Those three sexy letters: I.B.S.

So I have Irritable Bowel Syndrome, otherwise known as IBS. Yeah, this is FUN to talk about with people. You’ve got your flatulence, your distended, bloated, gassy, fartbag stomach… everyone loves a food baby, but it’s even better when it’s a food monster, growing and shrinking as hours pass and you do… or don’t… digest. 

Digestion becomes this acrimonious marriage dynamic between you and your gut. You’re eating, or thinking about eating, or about what you last ate, and you’re Liz Taylor and this is Richard Burton. You love him and need him, but he keeps fucking around! Come on, Dick, for fuck’s sake, let’s get this done! It’s been three days and I’m still farting Sunday brunch!

Of course this imaginary scenario is comforting because no REAL man could live with this. 

In my early twenties, I was a basket case, running to the bathroom, foggy all the time, low energy, depressed. 

By my late twenties, I had figured out trigger foods, so I would avoid those and feel… better. I just had to not eat dairy, wheat, fried foods, beans, raw veggies and fruit, coffee… tomato sauce… 

I didn’t notice at first how many foods I was eliminating. I was losing weight and I wasn’t cooking much for myself so, happy in smaller jeans, I just made it work. But then I started  cooking. One day you’re standing there at the stove making brown rice pasta and with just a dash of parmesan – oh gawd, not too much! – or you get up in the morning for a tasty bowl of natural oatmeal with soy milk, mmm, or maybe sunflower seed butter on a gluten free waffle… and eventually you’re like, Waitaminute, literally nothing I eat anymore is real. I’m subsisting completely on substitute, fake, imaginary food that tastes like crap.

I then had the audacity to start asking the question, “Why can’t I eat all of the things?”

I’d go to doctors with theories and they’d laugh. No. That’s not it. You haven’t figured it out. It’s not worms or scurvy or Jessingtons Syndrome or whatever. 

Every few months, my mom tells me some pill she heard advertised, or new acronym I should ask a doctor about: You have TTS, for tritichular tetanus syndrome, or you need to try WESTECTIN, the guy on my news show said it cured his shits. Totally cured them.

Her gut has never worked either, but I’m the one who complains, so she thinks I should try the stuff.

A doctor actually recently fired me. He didn’t give me notice or anything, he just stopped following up with anything. Lab results, appointments. I went by to buy another overpriced bottle of something and the girl, nurse assistant person, she was like, “Oh yeah, we got your results back.”

She starts reading them off, totally fumbling. It’s the front counter so anyone can hear: Testosterone’s fine… he wrote something (squinting) about vitamin … A? Oh yeah I think he said you could take more of that… C and D are good… bluthemanin is low but who knows what that’s for…

I’m watching my doctor pass by. He doesn’t say hello. She’s here, shit, keep your head down! Keep your head down, Don’t engage!

The girl finishes rambling off the test results with a laugh, “Who knows what that is.”

“A doctor does,” I said. “That’s why we have them do the tests.” I wanted to spell it out for her: any time I decide to try this again with a new doctor, I lose a minimum of a thousand bucks. I might as well just write a check at the first visit. Insurance covers parts of things. It doesn’t cover it all. And you’ll sell me supplements all day if I let you. But I do all that so a professional can interpret my fucking lab results. My cat could read me that too, but he doesn’t know what bluthemanin is either!

After that I gave up on naturopaths and went to a “real” doctor. He did a colonoscopy… I always figured if I convinced a doctor to take this seriously and they shoved the ol’ camera up my ass… they’d see it. Right? I mean they’d have to find something. Or in the CT scan, he did that too, to look at the tummy region. How could they not see the little bastards up in here fucking things up? Hehehe, let’s ferment this Caesar salad so it gurgles around in there and bloats her up. Brown rice? How about some cramping. Whaaast, she’s eating nachos? Are you joking me right now?! (Pulls lever) EVACUATE THE CHEDDAR!

So that’s where I’m at. Hot, right?