No I’m not who I used to be
I used to see magic in everything
But that has gone away from me
I can’t find the remedyFormer Things
Can’t find the remedy, you say?? There’s my ‘in’!! How would you like to hear about my medical misery in 2021??
Wait, are you saying “Noooooo!” or “Noooooof course we’d love to hear that!”?
Ho-ho! Then noooooof course I will tell you about it! That’s consent. You consented to this.
I realise that 2020 has now been canonically decided as the ‘Worst Year Ever!’, beating the previous holders of the award – 2016, then 2017, followed by 2018, then 2019. Firstly, can we not either just agree that every year seems like the worst year ever – because life is pain and our very existence is suffering – or introduce some proper rationality? Was 2016 really worse than 1918 – where the First World War and the Spanish Flu ravaged the world – because David Bowie died? Did not seeing your racist family and your racist friends at Christmas really make 2020 worse than 535AD, when Europe, the Middle East and parts of Asia were plunged into 24-hour darkness for 18 months, summer temperatures plummeted between 1.5-2.5°C causing crops to fail and millions to starve to death? Talk about Dark Ages, ammi right?? Too soon? Sorry. And can the Black freaking Death get a shout out at some point?? Fair enough, it was largely spread over three years, from 1347-9, but it killed between 30 and 60% of the entire human population! Thank God they didn’t develop a vaccine, otherwise people would have got really mad. Anyway, 2020 wasn’t that terrible for me – I got to spend more time at home, wrote a lot more on this blog and made it more popular than ever, met The Person Involved that I talked about in the last entry, who really lit my life up a tinge, and I got fucking married. Yeah, I know, that marriage didn’t end well, and left psychological scars upon me that I may discuss further down the line (hit that ‘subscribe’ button as hard as you can!), but that’s more 2021’s issue – it was good for a time, I promise! Like… there were good bits… occasionally… Still, I’d put the fall out from that marriage more into the reasoning that 2021 was the worst year ever, giving it an already decent shout. Then, a the end of 2020, I started developing strange medical issues. They would eventually really put 2021 over the top.
OK, things might get a bit icky from this point onward, so you might want to finish your bangers and mash before continuing. Especially if you’re using gravy.
Christmas 2020 was already a shitshow, and high on the list of potentially my worst Christmases ever – my wife got drunk and accused me of taking my mother’s cat’s side instead of hers (sigh, it’s a long story), and actually broke up with me on Christmas Day (this was amazing news, but she would later reverse her decision, extending my suffering for a few more months). This at least kept my mind off the fact that my anus seemed to be… leaking… Yeah. I don’t want to punish you with much more details, but a steady stream of brown watery fluid seemed to dripping out and ruining all my trousers. This was slightly worrying. I spoke to doctors, who suggested that something might be at fault with one of my medications, that I should up that dosage. Sure, fine, OK, I followed their instructions and… fine, things seemed to cool off. This lead to me instead pooing blood. Now, I don’t mean small red spots in my stool like they contained little festive cranberries, I mean that whenever I visited the toilet it was just… blood. And a lot of it. At first, I just put this down to my new bicycle. Cyclists shit blood, don’t they? Just one of those things. I never did an internet search to check this. I just knew that this was the case, and I was aware that anything counter to this knowledge may be upsetting. I was pretty sure that blood in your stool was like occasional blood on your toothbrush – you can pretty much ignore it and carry on as usual. It was fine, it was fine, it was fine, it was midway through January at this point, and still able to hoodwink most onlookers that I was a fully functional human being. This is life.
