I’ll probably never be able to explain why I was universally hated by my nursing school class. I’ve tried to explain it before, but it makes so little sense to even me, that I give up after awhile. It’s not like I’m a hate-able person (who really thinks they’re hate-able anyway?), quite the opposite, actually.

But I started nursing school and was promptly dumped into a class of people I didn’t know, who knew each other, and who didn’t like infidels infiltrating their elite ranks. Or something. Whatever.

Looking for any port in a storm, I sat next to a girl who had been in my statistics class, whose name was Melissa. She was a nice girl, a single mother as well, and we hit it off decently. She had another friend who was a bit closer to my mother’s age, high strung as hell, but seemed like a nice person. It wasn’t exactly who I’d have chosen to hang with had the pool of candidates been any larger, but we all managed.

Until midway through the semester when things got…weird.

Now here’s the part I need to be pretty careful in mentioning properly, because as pompous as I can appear, it’s not really who I am. Bush-beating-around isn’t something I do very well, so I’ll just go ahead and say it the way it is.

I’m a good student. I’m an excellent test taker, and I’d never wanted to be a nurse: I’d wanted to be a doctor. I changed career paths when my son was born, and I found the nursing classes to be frightfully simple while many of my classmates floundered. This, I’m aware, angered many of my competitive classmates who were both aware of my dislike of my new profession and the fact that I reliably beat their test scores.

While I didn’t exactly tell them that I’d beaten their scores, the word would travel like syphilis and pretty soon I’d be getting the death stares I’d gotten accustomed to.

Melissa and her friend were no different. And they seemed to take particular issue with my habit of occasionally skipping lecture sessions to sleep in. The “lectures,” if you can call them that, were all on Powerpoint and downloadable off the web, and were literally read by the teacher. For 4 hours a day.

Pointless, yes. I could read them easily on my own and manage just as well, if not better.

But this angered Melissa and her friend, whose business it was not, and I began to notice a distinctly chilly vibe when I’d greet them. It was clear that they were angry with me and my obviously irresponsible actions, and so I began to steer clear of them. I mean, I’m not a sadist.

During the summer between my junior and senior year, I received a diagnosis of Crohn’s disease, which, while certainly not cancer or anything quite as deadly, is not something that at the age of 23, you really want to hear. Knowing the words “colostomy bag” and “bowel resection” are in your future doesn’t exactly inspire one to smile broadly and save some kittens from a burning building.

It’s an ugly disease, and it’s easily found in a book called “100 Diseases You Don’t Want To Get,” right up there with Ebola, SARS and HIV. It’s not something I often talk about because it makes people uncomfortable. It’s a gross subject, that’s for sure, and it’s not one that is easily worked into polite dinner table conversation, so for the most part, I didn’t and still don’t often mention it. People don’t exactly want to hear that you’re shitting 20 or more times a day and in constant pain, especially when there’s no real cure, nothing that really makes it go away.

It’s led me to the pearly gates of our local ER more times than I can count, due to mismanagement on the part of my former GI, the one who gave me my initial diagnosis. At the time I was diagnosed, the only drug that helped was not covered by my crappy student insurance, so I just grinned and bore it. I couldn’t afford the medicine back then, so I just rode the wave.

Pain management was laughable as my GI “didn’t want me to get addicted,” so I had to hit up the ER on the days when I just couldn’t handle it anymore. And some days, the pain is simply unbearable. Chronic pain, to those of you blissfully unaware, is exhausting (especially when you have no real means of relief) and wears on your soul in a way you’d never imagine. I’ve had to lay in bed to recover from a particularly bad flare up because I am so exhausted that I cannot stand properly without wobbling.

Crohn’s is, of course, not a diagnosis that is easy to come by. There’s no definitive test for it, only a gathering of data from a multitude of different yet humiliating tests. Let me tell you why I have little to no shame: I have shat in buckets. Many buckets. I have had to carry said buckets around collecting stool for days on end. Then I have had to drop these buckets off at labs where some poor soul is stuck fishing around in my poo.

I have had to have a camera shoved down one hole and up the other (let’s hope he changed the tubing, eh?). I have had to shit my pants because I couldn’t make it to the bathroom.

No one marches for a cure or sells stuff with pink on it in honor of it. I don’t know of any corporate sponsorship or nifty slogans that people can say to say that They Support My Disease (which is likely to lead, one unlucky day) to colon cancer. I’m not angry about having it any longer, but I’m not exactly enveloped in new research or treatment options, nor can I tell most people that I have it without explaining it in more graphic detail than anyone wants to hear.

