Before I found out I had MS, I still had MS. Ah, so young. So arrogant, so diseased and oblivious. No doubt one thing worse than having MS is having it and not knowing it. I was pin-balling between specialists for a few years before I was diagnosed. I saw an ophthalmologist for the optic neuritis, and had to see a urologist for the frequent bladder infections, but I never thought I needed a primary care physician to put it all together. Because hey, I have the Internet and the big medical encyclopedia.
Well, at some point my digestion went south. It was, to say the least, irritable. It was also very, very active and made me very, very tired. I had to pad an extra 45 minutes to any 20 minute car ride to account for gas station visits. So I recommended myself to a gastrointerologist, Dr. C___________.
His first question: "What are your symptoms?
I explained that my life was now spent voiding my bowels.
"What are your other symptoms?" he asked.
"Well, my feet tingle, for some reason."
"Do you have MS?"
"No," I chirped, IN BLIND IGNORANCE.
"Are you of Swedish descent?"
"No. Do Swedish people move their bowels a lot?" (NO, STUPID GIRL, THEY HAVE MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS MORE THAN THE AVERAGE.)
"Well they have other conditions that can cause it. Have you ever had any vision problems?"
"Well, I had optic neuritis once, but it went away." BECAUSE MS SYMPTOMS DO JUST GO AWAY SOMETIMES.
Of course, you can't diagnose MS just on random symptoms, you have to be suspected of having MS for a while. The M does stand for Multiple. And its not good to be diagnosed with MS when you are on COBRA insurance. So I went through a few tests culminating in an endoscopy and colonoscopy.
The endoscopy went well, I suppose; they gave me a drug that almost made me forget it. It was the same drug they give you for wisdom teeth extractions. Versed, the drug, evidently breaks down the boundaries that make you discourage people from shoving tubes down your throat and up your ass. (Different tubes. I asked.)
The colonoscopy - well. Heh. It started with Gail, the technician, asking what I remembered about the endoscopy. All I do remember is nurses yelling at me to breathe and my being. very. annoyed. Snippy high queen hissing annoyed. Gail should have taken that as a cue to roll me out right then, but instead I think she chose to give me a little less Versed. So little I remember the whole colonoscopy experience, down to my appendix and back again.
Dr. C______ came in and started. The nurse had said, "We'll give you a drug that makes it like you've had a glass of wine at a bar." She should have said, "We'll give you a drug that makes it like you've had a glass of wine at a bar and a stranger comes up and shoves a tube with a camera up your ass." I was not civil. But I was soon distracted by the pretty colors. My colon is gorgeous. A pretty little pink factory. I was enchanted. At some point the TV monitor I was watching began to spin. I alerted them that the monitor was spinning and they said "that's the drugs."
"Oh," I realized,"that must be why you look like giant sheep." Technically, a large giant sheep wearing a lab coat and a stethescope and a slightly small female sheep. I suppose this was inspired by a very heavy-handed Daphne DuMarier story I read in my morbid youth called "The Blue Lenses" in which a woman comes out of an operation and all her doctors look like animals.
I told them they were giant sheep and they didn't seem too concerned. The the poor doctor had to navigate through some colonic dogleg and it hurt. I was clenching the rail on the bed. He apologized and I hissed at him, "It doesn't hurt. What on earth makes you think YOU have the capacity to hurt ME?"
"But it must hurt. Your toes are clenched. And I am sorry."
I snarled through clenched teeth, "It does not hurt. Stop apologizing. Do you think I am so weak YOU have to apologize to ME?"
Gail (the smaller of the giant sheep) bleated, "He's just trying to make you feel better."
I informed Gail she was just a sheep, what did she know? And she would hurt her head if she kept bumping it against the wall of glass bricks I could distinctly see growing brick by brick between us.
At that time we were turning the corner into the ascending colon. And I at that moment turned the corner from manic to depressed. Suddenly I felt bad about how I was treating this nice noble doctor. He changed from a sheep to a nice intelligent father-figure in a uniform who was just trying to help. And I changed from the bitch queen into a Very Bad Person. I would have mentioned this to the doctor, except the glass bricks were up to the ceiling and I was hallucinating the end of the old Get Smart show when the doors close one after another.
I was pensive all through my ascending colon. He tried to interest me in my appendix. They tried to engage me in conversation and I mentioned what a Very Bad Person I was. Soon it was all over.
As were my digestion problems. Any problems were superseded by my insanity and depression for the next three months, of course. I don't want to think the Versed (which they don't give for colonoscopies anymore) caused the depression. I was a thirty-five year old woman with MS; I was a depression waiting to happen. However, the Versed did cause me to redecorate my bathroom with anatomy charts and photos of my friends colonoscopies, because internal organs are beautiful and fantastic.