Written by Mike Deitzman*
DISCLAIMER: This was really hard to write. It’s awkward as fuck. But, it felt good to write it all down.
On Friday, November 25th 2016, I almost died. Sounds crazy to read that, doesn’t it? After a lovely Thanksgiving dinner, I went to bed about 11:30 pm, a little uncomfortable inside, but pretty happy. I’m pretty used to upset stomachs and I just assumed that’s what this was. I figured at some point I’d wake up, shit, maybe throw up, whatever the case may be, and go about my day.
I woke up at 3am dripping sweat, my stomach just doing back flips, I swear you could see it moving up and down. I certainly could feel it. My mind just exploding with activity (thoughts racing through my head, thoughts I’ll never admit to now, thoughts that can only be described as morbid). It’s a little blurry now, but it took at least 30 minutes to get out of bed, because the last thing I remember looking at was my alarm clock. It said 3:41am when I finally stood up to go use the bathroom. I made it less than 5 steps. My legs gave out on me, I fell to the floor, crying, coughing vomit up, even shitting myself. In my line of sight was my alarm clock. It said 4:23am.
I crawled to the bathroom, where I stayed until almost 6:30am. Crying uncontrollably. splashing water in my face (still not sure what that was supposed to do other than make my face cold) and yes, puking, and pooping. A lot. I’m not entirely religious, But I spent a lot of time in that little bathroom, crying out for Jesus, begging for his attention, begging for him to take the pain away. He never did. Instead, the pain was just getting worse. As soon as I started to think horrible thoughts again, I finally said “ENOUGH IS FUCKING ENOUGH” and admitted defeat. I admitted to myself I can no longer pretend this was going to go away. It was time to go to the hospital. It was 10:07am.
I went. They took one look at me and let me right through to the emergency room. I don’t know why I kept looking at every clock, but here I was passing by a clock on the wall being pushed into the emergency room. It said 11:30am. I had a fever, my blood pressure was through the roof, I’d been in a perpetual state of sadness, pain and anxiety for over 7 hours straight. After a flurry of tests, sticking fingers in my butt, a cat scan on my stomach, and needles in my arm, they’d made a stunning discovery. They thought it could be Crohn’s Disease, which sucks but it’s not a death sentence. Besides, it had been assumed for a good 4 years that might be the case, but (and contrary to popular belief) I cannot handle a colonoscopy, or anything else going up the backside. (When the emergency room doctor put his finger up there, I screamed so loud my voice disappeared.) The pain makes me freak out even on the meds they give you where you’re essentially paralyzed. So, you need a colonoscopy before they can definitively tell you you have Crohn’s.
But that wasn’t all. There was a major blockage inside my stomach as well, along with a blood infection, that by that point was so bad, gross stuff was leaking out of my intestines into my stomach, which, had I not gone to the hospital when I did, I’d of died that day. Like I said at the start of this, that sounds crazy, doesn’t it? I’m 36 years old, and I could die, because I never did anything about this pain I’d been feeling for days, weeks, months.. fuck…YEARS. I was admitted on the spot and it was terrifying. The first order of business was to take what looked like a giant stray, and have it inserted into my nose, down the back of my throat and into my stomach. This was done to suck out whatever poison was currently soaking up my inner organs as we spoke. As the doctor was telling me this, the clock behind her head read 4:59pm. Jesus, where the fuck did the day go?
I was finally brought out of the emergency room and received a corner suite in Club ICU. Where they blasted me with tons of antibiotics, and a painkiller called Dilauded (look it up this stuff is no joke) The Dilauded helped me sleep finally as throwing up with a tube sticking out of your nose, tickling your Adam’s apple isn’t really conducive to comfortable sleep. This is where the time gets blurry. I have a vague memory of opening my eyes, in a super dark room, must of been late, because Club ICU was dark. I vaguely remember, almost like it was a dream pulling the tube out of my nose, I got it out, and held it up like I was victorious. I was told later, after I pulled it off, the nurses and a doctor came in, the nurse asked me “Why did you pull this out?!” I responded with “I am America.” and went back to sleep. My belief is I was trying to say “I am an American.”, something about freedom, maybe? I don’t know. Truly, I’m an idiot.
Luckily, by the time I pulled that tube out, it had done a good 90% of what it was meant to do, and I didn’t need to have it reinserted. What I was told at this point, is that I wasn’t going home anytime soon. This would be sometime Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning. Again, at this point the hours and days all started to blur together. I was taken off Dilaudid and given Ativan (similar painkiller, but nowhere near as strong) I was also told I would only be given fluids for a while. They needed to clear everything out and keep running tests on me. CT Scans, drawing blood, etc. Somewhere around that Wednesday, I was assuming that I would be given my walking papers and sent home. I felt great. Starving, but great. That didn’t happen.
While checking my blood, they noticed my liver enzymes shot through the roof after putting me on a new antibiotic. They were sure it was just an allergic reaction to the antibiotic, but to cover all bases, they needed to me stay put and be monitored. God forbid they send me home and my liver goes into failure. But, to make it up to me, I was finally taken off ice chips. My first meal was breakfast, and it was oatmeal, coffee, milk, cereal, and a banana. It might still rank up there as the absolute best fucking meal ever, even though it was shitty hospital food. After that, I was eating 3 square meals a day, and living off applesauce and apple juice. Guys, I gotta say this was kind of awesome. Sure, I hated being away from the old lady, I hated that bed and the TV sucked, but I did have a lifetime supply of applesauce.