It’s glamorous, as you can see. It’s the sort of diagnosis a girl would simply KILL to have.

Right?

Because I can’t think of any other reason that anyone might imagine I’d lie about having it.

I came back to my senior year in college, and word spread like herpes that I had Crohn’s disease. Which, to a bunch of nurses IS somewhat interesting. It didn’t impact my studies too often, and I didn’t have much call to talk about it. Again, it’s just something I deal with, not something I define myself by.

One day, a couple weeks into that semester, Melissa’s friend, who hadn’t spoken a word to me in ages, as I was now Public Enemy #3 (number 1 and 2 being syphilis and herpes, naturally) turned around during one of our breaks and spoke to me all accusatory-like:

“My STEP-daughter has Crohn’s disease. And she’s had it since she was 11. And now I’m wondering how YOU got it so LATE in life.”

Her ‘YOU’ was drawn out like a finger pointing directly at me. Accusing me.

I reminded her that Crohn’s is normally diagnosed in patient’s twenties or thirties, but she just wouldn’t let it go. And as she ranted on and on about how it stunted HER growth and how much WORSE her step-daughter had it than I did, it dawned on me: that bitch totally thought I was lying. I’d hung with them long enough to know that this was how their brains worked, Melissa and her friend.

She totally thought I was lying about having Crohn’s disease. Which is either funny or sad, depending on how you frame it.

Because if I was planning to lie about something, I assure you that I would choose something FAR cooler to do so about. Like maybe tell you that I was, in fact, born in the Congo and had a monkey as my best friend as a child. Or that I was actually descended directly from royalty and was just going to college to “see how the other half lives.”

It was then when I learned just how strange people can be. I still cannot imagine what would lead them to believe I was in any way faking this disease. A) I’m not that clever and B) I don’t really like pity.

————-

I was thinking back to those days today, after I finally put a phone call into my OB’s office about what can only be called a flare-up of my Crohn’s disease. I’ve put it off for awhile since I have no active GI doctor and no failsafe treatment plan. I’d planned on going back in for the battery of tests once Amelia is born and getting some real sort of treatment going, but things have gotten to dire for me to do this safely.

In a shocking turn of events, not only was I able to get the phone nurse to get a real answer for me, but I was able to get an appointment with a brand-new GI doctor for tomorrow. Which goes to show you just how bad things have gotten if I can get in next-day to a doctor I’ve not seen before WHILE I’M PREGNANT. Most doctors hate dealing with pregnant ladies due, I’m sure, to the incredible level of lawsuits they might get if they mismanage care.

And I’m hoping like hell to get something, anything, to stop the pain and spasms and bleeding, lest I go insane.

But even if I do go insane, I highly doubt I’ll accuse anyone of lying about having a disease. Because that’s just fucked up.

Comments = full of the awesome. Like gravy. I can haz an RSS RSS feed .

50 Responses to Lies and The Lying Liars Who Tell Them

  • Kyddryn says:

    Some people have nothing better to do than assuage their wounded feelings of self-importance by accusing others of doing what they themselves would do – lying to get attention or sympathy.

    Good grief, who would lie about Crohn’s?? And to what purpose? What, did they think the proff was giving you the answers out of pity because there’s no way you’re that smart because THEY aren’t that smart, and no one is better than THEY are??

    Ahem.

    Sugar, I hope there’s relief in your near future…and I hope that some treatment (or better ye, cure) found sooner rather than later – I know very well what Crohn’s is, not because I have it but because a friend does, and I’ve seen her enduring flare-ups by simply existing one minute at a time until she has no choice but head to the hospital; it’s no way to live.

    Shade and Sweetwater,
    K

  • LilSass says:

    More evidence that women are insane.

    Chrohn’s disease + pregnancy sounds like hell on earth. Here’s hoping you get better soon. If there was a brown ribbon or a brown rubber bracelet or a Chrohn’s walk, I’d do it for you. I would.

  • Sarah says:

    I don’t have Crohn’s, but I did/do have a nasty IBS thing going on, both now and back when I was young and intolerably hot. Two things I understand: 1) There are people who really believe women like us CHOOSE to spend quality time in public restrooms (these days WITH OUR CHILDREN) rather than just live our lives, because, really, no one has it “that bad”, and 2) due to a shoulder injury, I fully understand the soul-sucking vampire that is Chronic Pain, and how it can systematically dismantle all that you hold dear.

    I would bitch-slap that sad old hag for you, if I thought it would do any one of the three of us any good at all.

    So happy there seems to be hope for (dare I type it where others can read) some relief before Amelia arrives!

  • Heather P. says:

    God bless you honey!
    I will be praying for you. This really sucks.
    Hope you are able to find some type of effective treatment.

