Body Horror, Part 1: Subversive Smiley Face
September 5th, 2014: Awaiting Back Surgery
Would-be Medical Massacre
Gearing up for my next medical mutilation, I’m attempting to think of it as a revamping. An upgrade. So I’m not so mangled afterwards. So I don’t feel like it’s all for nothing and I should just spare myself the misery and my parents the hundreds of thousand dollars. Let us pretend, and remember whence we came. From a much darker but less fatigued place. I’m worn to the bone at this point and barely believe I’ll get out fully functioning. Depressing to contemplate, foolish to believe. A year and a half ago I thought I might be in diapers for a short span of time. And considered that an upgrade. My standards, so low. My sexual wreckage, mostly emotional. I’m not doing so poorly considering… how poorly I was doing even before my body fell apart, and persisted in its petulance. On even a mostly functioning body I’m barely getting by. Not sure how that bodes. For recovery. For life. I get that by the time most people are old, they will have to deal with shit and live through it. Lonely, at a ripe age when it doesn’t resonate with the world’s normals who grapple with the mundane, trivial situations—existential despair. Not real shit like: if I couldn’t experience sexual pleasure again, should I just fucking end it now? I experience nearly only sexual anguish and those parts work.
So here it is, a year and a halfish ago. When I was, alarmingly, in better spirits. More naïve. Less prepared. Though, honestly, this is the emotional bottom. Before one bottoms out. Absconds. If only rock bottom involved sex and drugs, and not shit, it would make for a far sexier story.
Jan 24th, 2013: Pre-Proctocolectomy with Ileal Pouch-Anal Anastomosis and Diverting Loop Ileostomy
Pregnant with Poop
Me and dude from OkCupid…
Me: i’ve been hibernating. should start gathering supplies for my next surgery.
Michael: that’s no good, you have another surgery on the horizon?
Me: yeah. feb 4th. the day after the superbowl. i’m sorta scared that people will be hung over. woulda scheduled it for the next day had i realized the superbowl is soMething that exists.
i could actually not be any more excited for the surgery, though.
Michael: what exactly is this one going to entail?
you could have fooled me, you struck me as a huge football fan
Me: ha. superbowl sunday is like the puerto rican day parade to me: i don’t leave the house.
want to hear all of the super sexy details?
that was funny
yeah, pants are off, ready to listen
Michael: i feel like all of this surgery stuff is more of an education than you would get at actual med school
Me: oh, definitely it is. mostly i’ve learned about medical mistakes, like why people get hospital infections at exorbitant rates. so, anyway…
surgery number one i had my colon and rectum removed, i had 30 centimeters of my small intestines doubled over to make a 15 cm tube which is twice as wide, then i had that (my “jpouch” or fake rectum) sewn to my anus. anal skin is a totally different kind of skin than large intestine lining, and the body does not attack that. you can’t use your jpouch right away because there would be a risk of that getting infected or shit dripping into your abdominal cavity and causing massive infection…
so they put in a temporary diverting loop ileostomy. do you know what a colostomy bag is? it is like that, except attached to my ileum (small intestines), not my colon, since i have no colon. i thought the vanity issue would be impossible to cope with and i’d cry every myself to sleep every night thinking about how no one would ever have sex with me again. but then i got over that because it actually really doesn’t look gross. it just looks like a large bandaid or bandaid-colored hot water bottle. but the logistics of it have been miserable…
first of all, as a girl it is like 1000 times harder to deal with, because girls wear tight clothes…
Michael: i can’t believe you’ve had to deal with all of this
Me: they tell you to wear the bag facing downward, so it is aimed down a pant leg, but then it looks like you have a huge really awkward penis. people online suggest wearing it across your stomach, which i do with a tube top covering it. when it is full, i think it looks like i am pregnant. my frumpy, middle-aged jewish mother thinks it looks like a fanny pack, like i’m pregnant with monies…
oh, i know, it sucks, but here is the worst part that has nothing to do with somewhat reasonable vanity…
colostomy bags are not so bad because shit that goes through part of the colon is a somewhat reasonable texture. when you first get an ileotomy, though, shit it liquid. it is like you are peeing strange-colored fluid out of your abdomen. like seriously, it can come out any color from green to red to orange to yellow to brown. i sort of want to experiment and eat blueberries and see what happens. so the problem is, when it gets full, it gets really heavy because it is like you have a bottle of water attached to you. and the adhesive, which is supposed to stay on for five days wears off after more like 3. if you eat certain foods, it can degrade the adhesive even quicker….