Soon though, the pain started. Sorry, I didn’t spell that correctly: at some point in January, the pain started. No, I apologise, I still don’t think I’m properly explaining this: soon after I’d decided to just accept/ignore the Shining elevator of blood I was recreating every time I visited the bathroom, the paaaaaaaiiiiiin started. Think Clubber Lang’s prediction in Rocky III.I mean, you should always be thinking of Clubber Lang whenever you read anything I or anyone else has written, but more specifically in this case. The paaaaaaaiiiiiin started as consequence of any physical exercise I did. Firstly, the day after I rode my new bike from where I work in Moss Side to where I live(d) in Wilmslow, the paaaaaaaiiiiiin was excruciating. But that made sense, I hadn’t rode a bike in near enough a decade and now I was suddenly riding it ten miles. That’s just fucking dumb. That’s just me suffering as a result of my own stupidity, which, brothers and sisters, I’m something of an expert on. But the pain got progressively worse, and in response to less and less strenuous activity. I went to my doctor. They suggested I take a COVID test. Jesus fucking Christ, I thought, so this is what COVID feels like?! No wonder so many people generally advise against it! The test came back negative. Then, another doctor resorted to sticking his fingers in my bum, which I find in my life has always been a person’s response to not knowing what to do next. After a good dig around, this other doctor confirmed that it wasn’t haemorrhoids. I was like, this could have been haemorrhoids?? Why wasn’t I warned of this!? Honestly, for reasons I don’t really have time to map out right now, haemorrhoids is, like, my biggest fear, and one that I know I’ll have to face up to one day soon, as an aging middle aged man with prior issues with his anus. OK, cool, it’s not haemorrhoids, so what do you think it is? The doctor shrugged their shoulders. “You should probably do a COVID test”. I rolled my eyes. I did the test. Negative (again).
All the while, my condition was worsening rapidly. I was too hot, too cold, too everything. I was still spilling prodigious amounts of blood into the toilet, and my strength had bottomed out to the extent that I could barely walk. Every time I stood up my eyesight started to black out. I could no longer take showers, because standing up for ten minutes was completely beyond me. I was convinced that I wasn’t sleeping, simply spending the night in a horrible blackness and throbbing unknowns, constantly aware of my own fragile mortality. I would later learn that I was actually asleep much of the time, so perhaps my dreams were just cruel repetitions of my waking state. Imagine that, your dreams just being your actual reality! What’s even the point in anything? On a related note, I had a dream last week that I was watching porn. That’s it. Even my dreams won’t let me get laid these days. I was no longer sharing a bed with my wife, because seriously, who wants a part in all of this shit?? I got glimpses of living with her when sex wasn’t a factor, and it was pretty fucking grim. By this point, I was convinced that it was cancer. I couldn’t imagine how any non lethal condition could feel this bad. Plus, all that shitting blood stuff? That’s, like, canonically cancer, right? Also, in early February – in a matter of days by this point – I had a test to become a registered Immigration Advisor at Level 2 in both Immigration and Asylum. It would be the most important test I’d done in my life, one that I had stringently set up study groups to prepare for, and an exam so difficult that the last time I’d attempted it roughly two years before I had failed with a pathetic 10% grade. Fate had other plans though: I almost passed out while walking to the shower, and we called an ambulance.
I spent about ten days in hospital. I had to rearrange my immigration law exam to the next scheduled test in May (I’d surely be better by then, right??), but still chaired a study group while lying in my hospital bed. The hospital doctors assigned me all sorts of medications to try and reverse the bodily carnage, and also suggested that one of my antidepressants, Citalopram, might be causing the bloody poos, so took me off it and instead concentrated on my other antidepressant, Mirtazapine, which had the added benefit of knocking me the fuck to sleep every time I took it. Eventually, they deigned that it wasn’t cancer, but ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease. It had been attacking my innards so completely that the rest of my body had near enough shut down in an attempt to battle it. They prescribed me folic acid, Octasa and Omeprazole gastro-resistant tablets. Also Mesalazine, a suppository that was inserted by the middle aged Caribbean nurse while I was in hospital until it just got too awkward and I insisted that I do it myself (honestly, you might think you know exactly where your bum hole is, but it’s not as intuitive as you’d imagine). I was sent home to my wife, and broke into tears at the thought of still having to stay there. I phoned my doctor the next day and convinced them to stick Citalopram back on my prescription, as I realised I’d need all the serotonin I could get my hands on. My body was so weak that I was also prescribed a round of steroids. I never did get as jacked as I was hoping.