  • baseballmom says:

    God, girl…that sucks and I hope they can figure it out for you. My cousin has Crohn’s, and it is hell for sure.

  • CLC says:

    I hate those classmates you had! Why would anyone pretend to have Crohn’s? What a weirdo that woman must have been.

    Anyway, I hope you get some good care from this dr. I empatize with the pain, as I have UC, which is generally not as bad as Crohn’s. I think prednisone is safe to go on while pregnant if necessary. In fact, I have a friend who was on 40mg the whole time due to her terrible UC and she had a healthy baby boy. Take care and I am glad you called that dr.

    And fyi,I have done 5ks for CCFA and made my friends give me money to do so! I used to be completely embarassed as well, but now, it’s just part of life. And everyone shits, right? Some of us are just messier when it comes to that.

  • Heather says:

    I think the sort of people who would accuse you of lying about a medical condition are the same sort who are really just mad that THEY aren’t smart enough to lie about one. Ridiculous. When I was in middle school I was diagnosed with something called “exercise-induced asthma” which got me out of 90% of gym classes through high school. Not surprisingly, as that is the worst name ever for a condition, everyone thought I was lying and just too lazy to work out.

    Anyway, I hope you feel better soon! I know Crohn’s is a tough thing to have and ever feel “better” but I hope the pain improves and the new doc is able to help you out!

  • Marie says:

    All I can say is, if that old bat taught a medical class she needed to loose her damn job. How is she supposed to raise caring individuals in the health field with that attitude.

    Crohn’s is real and I don’t think ANYONE would ever fake that.

    I hope you get some relief soon so you can focus on your sweet baby girl.

  • mumma boo says:

    People suck. You, my dear, are NOT one of those people. Hope the appointment goes well and that you get sent home with lots of symptom relief options. Real options – like drugs. Not just “don’t eat that”. {{{hugs}}}

  • Badass Geek says:

    My MIL was misdiagnosed with Chron’s last year, but it turned out it was just IBS. The treatment for Chron’s definately isn’t all that positive sounding… You’d think with all the advancements in medical technology that there’d be something for it now.

  • I am so glad you’re able to get into a doctor so soon, and hope that relief is on the way. I have a friend with Crohn’s and it can be vicious.

    I also sincerely hope that neither Melissa or her friend are nurses today, because if that’s the kind of compassion they have for people, it would be an unfortunate day in the exam room.

  • kim says:

    Bitches! it’s all I have for them.

    for you, my friend, HOPE, it’s what i have for you in your path to a treatment that allows you to have a “normal” routine with little to no pain.

    My sister suffers from the same ailement, you have my deepest empathy, I have seen this disease up close and I feel so badly that you are dealing with it, especially when preggers.

    *hugs*

  • Kristine says:

    Dude, who has the time and energy to spend on faking a disease? I know I certainly never did.

  • Ms. Moon says:

    I don’t know which I feel sorrier for you about- the fact that you have this deblilitating disease or the fact that you had no band of sisters to get through nursing school with. I would not have made it through my nursing school years without my girls.
    I was a single mother, too, and it was a hard, hard time but my girlfriends made it bearable.
    I surely hope this GI doc can help you out. You need someone on your team for the big things and this is a big thing.

  • Betts says:

    I know 3 people with Crohn’s (4 including you) and I’m sure they’re not lying about it. Who would like about such a crappy (literally) disease. I hope the doc can do something to give you some relief. With pregnancy, the boot, this and two boys to take care of, you’ve got a lot to bare. I hope that aren’t any more dreadful things you haven’t told us about yet (although you do have a very funny way of telling us about the dreadful things).

  • Emily R says:

    only you could write a funny post about crohn’s.

    i am so sorry about the flare-up

  • chicory says:

    a) chronic pain. yes, I know exactly what your talking about, that exhaustion, that wearing on your soul, that sucking of life away

    b) I am capable of feeling particularly hatable, because it’s been demonstrated to me in a particularly persuasive way, that I am. Alas. But you don’t strike me that way.

  • Jill says:

    I have RA so I understand chronic pain- you have my sympathy! But dont these people realize, if you were going to lie about something to get attention- it would be something much more glamorous than Crohn’s.

  • Io says:

    Sure Becky. You are sooo transparent.
    I know you just shit your pants as part of your grand scheme to make people *think* you had Crohn’s. Melissa’s friend was onto you.
    I know this because I pee myself all the time as a way to claim urinary incontinence and get pity and so I can join the support groups and march in the incontinence parades.
    Also, so nobody will invade my personal space.

