hits the clean white polo shirt, or when someone is acting like an utter cunt, it’s tough to just take some deep breaths or show loving-kindness to Cunty McCunterson.
I often deal with my anger by
talking swearing to myself. While cleaning up my ostomy blowout, I probably whispered “fuck” to myself several dozen times. “Shit” is my obscenity of choice when I feel pain around my ostomy, and when someone pisses me off, I’ll usually refer to that person as a “worthless cunt,” but never to his or her face, of course.
Sometimes a few bad words uttered to myself aren’t enough of a release, so I take my fury out on one corner of my mattress. A couple of times over this particularly trying month, I’ve knelt down at the corner of my bed and repeatedly pounded my right fist into the mattress. Now that’s something you won’t see in a Simmons Beautyrest commercial.
While I’m angry about a lot of things, it’s not as though I’m angry all the time, and I really don’t believe that I’m an angry person at my core. Cynical, yes. Jaded, absolutely. Angry, not so much. I’m still trying to push through these miserable times because I want a better life, and I think it’s within the realm of possibility. I haven’t given up. I still try to find good moments. I still find joy in hearing Jayee’s laugh, in watching Arsenal grind out a 1-0 victory at Newcastle, and in having spirited conversations about sports jerseys and human rights legislation.
Underneath all this ire I’m not an angry man, just a disappointed one.