Unexpected Unknown

Planning for the Unknown

There is so much unexpected unknown with Inflammatory Bowel Disease, ie; Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.  Planning is most of the time the one thing that gets us through situations beyond our control. Although planning for the unexpected unknown is mentally taxing and is always bewildering because it is just that, unknown, still it is necessary to do. So just how do you plan and what do you plan for when you don’t know what is next, the unexpected unknown?

Image  Probably the most common unexpected unknown thing we have to plan for is that inevitably we will soil ourselves. Because we do not know when, where or what time this will happen makes it an unexpected unknown, but it is known that it will happen at sometime and for some frequently. I plan for this unknown event by keeping clean clothes (underwear, socks, shirt and pants) along with things like wipes, toilet paper, scissors, and a garbage bag in my cars and my desk at work. When we do soil our self just being prepared can help get us through a very embarrassing situation quickly.

Another unexpected unknown we have to plan for is fatigue. IBD patients have problems absorbing minerals and nutrients’ because our digestive tract is either and or inflamed, scared, shortened, colon removed, etc. Many of us take oral supplements, and many have supplements injected such as B-12 and fluids. Because do not absorb minerals and nutrients well we can be feeling fine and suddenly we are fatigued and feeling horrible. Because of this unknown we must recognize signs and know when to slow down or stop and rest. Sometimes a small snack can help fight off this unexpected unknown.

Image  This evening at dinner with friends I had an unexpected bout of unknown. As most know that will read this you can be perfectly fine one minute, the next horrid pain with the most incredible need to use a rest room. Most of the time when this happens, you have a couple minutes but usually seconds to find the loo but planning for the unexpected unknown you already know where every rest room in the establishment is. It’s the same when driving to and from work, you know every restroom and pull off to dive over the guard rail on your route. You have too!

As with the beginning of the journey with IBD there is much unexpected unknown. The beginning for me was first the flu, which morphed into a viral infection that included hemorrhoids which then hospitalized me for nine days after during surgery to remove the my surgeon decided they were skin tags and saw inflammation. Nine days in the hospital and 80 pounds lighter I was told I had either UC or Crohn’s disease, my journey with unexpected unknown had begun. I had become sick Christmas Eve 2008, early March 2009 Crohn’s / UC, mid May 2009 firm Crohn’s. Thirteen hospital stays, many ER visits, hundreds of doctor appointments, Biologic drugs, Chemo drugs and Steroids, Fistula, Surgery, Fissure, Abscesses, joint pain and loss of vision, all of this unexpected unknown. I as no one can, plan for this last paragraph of unknowns, but we all can plan for the unexpected unknowns we DO know will happen just not when, but if you study and prepare the next unexpected unknown might be predictably easier.

Josh Robinson, 11/06/2013

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