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One might say humiliating stories and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) go hand in hand. Ok, maybe by “one” I mean me, but in my experience living with IBD means being really embarrassed on multiple occasions. Recently, I experienced yet another one of those occasions. Let me set the scene for you.
I recently started dating someone new. We are still in the “get to know you” stage, where everything the other person does is new and adorable and you are still on your best behavior. There are topics that are off limits because you don’t know if the other person will understand your sarcasm, but you push the limits here and there, feeling out how compatible you are. Although there is a slight sense of walking on eggshells, this is the fun part.
For me, dating has always been mildly complicated because of my health issues. I worry about finding someone who can accept that I’m chronically ill, that one of my two diseases is located in my butt, and to top it all off I put my whole life on the Internet. Let’s just say I’ve realized dating me can be a lot to handle.
Not to mention, I have a tendency to spew out all of that information on a first date. What can I say? I like talking about my butt. The point is, finding someone I can actually go on multiple dates with has been difficult.
Fast forward to now. I have found one of those rare magical unicorns of a man, who not only doesn’t care that I’m sick but understands it in the best way possible: He is sick too. Jackpot. Our relationship is brand new, and I’m still learning to bridge the gap between being open and honest but still attractive because IBD is often not attractive.
In order to combat the unattractive reality of IBD, I make choices throughout our dates to make things a little easier, like not eating late or eating questionable things that may compromise my ability to be awesome, fun Jackie. I have recently, however, learned these attempts can be futile.
So this unicorn guy and I have been hanging out semi regularly and I had spent the night at his house twice at the point of this story. On nights we have sleep overs, I skip dinner on the freak chance that my j-pouch decides to rebel against me and make me crap the bed.
My theory is, if I don’t eat past noon, and I make sure to use the bathroom a million times during the day, I will be fine. Do I need to foreshadow anymore or can I just tell you that it was not fine? On sleepover number three, I woke up at about 3 a.m. to what I would classify as the most mortifying moment in my 29 years. I had, in fact, shit in his bed while he slept next to me.
I don’t think “panic” instills the correct about of horror that I felt in that moment, but I panicked. I got up and went to the bathroom, and panicked in there for about 20 minutes going over various scenarios of what I could do to change the situation or get out of it. Turns out there were not any scenarios except one; I had to wake him up and tell him. So that is exactly what I did. I walked through the dark, to this incredible unicorn man I was completely infatuated with, and proceeded to tell him that I had shit his bed and he had to go sleep on the couch while I cleaned up all of my humiliation. I think a small part of me died in that moment.
I stayed up the rest of the night, frantically cleaning and scrubbing in hopes to cleanse the sheets, his mattress, and my soul of this horrible experience. Turns out there isn’t enough disinfectant in the world to clean away that type of humiliation.
I attempted to go to sleep after I realized I could clean no more, but my tears of shame kept me up until my alarm went off at 6 a.m. At that point I got my ugly cry face out of bed and got ready for work, completely avoiding him and the situation because what the hell do you say to someone who owns the bed you’ve just crapped in? Someone who barely knows you, and who has clearly lost all attraction to you.
You get ready for work, and you scrape together the last bit of pride you have and you say, “I’m going to work now." Then despite your resolve to hold it together, you proceed to become a blubbering mess in front of the unicorn.
What did the unicorn do? He grabbed me, pulled me into his arms, kissed my face, and told me that this didn’t change the way he felt about me. That I was still the same amazing person who did the same amazing things (his words, not mine). I eventually left for work, cried the whole way there, and then some more in the bathroom. He reached out to me again later that day to make sure I was alright and to reinforce that things between us were OK. And they were OK. They still are.
Things between us are still very new, but once you shit the bed and they stick around, what else do you need to know about their character? Luckily for the sake of my dwindling ego and his fancy new mattress, I have yet to repeat the events of that night but that doesn’t mean it will never happen again. And when it does, it will be just as humiliating as it was the first time, but the difference is I won’t be afraid of his reaction.
We both know what we’re getting into, and that takes you straight out of the “on your best behavior” stage, right into the “I completely trust you” stage. And this is a great place to be.
So there you have it. I crapped someone else’s bed and survived. I feel like I need a T-shirt to commemorate it or something.