Dozens of late night Emergency Room visits. Countless unnecessary times I puked or felt like I might.
I was nineteen and should have been in college taking classes or working like any other college student.
I had been cooped up in my house for too long and the stress of not doing anything took a toll on me. I was in pain and I was stressed.
I had “cramps” that can only be described as having nothing to do with PMS, but everything to do with being a woman.
The ER doctor asked me one more time, “What’s your pain on a scale-”
“Nine out of a ten,” I slowly cried out.
I had told the nurse that already, but at this point I was pretty certain the nurse and doctor didn’t speak to each other before the doctor came in to see me.
I was writhing, screaming, and crying out in pain. They finally told me they would do an abdominal CT. I muttered under by breath that it was about time.
I had been to this same ER so many times that I had a favorite nurse that knew my face and knew my parents’ names.
Every time I went in there they gave me pain medicine in an IV, said I was “fine,” and sent me home because they “couldn’t do anything else.” I was so tired of that excuse.
I just wanted to get better. I just wanted to not be in pain so I could live more normally.
After a dozen visits and a laparoscopy that proved I wasn’t crazy, my gynecologist said I should feel better soon. He was wrong. I spent weeks upon months in pain without any idea why.
He told me the laparoscopy, which is a surgery where they go in through the belly button to look at someone’s insides to see if they need to do more surgery, just showed that there was scar tissue around some of my insides that could have been affecting my appetite and my pain.
They did manage to get rid of the scar tissue during the surgery and said the pain would go down in a week or so.
They couldn’t tell me why I got the scar tissue; they just could tell that I had some.
After that surgery is when I was getting sick and my pain seemed to have gotten worse. I kept not being able to eat or keep anything down, so I would end up in the hospital again.
When they finally took the abdominal CT they told me they think I might have an infection somewhere from the surgery. I was so frustrated, but at least they figured out why I was so sick.
They put me on some antibiotics, gave me some hardcore pain medicine, and sent me on my way. Needless to say, the next time I saw my doctor I was a little upset.
He told me the antibiotic they gave me to keep away infection during the surgery had actually gave me a horrible infection in my colon and it had made me sick, like throwing up and not being able to keep down food sick.
He told me to get better and that the pain should go down since they found that out.
The pain went down a bit, but it still wasn’t bearable to the point where I could work and function like a normal person. I still had random spurts of pain when I was stressed or emotional.
At some point it got so bad my dad and I thought it might be an ulcer. Before that, I even had a colonoscopy that was inconclusive.
That was one of the few times I hoped the doctor would find something so I could maybe take some medicine and get some relief. Nothing.
I was stunned after that because I had gone through hell during the preparation for the colonoscopy. I was so hopeful that the doctor would find something.
When I was coming off of my anesthesia all I could ask was if he found anything.
My dad had to let me down multiple times because I couldn’t remember that he had told me already that the test found nothing.
Then my gynecologist recommended a doctor that knows how females’ anatomy works in their pelvic region.
It was an odd recommendation since I thought that was his specialty, but I assumed this lady could tell me the exact reason all of these horrible things were going on with my own body.
I finally made an appointment with her, but she couldn’t get me in for a while. I had to suffer through a bit longer so maybe I could get relief later.
The day finally came, and I went to see her. The nurse came in and said, “I need you to pee as much as you can into this cup.”
“Oh, my gynecologist already checked me for everything and I might have a yeast infection if you wanted to check on his test"
Then she goes on to tell me that I need to pee in it anyway and it’s not just for normal tests. I agreed and excused myself to do so.
When I came back, I sat the cup on the counter and waited for the urogynecologist. She finally came in and said she was going to put a catheter in me.
From watching several doctors shows, I knew what that was, but it scared me a little. I let her do it anyway. As she was doing it, I was in an immense amount of pain and already crying.
My dad was with me, but I had him step out for this part. I got dressed still bawling from the pain, and my dad walked back in with the doctor.
Then she said six words that made me cry faster than any six words have ever made me cry in my whole life.