Michael: oh man…
Me: so this leads to poop ‘splosion emergencies. and shit that comes out of your ileum is really acidic. ya know how when you puke it hurts? well it is like half way in between shit and vomit, so if it gets on your skin, it burns all of your skin off. i’ve seriously woken up in the middle of the night to the pain of my skin
Michael: so i hope for your sake this next surgery should fix everything the best it can?
Me: well the next surgery is to sew everything back together again so i can shit out of my butt like a civilized human being.
Michael: thank god
Me: butt it will still be very acidic and i will be somewhat food limited.
Michael: yeah i’d imagine
Me: wait, so i didn’t get to the funniest thing about poop ‘splosions yet..
Michael: well i’m now excited for your surgery too
Me: are you scared to hear the funniest thing?
Michael: we’ve already spent several hours talking about sex and now 30 minutes talking about your complete colon malfunction in depth so, no, i’m hardly scared to hear the funniest things
well it is impossible to get another bag on if your stomach won’t stop pooping (you can imagine the hilarious conversations i’ve had with my mom through the bathroom door) because the skin around it needs to be dry for the adhesive to stick. sometimes it will not stop for like an hour and a half and i couldn’t figure out what to do other than just sit in the shower and shit all over myself, because if you do it over the toilet it gets on your skin which leads to massive acid burns. so i consulted online forums and people suggested that to temporarily clog up your digestive system and slow down output, you eat six large marshmellows…
this works perfectly so picture me in the shower, shitting all over myself, and reaching into the sink periodically to stuff my face with marshmellows.
Michael: i sadly don’t know whether to laugh, feel awful for you, or both
Me: every once in a while i have a moment where i think, “is this really my life?”
Me: the shower used to be such a lovely place. now so many bad memories.
Michael: i can only imagine
Me: so do you recommend that i do weird shit experiments before my next surgery?
Michael: dude, just get really weird
Me: maybe i can photo document it
Michael: yeah, submit it to the next biennial
but yeah, do all the crazy things you won’t be able to do again when you’re all sewn up
just go to town on like 30 marshmallows
and see what happens
Me: i wish i had a person who was willing to take these videos of me. i made my mom take photos of my wounds in the hospital and all she kept saying was “do we have to get your pubic hair in the shot? can’t you cover up!”
you need a personal assistant
Me: like, i have shit spewing out of my abdomen and she is worried about sexual decency
Michael: jewish moms…
Feb 3rd, 2013: Pre-Small Bowel Resection with Ileostomy Closure
Me: My mom bought me “adult” diapers in case I shit my pants after surgery, except they are really XL children’s diapers because I’m too small to be an adult. The design is aliens, a division sign, 75+5, etc. They come in packs of 13. Your parents spent 20k on your private school education per year. Please explain. Are manufacturers mocking 85-lb children who are still in diapers by including partial math equations with stars instead of x and y?
Michael: Haha oh man. First off, good luck tomorrow
Michael: I’ll be thinking of you
Me: In a diaper, of course
Michael: Of course
Michael: Secondly, they must be
Me: Someday I will be big enough to wear an adult diaper! I just smelled the bougie butt cream (Burt’s Bees) I got as not to smell like a baby, and it turns out it smells like old ladies. Elderlies smelled like fauxhemians before it was cool.
Michael: You’re just so well prepared
Me: Seriously, I pack like a Jewish mother. Got my earplugs, eyeshade, headlamp, etc.
Me: Also, while you were presumably watching the superbowl, I got my nails done for my hospital stay.
Michael: I wouldn’t expect anything less. What color?
Me: Nails are leafy/froggy green. Toes are bright sky blue. Gotta look cute for the residents. Hope I get a beautiful anesthesiologist again.
Me: When you are in a hospital gown and have no control over the devices people are shoving in your body, it is surprisingly comforting to have pretty nails and lip gloss that tastes like middle school.
Michael: Haha. I’ll file that away
Me: If it ever happens to you, you’ll pack your fav chapstick flavor
Me: Time to finish packing and sending my friends diaper pics. Nighty night.
Michael: Night, Genie, sleep well!
February 5th, 2013: Post-Ileostomy Takedown Surgery
Farewell, Paloma the Stoma
Michael: Right in time for fashion week. Hope you’re doing ok!
Me: Didn’t realize that. You might be more cultured than I am. Nothing says Fashion Week like a tidy cup of vomit!
Me: I’m actually doing quite excellently considering. Apple-juice-cum-green-puke is auspicious in my book. How chic that my meal-posting debut on facebook was with my body’s natural processing filter. Preempting Instagram’s faux nostalgia. So self-referential, I’m almost a meta-hipster.
