At first, the doctors thought I had colitis which is more or less contained to one area of the colon, but then they saw that I had more involvement of my colon and small intestine which is called Crohn’s disease.
The problem involves diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, weight loss, and fatigue. Overall, it can take a great emotional toll on people. While in nursing school, dealing with this disease can cause isolation and embarrassment.
Dealing with Diarrhea
My experience has shown me that strength has a lot to do with coping, so I try to take life one day at a time. A primary problem with Crohn’s disease is diarrhea. This can present a problem when you’re sitting in a classroom lecture or participating in a clinical experience such as working in the hospital with patients. It can be very awkward if you have to go to the bathroom often.
The diet I have to eat can be another challenge, especially hard to eat in the cafeteria at school or at the hospital. I have to bring my own food on most days. I juice a lot of my food, fresh fruit and vegetables, carrots, cabbage, grapes and apples. It’s very hard to fit the diet required with this disability into a long day at school or work.
I have been hospitalized a few times while in nursing school. My bowel has been obstructed and I’ve needed surgery. At certain times, I’ve tried to ignore the fever and pain symptoms because I had a final examination or paper due. I know that waiting too long to get to the hospital has put my health and life in danger.
During my junior year in the BSN program, I started confiding in my professors about my disability and explained why I had to be excused from class or walked in and out of the classroom so often. If a professor doesn’t know why you keep moving in the classroom, it can be very disruptive to the lecture and can also give the wrong impression about you. The professor isn’t going to understand unless he or she knows you have a problem.
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