I have an unidentified but not, I believe, unique problem. With my oesophagus.
The problem is that I experience pain, which I can best describe as the feeling of a tight water balloon filled with hot water inside me just where the food pipe (oesophagus) meets the stomach (the organ, not your “tummy” at about the bottom of the rib cage). I make sqeaking noises, which come up as air reflux, like something cross between a burp and a hiccup. The noises vary, but are frequently described as “cat noises”. Or random miaows.
This happens after I have eaten. Not all the time, but I have good times and bad times. Hot food, fizzy drinks and occasionally alcohol set it off. Orange juice used to cause me pain within seconds of a sip, but for some reason I noticed that this appeared to have stopped in the last year – I’m still being cautious with it. I can also “get the oesophaguses” from being hungry, being too warm or exercising heavily.
I’m more likely to get just noise than noise and pain, and more likely to get noise and pain than just pain. But any combination is possible. Sometimes it’s so bad that I simply can’t eat hot food and drink hot drinks, and the idea of a nice hot dinner turns my tummy.
Generally, it’s a problem I can live with. I developed it when I was fourteen, and it changed a bit before settling down into what it now is. I spent a lot of time with doctors, who treated me with antiacids, despite a pH test, barium meal and endoscopy all showing that my pH and swallowing were normal. They gave me drugs from the omeprazole family which caused me to hallucinate, have “mini blck outs” (lasting a fraction of a second but wiping my short term memory temporarily – like when you wake up from sleep in an unusual place and have to gather your senses together) or did nothing whatsoever, good or bad. They then sent me to a psychologist who told me to breathe, think about trees, and overcome the problem with willpower. So I gave up on doctors.
But I’m a bit worried about the wedding. There’s going to be warm food and fizzy wine (no, actually we’re having proper Champagne, because the Fiance’s parents are paying and his dad feels the imperative “need” for real Champagne! And, well, it is a wedding afterall…). It’s also in May, which can get quite warm sometimes. So I’m just the tiniest bit worried about it. There’s nothing I can do about it. I can’t persuade it not to be difficult, and I have no idea what kind of “phase” I will be in at the time. As the time gets closer, I have a better and better chance of guessing whether or not it will be badly behaved, but I don’t know. And it would be so upsetting if I couldn’t drink Champagne and eat Mushroom Wellington.
Of course, there’s no point worrying about it, and I try to put it to the back of my mind, but in thinking about it, I was wondering how many other brides and grooms have things like this which worry them for their big day. I’m sure there must be lots of them out there, but medical inhibitions don’t get mentioned much because it is supposed to be the perfect day. Everything is supposed to go well, which means that issues like this become unspeakable and everybody assumes it just “has” to turn out right.
And it’s things like my oesophagus, women starting their periods halfway through the vows and the skies pissing it down all day that remind me that your wedding day is actually just any other day. Life goes on, people get older, nothing coincides. It is a special moment, a cosied memory, but for all the planning in the world you cannot own the day, cannot tie it back and tame it, even for a brief moment, no matter how much you wish for. Everything may go swimmingly, but you can’t control it all. The big, magical adventure of the world is untouchable. We are only invited along for a ride.