Michael: I’ve always thought of you as that. Glad to hear you haven’t lost your fucked up yet spot on sense of humor
Me: subversive smiley face 🙂
Feb 12th, 2013
me: someone needs to take me here for valentine’s day: http://jezebel.com/5983630/brooklyn-sewage-plant-offers-romantic-and-shitty-valentines-day-tours
Michael: wanna go?
me: ha ha, no, i will still be at home recovering. and i don’t think anyone has ever taken me anywhere for valentine’s day. are you allowed to leave work mid-day to visit septic facilities?
Michael: yes, septic facilities specifically
me: how lucky
Michael: yes it really comes in handy often
me: what i am actually buying myself for valentine’s day is tickets to the worst concert ever: scott weiland solo
i sort of hope he gets arrested for heroin first so i don’t actually have to go
Michael: there is a high chance of that happening
Operative word: high.
Feb 15th, 2013
It’s What’s Inside
Me and college boyfriend…
Me: Did you know that you can see into my abdominal cavity through the staples that are literally holding me together? It was so hard to resist posting a Valetine’s Day pic on fb w the caption “It’s what’s inside that counts.”
Me: I have so much medical porn now. Like a video of me pooping outta my abdomen. EBF sorta volunteered to put the video to metal music.
College BF: Woah
Me: Music suggestions are welcome, of course.
College BF: Well id stick to grindcore.
College BF: Or pretty much anything by cannibal corpse
Me: Accidentally played the video backwards. Watching yourself unpoop outta your abdomen is way weirder than watching yourself poop outta your abdomen.
College BF: That shit’s crazy! (pun)
March 17th, 2013
Posted on facebook wall, the Jewish-Irish DREAM:
Cousin Sara: So wrong…..
Me: Nuh uh, I love me some Jewish-Irish breakfast. My bagels and lox bring all the boys to the yard.
Me: And my mother’s cat. She tried to steal this.
Cousin Sara: Maybe the color blind boys.
Me: Last week I went on an okcupid date with a color-blind, red-haired, Irish-American boy. No joke. You should have seen his suit, tie, and shirt. He referred to the outfit as his “monkey suit;” I was tempted to ask him whether a monkey had dressed him.
Cousin Sara: What about his profile said “yes-I want a date with you?”
Me: his red hair, duh. also he was smart and funny and did an impressive Scott Weiland slither impression and showed me pics of his apt which looked like a graphic designer had decorated it. he stuck with basic colors for that so he couldn’t fuck it up.
Me: i don’t really care if a guy can’t dress as long as he agrees to let me dress him.
Cousin Sara: Will there be a second date?
Me: a “platonic” one
High School BF: wow i didn’t think i could actually throw up in my mouth like that
For your personal viewing pleasure, the post-processed Jewish-Irish Dream, which looks remarkably like The United States of Godbless America. America’s Got Talent. At least Genie does.
September 5th, 2014: Awaiting Back Surgery Reprise
Would-be Medical Massacre
Year-and-a-half-ago Genie would have told year-ago Genie, earnestly, “It gets better. You will be a functional fuckhole again, someday. Soon. You will get your freedom back.” And I am—a functional fuckhole. My fuckhole is functional. But I haven’t—gotten my freedom back. Sex is the only piece of my humanity I have managed to recoup since my series of surgeries. And the sex I’ve been having is flimsy, bare-bones at best. Usually uncalled-for even at the moment. Sporadic and unreliable thereafter. Seems like my life has become a nonsensical series of disconnected moments, without any narrative to string them together. An anti-intellectual, Dada performance piece. And that’s a step up from failing to accumulate the pieces, weakness of constitution to follow through. Or so that’s what I tell myself. To justify the bullshit experiences I’ve aligned myself with to distract myself from my mortality, the inevitable demise. This is a tragicomedy in which my vagina chases the metaphysics of presence in spite of my brain’s inevitable inversions, as it functions within the limitations of my medical condition—which precludes me from suffering the humiliation of the human condition. Convenient! As logistical details and physical failings take precedence over psychological deficits, I escape narrowly, ephemerally. Marching in place, I shrink into myself—recede.
Current Genie would tell year-ago Genie, “It won’t be good enough. This is no way to live. Getting by, barely. Restricted. Give me fully functional or give me the knife!”
And that’s why I’m going under the knife again. Surrendering to science. Because I can’t live with being so motion-restricted. With being so motionless. Languid. Longing. For the life I once had, when I still had a body. And could pretend that that was my problem, it’s persistence.
HA! If only.
How tangible is the pain? Can you see it now? Can you see me now?