I attempted to function. My days consisted of waking up, taking steroids, then waiting for them to take enough affect for me to be able to take a shower, then work from home, usually passing out through exhaustion by around 1pm. My marriage was also violently falling apart, and I eventually realised that I wasn’t able to handle this horrific medical condition (which had barely improved) and my horrific marriage at the same time. So, like the coward I am, I ran away to my mother’s house, where I still reside. Soon after I fled my marriage, it was arranged for me to have a colonoscopy to try and figure out what exactly was preventing me from improving. By the way, I do not recommend colonoscopies. I know that there’s probably some TikTok trend of young kids getting colonoscopies in order to ‘Get Those Jungkook Abs’ or something, but honestly, don’t. Just take military grade amphetamines like all the other celebrities. I was given a nuclear level laxative to take at home on the night before and morning of the procedure. I did as I was told the night before and… holy mother of God… it was such a horrendous and traumatic experience that I couldn’t bare to do it the next morning. I was given local anaesthetic during the procedure, which as far as could tell didn’t remove any of the horrific experience from my awareness. Also, let’s just say it was extremely evident that I hadn’t competed the course of bowel cleansing. By the time of my May immigration law exam, I simply had to take time off work (which I’m so ridiculously averse to) just to let my body and mind recuperate. I wasn’t even sure I’d be able to stay sitting at a desk for the exam for three hours, as all I was really able to manage by that point was lying down with a laptop on my stomach. I honestly didn’t feel like I was in any better condition than I was when I missed the February test due to being hospitalised. It was an horrendous three hours, I felt gross and barely conscious, and the test went badly. Every now and then I was sent to an ultrasound and my poo was closely inspected at every opportunity. Nothing worked, nothing was discovered, and sometime in June I went back to the hospital for another week or so. I was subscribed Azathioprine, a pretty radical grade immunosuppressant that helped fight the ulcerative colitis but also weakened my other bodily functions that I soon received a letter from the NHS informing me that I was a high risk patient. However, this meant that I got a booster jab before it was cool.
Skipping a lot of boring medical details, here I am at the end of the year. I am no longer so fatigued that a crafty wank would put me to sleep for at least a fortnight, I am no longer shitting blood, I no longer assume I’ve got cancer. I am not better. I go to the hospital every month for a infusion of drugs into my veins that lasts four hours. There was about a four month stretch in the later stages of the year where I developed incontinence. My doctor suggested that might have nothing to do with the ulcerative colitis, and might have been another issue entirely! I managed to get that under control, house training myself for the third time in my life. Then the bowels started to join in. Which I have not been able to get under control. To the extent that now, as a man at the age of [OLDER THAN ARLO YOUNGER THAN CAROLINE], I am forced to wear nappies. It’s shameful, it’s demeaning, and right now I just want somebody to comfort me and let me know that it’s not forever. We all know that one day we’ll reach nappy age, right? I just hoped that it wouldn’t arrive so soon at the age of [OLDER THAN ARLO YOUNGER THAN CAROLINE]. I’d like to start dating again. I’ve got so much love to give. Plus, I’m really, really lonely. Even if The Person Involved’s stupid relationship doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, I’ve still got plenty of crushes that could be pursued. How does everyone feel about a Hinge series in 2022?? Beyond the Hinge!! Fuck, the cunt writes itself. I can’t date now though, I can’t ask decent people to put up with this. I know I’ve got better before, and I know that I could possibly get better again, become a viable human being, it’s just these barriers that life keeps throwing in front of me keep chipping away at both my soul and my self-belief.
So, was 2021 the worst year ever for me? Weeeeeeeell, if you consider that 2013 saw me attempt to commit suicide, cripple myself and spend six months in hospital, then obviously not. The worst year ever was 2010. Seriously, that Manics album was so bad.
Oh, and also:
So, becoming a registered Level 2 OISC Immigration Advisor in both Immigration and Asylum kinda sweetened he year’s deal a bit.
Lonelady! Fuck, she’s pretty fucking good isn’t she? One amazing album every five years, like clockwork. ‘Former Things’ suffers slightly by being a perhaps even more shameless homage to early fellow Manchester pioneers, though she’s at least doing things chronologically, as her past albums were pretty naked in deference to late 70s/early 90s Joy Division (well, Joy Division put out their first album in 1979 and Ian Curtis had killed himself in 1980 – late 70s/early 80s is all you’re really getting) and has now moved along to mid 80s New Order. It really is outrageous how faithful some of Julie Campbell’s recreations are at points, but, fuck me dead and bury me pregnant, she makes it sound so good that you’ll end up forgiving her any imagined crime you’ve committed her on.