“I know what’s wrong with you.”
She went on to explain how my pelvic floor is a muscle and like muscles it can cramp or spasm. She said that she thought that was what was going on.
Then recommended physical therapy and to stop taking the strong pain meds the ER doctors prescribed to me.
Since then, I have gone to three different physical therapists who work at the same place, but they just tell me to do more stretches every time I go.
I have also found out it is very hard to have a physical relationship with any guy because they expect to have sex involving penetration and if it doesn’t hurt for me in the moment, it hurts me later.
It’s like getting punished for having sex or having a little bit of fun. So, when people wonder why I’m single it’s difficult to tell them the real reason.
Then when I do find a guy I like, it’s difficult to tell them I can’t have sex because it’s already hard for some guys to even talk about sex and then if you bring it up too soon, a girl has risk of getting slut-shamed.
Then other times I have to bring it up really soon because the guy expected a one-night-stand or something.
Or I try anyway to have sex and just end up stopping way too soon while disappointing the guy or paying for it later. It’s a no win situation.
Even my doctor says it’s hard having this, being young, and not already being in an understanding, committed relationship.
I used to be in a loving, somewhat understanding, committed relationship, but it got unhealthy and when I got out of it I didn’t know how to date normally. I was fine being in a relationship.
I had some pain with intercourse, but I thought it was normal. I thought maybe if we tried different things it would be okay. I eventually broke up with that guy.
Then when I started dating more I thought sleeping with a guy fairly soon was normal. I soon learned it wasn’t and got slut-shamed more than I am willing to admit.
When I was told what was going on with my body I thought back to the events of the past year: the hookups, the guys I thought were “different,” the hot guy from down the hall,
the guy who proceeded to ask why I didn’t want to be with him and chocked it up to me wanting sex from him even though he didn’t want it.
I slept with more guys in the year leading up to finding out what I had than I had ever even gone a date with before that year. My body count was up in the double digits.
I couldn’t help thinking this was my fault. I brought this upon myself. I was getting punished for having so much sex. I was sure of it.
But then why did I have all of that sex? I never told myself that was why I was going to college. I never planned to sleep with so many guys so quickly. It just happened.
Then I remembered the emotions. The things they said to me.
When you tell a guy what’s wrong with you and why you have a few tiny scars he acts like it’s no big deal.
Like that wasn’t the only reason he let you stay the night at his place after you decided to drink a little. He says he’s “different” and “not like other guys” and then a week later he is gone.
He’s ghosted you or is making up reasons to not be with you.
“This is getting too serious.”
“I think you’re still hung up on your ex.” (The one I dumped almost two years ago and was currently writing an essay about)
“My ex is pregnant, and it has to be mine because we hooked up a week before we met.”
“I’m busy.” Everyday? Do you work and go to school every day? Why do you have to work so much? When do you have time to go out and spend money?
“It’s not a big deal. We’ll figure something out.”
“I can wait until you’re better.”
“But you gave me blue balls.”
All this was said after he said he wasn’t like other guys and that he “could wait” like somehow it would resolve itself soon enough that I could have sex with him again.
Like my issue isn’t a constant problem that I will probably have to deal with my whole life.
Being in the moment with a guy as he leans in and starts to get physical quickly, is intense and sudden. I never wanted to say no. It felt good. It felt right. What could go wrong?
Everything. Everything could go wrong. Depression. Staying in my dorm all night and all day. Not eating or drinking anything except crackers and Gatorade. Stress.
They all made me feel like I owed them something. Like I owed them some form of sex.
If I had a dollar for every time some guy said he was different or said he had “blue balls” and acted like it was my fault, I would be rich enough to have my pelvic death trap removed.
No sir, I don’t want to get you off after I never offered. No, I definitely don’t care that you got too turned on and may “hurt” because of this.
I am not letting you have sex with me just so you can be pleased and I can pay for it later by being in more pain than you getting kicked in the nuts.
This is why I am single. It’s mostly a choice, but it’s definitely these boys’ fault.