Sunday, December 4, 2011

Memories that still hurt

I have had my ileostomy since 1995.  It was either that or be incontinent.  I remember having to write up a pros and cons list for my doctor to convince him that I really wanted and needed an ileostomy.  His exact words? "Who'd want to marry you with that?"  I couldn't believe my ears-really? That's how you base your decisions?  I said to him "Who's gonna marry me when I'm incontinent?"  You see, I was having so many anal fistulas that it was ruining my sphincter muscle.  It was inevitable.

Later on, I went on a date with this really great guy.  I had already decided that I was going to be up front with people. Why waste my time if they didn't want to deal with my ostomy?  We had such a great date.  At the end of that date, I told him about my illness and my ileostomy.  I still can see the look of horror and disgust on his face.  Like I had become untouchable with the plague.  Of course, I never heard from him again.  To this day, I still feel the pain of that look.

Another time, I was the charge nurse on the unit I was working.  We were listening to report when it was mentioned that this one particular patient had an ostomy.  The nurse I was with made a face and said "I'd rather die than have one of those!"  I turned to look at her, pulled my pants down and pointed to my ostomy and said, "what the f**k do you think this is?  You better watch what you say because you never know."  The nurse's face turned beet red and she never said another word about it.

Why is it that there are such shallow people out there who will treat you as a lesser person just because fate gave you something you never asked for?  I never can understand that.  Why there is such a stigma attached to it.

I can say that one day I did get married, went back to that doctor and said "see someone DID marry me."