Fistula. Such a strange sounding word. Think of the game "Chutes and Ladders." Do you remember that game? A fistula is like a chute. It forms between your bowel and different organs within your body. Or, it can come right out of your body, say through your stomach. Mine was a peri-anal fistula which means it ended in my anus. Yeah! What fun! Basically puss and other nasty stuff travels the length of the fistula and then exits. Did I mention that you have NO control over when this happens? Say it with me again: Yeah! What fun!

Having a fistula is like having to watch Twilight over and over on a loop. (Yes, I realize this is a rather childish comparison. A fistula is no laughing matter as I soon discovered. But those of you who know me well know that the Twilight movies actually manifest physical pain within my body. A pain so hard to endure it culminates with me passing out (okay, okay I just fall asleep - just ask my wife)).

Anyhow, just when the credits are rolling and you're like "Finally, thank God that's over" - it starts AGAIN. The next thing you know the one dude with moobs is walking around shirtless; the smarmy little girl is pouting in her room, and the pasty white vampire kid is going all sparkly in a field somewhere. And your fistula is draining nasty puss into your underwear and so you run to the bathroom where you grip the sides of the vanity, avoiding the mirror because you can't look at the person there. Because you don't want to be reminded that that person is you. You don't want to acknowledge that the guy standing there with the mess in his underwear is you. And so you rest your cheek on the cool vanity because of course you have another fever. For a moment you close your eyes and you are somewhere else. You don't want to slip back into the person resting there in that bathroom. But eventually you do. Finally you lift your head, take a deep breath and glance at the guy staring back at you. Then the two of you set about, one more time, cleaning up the mess that has become your life.

Ryan Stevens
Maumee, OH
Tuesday, Apr 23, 2013