Friday, January 14, 2011

Diarrhea and Angels

A few days ago I woke up in the middle of the night and felt a little sick.  After lying still in the dark and worrying for several minutes, I got up and went to the bathroom, and felt better.  I shivered back to the bed and got under the covers, all chillbumpy and cold. 
I worried about my stomach.  Could I be getting sick?  I was out of work recently for the flu and then for the migraine, I can't miss any more work.  Maybe, despite being overweight and eating too much, I am actually malnourished. I don't eat enough vegetables, and though I've cut down on fast food, I still eat too many snacks.  I tried to remember what I'd had to eat that day.  My stomach clenched and I started to feel sick again.  I leaned over and got a Tums off the nightstand, and tried to chew quietly so I wouldn't wake up Greg.  Every now and then he has trouble sleeping, and I didn't want to disturb him if he was sleeping well.  
Maybe it's a stomach disease.  My mother had colon cancer and I've never had a colonoscopy.  I should make an appointment, but how expensive are they?  My huge deductible insurance probably won't cover it.  I laid on my back in the dark, clutching the covers and picturing medical equipment, vulnerabule buttcheeks peeking out from hospital gowns, doctors with rubber gloves on...  And then I go back to the bathroom.
A few minutes later I'm back in bed, tense and scared.  My stomach clenches again, and now I can feel a headache starting.  I laid blinking into the darkness and wanting to cry.  What if I died?  I keep meaning to arrange to have a cemetery plot in the tiny graveyard where my father and other relatives are buried, but I haven't done it.  I don't even know who to call about it.  Why haven't I looked into that?
And while I'm lying there, cold and freaking out, a quote pops into my head.  I can't remember it exactly, but it's something about how every blade of grass has its own angel bending over it, whispering, "Grow, grow".  What does that quote even mean?  I don't believe in angels.
But somehow it comforted me, and it occured to me that comforting was what I needed right at that moment.  I pictured an angel bending over me, stroking my forehead, whispering, "It's okay.  You're fine."   And it actually helped, I started to relax under the blankets and I felt better.
Then it occured to me that we do have Pepto Bismol.  I tiptoed down the hallway on the cold ceramic tiles and drink a capful, then tiptoed back to the bed and curled up under the covers, feeling like I'd taken care of myself.
And the next morning, it was all like a distant memory.  I wasn't sick.  Except possibly in the head.  Why does the tiniest thing freak me out beyond all reason, just because it's the middle of the night?  It seems ridiculous now.


  1. There are little demons that walk the wee hours of the morning looking for the wakeful to torment, ellen:)
    Why do we always remember the stupid/awful/shameful (to us) things we have done in those hours? It's the little debbils!
    Actually, I think it's because our worlds are quiet then and we are completely alone. The darling is quiet, the cats snore and we're left alone with fears. That's when it's time to call on the Angels and Ministers of Grace, Pinocchio's Blue Fairy, memories of naps in a safe place and soemtimes the comfort of a favorite pillow for relief.
    Look more closely at your insurance. Some cover preventative tests like colonoscopies without involving the deductible. My insurance considers some things wellness and actually pays me to go do 'em!
    Happy thoughts to you, e!

  2. ellen, you probably had a 24-hour stomach bug or maybe it was something you ate. it's so amazing how the night demons can take over our minds when we're lying there all alone, the rest of the world asleep, our way-too-imaginative brains buzzing incessantly. all the same, you and I need to schedule those necessary exams. Let's hold each other to it.

    Glad you felt better in the light of day. i know it was a long night.

  3. Hi Wooz! You know, I did hear that this year our insurance is covering more preventative tests under wellness, I'll have to look and see if a colonoscopy is one of them. Thanks! Happy thoughts to you, too :)

    Angella, I think it was more like a 2- or 3-hour stomach bug, it was literally practically nothing. If it had been my husband, he might not have even noticed anything. And it's a deal, if my insurance will cover it, I have no excuse. We'll hold each other to it!


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