  • Susan says:

    I want to slap that stepmother so hard I can’t stand it. I cannot begin to imagine the misery you endure because of this. I had a brief but torturous experience that was initially thought was Crohn’s disease: I’d rather have kidney stones for my entire life or open heart surgery without anesthesia before going through that again.

    I love what you said about not defining yourself by this. But…this is your blog and it’s your life and I don’t think even one of your 8 million readers would mind if you needed to post about it every day.

    Best of luck with the new gi today. Hang in there. My thoughts to you.

  • Melissa says:

    I don’t know about ribbons but there is a walk: http://www.cctakesteps.org

    Digestive diseases are when you find out which of your acquaintances are adults, and which are still in middle school.

    Be strong! And thank you for writing this post.

  • Miss Grace says:

    No one wants to pretend the have a disease that involves excessive pooping, so I’m not sure WHAT those girls were thinking.

    Good luck on some good treatment!

  • The competition in nursing school is sooo catty, isn’t it?! I was totally having flashback memories as I read this post.

    Anyway, good luck on your appointment. I hope there is something that they can do for you. Crohn’s is a sucky-a$$ (no pun inteded) disease.

  • I’m so sorry for your pain. This hasn’t been the easiest pregnancy for you, has it? Good luck with the testing.

  • Judy C says:

    Dear Aunt Becky –

    First of all I hope the new doc can get you some relief – I will be sending you good thoughts – also I hope you are having an in-law free thanksgiving so that you can relax an put your undoubtedly swollen feet up.

    Hugs.

  • Petra says:

    I am SO sorry you have to go through this; Crohns is the WORST. My husband’s cousin has it and he can’t even hold down a job because it is so debilitating. So I understand the severity of the disease and I wish I could just take it away for you.

    And people like those girls just chap my ass because they have nothing better to do than make everyone around them feel bad because they hate themselves.

    On a lighter note, rock on with your bad ass, nerdy, smarty pants self! (I was like that in school too)

  • Jessie says:

    My 30 year old brother in law has Crohns. Last year he received his permanent colostomy bag. This year he had to stop working and be put on full time disability. They say that Crohns won’t kill you, but that the associated crap it does to your body will. All I know for sure is that I’ve watched him go from a vibrant young father and husband to a 120 (on a good day, soaking wet) cloud of his former self who can barely get off the couch.

    Crohns sucks. I’m sorry.

  • Coco says:

    First, I hope you get some relief soon from this latest flare-up, Becks.

    Second, Melissa and her friend are tiny-minded half-wits. Bitches! How scary that such women are the caregivers that ICU patients may be encountering at this very moment. *shudder*

  • It’s true what they say…haters be hatin’. WE think you’re lovable.

    I hope your new doc can give you some relief.

  • Rebel says:

    Aww sweetie I can so totally symathize with you on this one…. Metformin. Closest thing to Crohn’s with out having it.

    I hope that you have a good visit tomorrow, and the doc can help you out.

    I know what you mean about lying though… I was recently accused of making up the Turtle (showing them pics of someone elses kid… nevermind the fact that she looks JUST like me!!!)… by a family member no less…. yeah we put the “fun” in dysfunctional!!

    Hang in there sweetie!!! :o)

    Reb

  • guilty noodles says:

    Wow, seriously? I can totally have these girls taken care of. I’ve got this great Chinese voodoo lady.

    No really, I’m really sorry you’re dealing with this. It’s bad enough just being pregnant. I’m sending you happy-no-pain-in-ass thoughts. And baby clothes.

  • Lindz says:

    damn aunt becky that sucks donkey balls!

    hopefully this GI doctor will be sweet and gentle.

    after I THOUGHT i had crohns and someother messed up shit like that turns out that all I have is H.Pylori, as you know, is really shitty to have.

  • Dot says:

    “You’re totally faking this so you can take away the ‘limelight’ from my daughter!” Or whatever her crazy motive was. Humans can be awfully strange. I’ve had chronic low-grade pain, occasionlly really bad, for 18 years. It is soul-sucking, as you say.

    Comment re: yesterday (I couldn’t get to the comments, Internet was too slow) — I’ve found that when people repeat the same sentence over and over, using the exact same wording, it’s because they don’t know what it means, so they can’t paraphrase it. An old boss of mine once told our department, “IT says they have to bounce the server, so blah blah blah.” I asked her twice what “bounce the server” means and she just looked at me and changed the subject. Hah! That nurse didn’t tell you because she didn’t know herself.

    Is Crohn’s made worse by stress? I’ve been hearing a lot of people having a lot of life problems lately, and I’m wondering how much of it is due to the daily awful news about the economy and layoffs.

