Most of my Friday nights as a 19-year-old evolved in comparable fashion: I’d deliver pizza until about nine and head home to shower off the tang of degradation before calling my friends and heading over to the local watering hole to spend all of my tip money on beer, nachos, and probably some more beer. Such was my life at that point and it served me just fine.
I was still deciding the future and was in no mood to disrupt my flow. The money was good, I was slothful, and I liked spending time with friends.
I think I started to feel different one Christmas at my grandmother’s house. I recall abruptly feeling a surge of demands that intimately resembled the charge to the last valued slices of my grandma’s rhubarb pie after the presents were opened. I had to go, badly, and rushed into the bathroom just in time to blow the porcelain lid to smithereens.
Within days, these surges became routine. I found myself racing to the toilet relentlessly, bowling over women and children on my way to pants-down, fist-clenching contrition for whatever blasphemous essence it was I consumed.
Questions flooded my head: was I eating something differently? Was it that shitty (pun moderately intended) powdered lemonade drink I liked? Were the preservatives playing fast and loose (pun absolutely intended) with my bowels?
I cut out the alleged evildoer and went about my merry way, but nothing changed. Days were peppered with more races to the restroom, culminating in mad dashes to the john that left me tempted to convert my entire trouser wardrobe to NBA-style tearaways. It wasn’t the damn powdered lemonade, it wasn’t anything.
It was getting worse, with traces of blood in my stool.
I didn’t have the internet to Google my symptoms and there were no half-sauced e-doctors I could sound out on behalf of my brushes with untimely release, so it was off to Dr. Cooper I went. I kicked my self for not going sooner.
After hearing the symptoms I was expressing to him fretfully and terribly as I sat in his office (sudden urges to “do number two,” fatigue, bleeding, abdominal pain, the feeling of never being “empty”), the Good Doctor sprang into action and ordered me through a volume of tests to figure out just what in the hell was going on.