Things We Take For Granted

The other day I was waiting in line at the drive-thru. I was very annoyed. You know the thoughts that run through your head: “what’s taking so long?” – “the person in front of me should have went home and cooked dinner!” – etc. etc. As the length of the wait slowly increased I could feel the tension rise in line. As people began to park their cars in line, some even driving away, I could hear the long (and angry) sighs.

Is it worth the stress?

After hearing a few more sighs and watching a few more vehicles slowly disappear into the night, I asked myself: “Is this really worth getting upset over?” Sometimes I do that. Sometimes I stop myself just to think. To question my actions and to promote solutions. Of course the answer to this question was no. I know if I’m angry or upset I’ll begin to feel stressed, I know once I’m stressed my symptoms will start and I also know there is not a food in this world worth my symptoms. But it was also at this moment that I thought back to a few years ago. Just a few years ago I wouldn’t be able to make this trip at all. Just a few years ago this wasn’t possible for me. I know because I tried it (and failed).

Years ago my grandmother asked me to go get food with her. I made every excuse in the world, but she pressured me so much and promised it wouldn’t be long. I believed her because it was so late at night and I knew how bad she wanted me to go so I shut my mouth and rolled with it. When we arrived there was a long line, I immediately became anxious, but because the line appeared to be moving I decided not to address it. Not sure what happened, but seconds turned into minutes and the minutes seemed to become longer and longer. The line was no longer moving and I became frantic. I started scratching my legs and arms (as I often did when anxious or worried about urgency). I told my grandmother that I needed to go home and I didn’t want to be here anymore. She assured me it wouldn’t be much longer. For people who don’t have IBD, “much longer” has no set amount of time. For those of us with IBD, “much longer” is often much too long. When we arrived at the window I immediately yelled out asking if I could use their bathroom. They kindly declined saying they wouldn’t be able to open the doors because they have to lock them after a certain time. After seeing the fear in my eyes they apologized many times. So did my grandmother. During the ride home I was screaming in fear! I begged my grandmother to drive faster and faster. I know I worried her. I could see it in her eyes, but at the time I just didn’t have time to care. When we arrived home I ran in the house and locked the bathroom door. I was so embarrassed.

Reminders

As I sat in the line of cars years and many surgeries later I realized how much I’ve began to take for granted. I try to remind myself of how blessed I am even if things aren’t perfect. I’ve been through so much and I truly hope to never forget where I came from.

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