I was also told I’d be getting a partial colonoscopy on Thursday and a cystoscopy on that Friday. At that point, I didn’t care at all. I just wanted to be put asleep for them, which was fine by the doctor. On Thursday, the day of the colonoscopy, they cancelled that procedure. It was clear from other tests I had fistulas in the old poop shooter. This would explain why no other colonoscopy had worked (google Anal Fistula for excellent reading, or shoot yourself in the foot, they’re both about as awesome as the other). Anyway, they decided to hold off a few months and letting those fistulas heal properly before putting a camera up there.
This left the cystoscopy. Boys: ready to be freaked the fucked out? I’m sure we’re all aware that a COLONOSCOPY is a camera up the butt. We know it’s not fun, but sooner or later all of you are going to have one. The cystoscopy is the same type procedure only they go in the hole of your penis. They performed this on me, to make sure the blockage I had wasn’t blocking my bladder. I beg of you, do NOT do what I did, and google search: cystoscopy. I did. I spent all of that Thursday night watching videos and looking at pictures of the procedure like a complete jackass moron. (In my defense, I grew up on old Carcass records, and Faces of Death) Luckily, I was put to sleep for this procedure. The problem here is whatever they used to knock me out, had a different, completely strange effect on me. I got a little bit excited…down there. Okay, A LOT excited. Yeah, I had a full boner. I was so sleepy, I didn’t even notice. The doctor wouldn’t let me go to sleep. This pissed me off. They PROMISED I could be asleep for this, and I told him as such, to which he replied, “We can’t perform the procedure with you excited. What’s going to happen is, I’m going to insert the camera, and you’re going to go soft, and I’m gonna end up damaging your urethra.” I guess “stop having a boner” isn’t professional enough. Well, that killed any excitement I had, and what felt like moments, but was really an hour. I woke up in the recovery room. Eventually, I was sent back to my room and had the sorest, most depressingly painful pee of my life.
I figured I’d be sent home Saturday, but my liver enzymes were still not trending downward, which is all they wanted. If it showed that they were coming down, I’d be able to go home and just deal with doctor appointments from now on. Nope. ONE. MORE. NIGHT. On that Sunday morning, I was told those damn liver enzymes went down and I’d be released that day After some confusion, the nurses were waiting on the doctor to come see me to release me. The doctor had no intention of doing that and assumed the nurses were gonna release me. I finally left the hospital on that Sunday afternoon. It was 2:40pm. I had been there a total of 10 days.
Since then, I’ve been in and out of doctors’ offices, resting up, and I’m back to work (some of you saw me this past weekend working The Metal’s Xmas Show). This is kind of just my life right now. Good days, bad days and everything in between. I’m on a super strict diet, which is really tough on me, because nothing I was eating before is on my diet. I’m forced to try new things, and it’s not all bad.
I’ve also quit smoking, as of this writing… I haven’t had a cigarette in 25 days! I’m crazy proud of that. I haven’t gone that long since I started smoking, and those that know me, know I was a super heavy smoker. I had to quit drinking for the time being… it’s not necessarily a requirement like food, and quitting smoking was, BUT I feel like I’m gonna want to smoke more if I continue to drink. So for NOW, I’m done drinking.
Crohn’s Disease is forever though and there’s no cure (that we’re aware of). I’m a conspiracy theorist and I believe in aliens, 9/11 was an inside job, and that they have cures for most or all diseases. It’s just more lucrative to charge us money forever, while “treating” our diseases rather than curing them. It’s a weird ass disease where I can look like nothing is wrong with me and be dying on the inside. So far I’ve been taking everything in stride and am typically happy. But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t down sometimes about it. It’s so hard, but I gotta look at the positives. Quitting smoking was pretty fucking awesome. Finding new foods that work with me is pretty fucking awesome. The old lady is a fucking blessing in my life. She’s got so much on her plate, and I only add to it now and she doesn’t care. She’s a soldier. She’s tough. I’ve got amazing friends, family and co-workers. That’s awesome. I don’t have a colostomy bag. That’s SUPER MOTHERFUCKING AWESOME. Big Pharma is beating the dog shit out of me financially, but that’s okay. In the words of Billy The Kid, “I SHALL FINISH THE GAME.”
So…whats next? I’m doing my best to get this shit into remission, which is the best case scenario. But I’ll be on meds for it until the day I die, regardless. I’ll have flare ups from time to time and I’ll probably have to have extended stays in the hospital from time to time.
I told a friend the other day, “It probably would have been cheaper for me not to go to the hospital that day and just die.” It was a horrible attempt at a joke. The truth is, I’m happy I finally got diagnosed. I wish I hadn’t gone through what I did, but I did. All I can do is tell you guys, TODAY: I stuck to my diet, I took my meds on time, and I didn’t smoke. I’ll do my best to do the same thing tomorrow too. You people need me. I have way too many plans for this scene to die anytime soon. You. Are. Stuck. With. Me.
Deal With It!