  • heather says:

    Gah, Becky, that sucks. That sucks bad. Specialists are tiny little gifts from heaven, and I hope your new one is on-game. Fuck the family Thanksgiving is what I say – unless they want to drop of a turkey and hit the road, anyway — you have plenty on your plate without dealing with their stuff, too.

    I’ve had *one* colonoscopy and it was by far the most degrading and humiliating experience OF MY LIFE. And I’ve had two kids with my girl bits on display for entire medical teams. You have my utmost respect. Seriously.

    And thanks, as always, for the HONESTY.

  • birdpress says:

    Wow, what a story. What an annoying woman who accused you of lying! I’m so sorry you have to deal with this disease, and especially while pregnant! Good luck with the new doc.

  • jerseygirl89 says:

    I have ulcerative colitis and my motto for the first few months after diagnosis at 25? At least it’s not Crohn’s. Can I kick the asses of your former classmates?

    I am SO sorry to hear that you’re flaring. I started a flare right before I had Lovebug and it got worse for the first few weeks of his life – until I got some lovely steroids, which apparently aren’t no-no’s while you’re breastfeeding. Maybe you can also have them while preggo?

    Take good care of yourself and email me if you want to vent about any of the really gross stuff – I am unshockable at this point.

  • Patty says:

    My sister was diagnosed with Crohns after many, many years of pain and suffering. My favorite diagnosis was that it was all in her head and she needed to see a shrink. Yeah, right. It was so very difficult to watch her go through that with no way to help her. She died in 1997 and the treatment of the disease has come so far. Hang in there Becky!

  • Holly says:

    I am so sorry. I don’t have any experience with that but I hate how people just ASSUME they do know everything about it because they know one person who has it. Who did she think she was. UGH What a loser.

    I hope that you find some relief soon from your current flare up. {{{HUGS}}}

  • giggleblue says:

    that heartless bitch! i would have pimp slapped her, right there in nursing class.

  • Lola says:

    Yeah, people can really suck, especially jealous people. I hope you can find something to help you. My former neighbor had it so bad that she weighed about 80 pounds and was hospitalized all the time. Very bad disease, and I bet pregnancy makes it much worse.

    Big hugs!

  • Karen says:

    Well, feel better. I always knew you were a nasty liar. Yep. I can see right through you.

  • people are weird, there’s no explanation

  • Lynanne says:

    Bitches. They were probably just jealous because they were co-infected with both syphillis and herpes but couldn’t talk about it.

    And never, ever, ever feek down on yourself because you chose nursing over med school. Personally, I feel you can do a lot more good in the world with a nursing degree than you can with an MD. If I could do it all over again, I would have chosen nursing.

    Best of luck with your appointment. I hope they find something to give you some relief!

  • Lynanne says:

    “feek down on yourself”? WTF?! That should have been “look down on yourself” Must have been a TIA. Or just pure stupidity. Yeah, probably the latter.

  • Madame Yu See says:

    I hope the new GI doctor can help you. The last trimester of any pregnancy is tough enough to go through without added medical conditions flaring up.

  • Jen says:

    God, people are assholes. You should have told her that you faked all sorts of diseases to get those amazing test scores…
    Hopefully they can do something for you!

  • SCY says:

    Yikes Becks! That sounds nasty – hope they got it sorted out for you…

    HUGS
    xxx

  • A Soldier's Girl says:

    Wow…I have heard of Chrone’s but never knew what it entailed….now, I have the full picture! Of course, I knew I could count on you to give me the nitty gritty details. :)

    I hope this latest bout doesnt last too long. I can’t imagine being pregnant and having to deal with anything else!?!

    Nursing school sounds very much like Law school…the competitiveness is ridiculous!

  • pamajama says:

    Oh man, Becky, I was waiting for the part where your Congo monkey flung poo at these bitches. Tell me it happened, please!

    And by my thinking you might have actually developed the Crohn’s as a reaction to teachers READING PowerPoint presentations for four hours at at time! There is nothing I hate more than an idiot standing at the front of the room, pretending to be a teacher.

  • Daddy Files says:

    The wife has Crohn’s so you don’t need to explain how much of an annoyance it is. While it may not kill you, it certainly does dull your will to live some days. And although Jacksonville Jaguards QB David Garrard is a Crohn’s spokesman, there isn’t much awareness out there.

    Just ignore stupid people. I know that’s easier said than done, but there’s so much ignorance out there you just have to look past it. And if they still don’t believe you have Crohn’s…well, crap on their desk during a flare up. That’ll show em!

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