I Am Completely Insane
"Hi, my name is corvus, and I have a problem."
So there I was, curled up on the living room floor in the middle of the night, and it felt like a fish hook continuously twisting my small intestines. Food poisoning, you say? I almost wish! But no, just a complete and total lack of willpower and self-preservation on my part.
In the past I experienced problems with gastrointestinal bleeding, and my doctor felt for a few years that I had Crohn's disease. During treatment for this I really began paying attention to what I ate. I gave up sodas completely, and stopped drinking sweet tea as well. I also stopped taking a multivitamin, because it seemed to do more damage than good by upsetting my stomach in the mornings. After a year and a half of this, my anemia almost disappeared. While the iron content in my blood was still lower than average, it had markedly improved. Most of the ulcers (and I had many, many small ones) seemed to have healed. After three years, my GI doctor released me back into the wild with instructions to keep an eye on my iron levels.
Since that time, a few things have conspired against me. First, my mind tells me to drink soda. After having steered clear of the bubbly poison for more than one year, I had slowly devolved back into the habit by initially drinking Sprite, and then a root beer here or there, until now I'm back on the hard stuff, Mountain Dew. Second, in that time my career has advanced by leaps and bounds. As if making up for the years I lost when I first developed my arm trouble, I jumped from a transportation planner making less than $30,000 a year through the Kafkaesque world of defense contracting as a software programmer, to ultimately a position as a reasonably high action officer for the civil service. This jump came with a corresponding rise in stress and responsibility (one of the reasons why I have become so interested in Early Retirement Extreme). This past spring I was given responsibility for several programs and roughly 25 to 30 civilians and contractors, and it has not been the most pleasant experience. Stress levels have been high. My eating habits have worsened.
I knew I had a problem when we went on vacation a few weeks ago. The week leading up to our trip proved particularly unpleasant, and the first couple of nights in our hotel I noticed a sharp pain in my stomach while lying in bed. The sensation is fairly unique, and I immediately worried that my stomach issues might have a resurgence. I switched back into eating healthy mode, and together with the relaxation that generally comes with a vacation, I stopped having trouble after a few days. And like a particularly stubborn sinner, I quickly forgot the issue and jumped right back into my job and bad eating habits.
As part of my restrictions when first treated, I was ordered to be very careful about over-the-counter pain medications because of their adverse impact for people with stomach bleeding. What's that? You experience chronic pain on a daily basis from your arm condition? Doh! Last week, my arms were killing me, and having forgotten about my recent episode with the stomach, I took some naproxen (or generic advil or whatever it was, one of the cheap versions of ibuprofen). The following day work was crazy, and I had something like four sodas. In my complete and total ignorance, I completely missed this little recipe for disaster.
So there I was, curled up like a dying man in a pitch black room, thinking, "I'm not going to make into work. I hope no one steals my Mountain Dew out of the refrigerator."