Did you know that IBD makes your gums swell and causes sores in your mouth? Not gross stuff, you can't even see it, but I've definitely experienced some spontaneous bleeding. Well, for those who aren't aware--I'm... well... rather tiny. I admit I am on the petite side of normal women. And in sync with this, I have a small mouth. Small teeth too... but still, cramming a full set of adult teeth into a tiny mouth, including fully surfaced wisdom teeth, is a little much. And when I have a colitis flare, my gums swell and my tightly packed mouth hurts even more. It especially hurt during this last flare, so I went to the dentist.
I had an amazing, sweet/kind dentist whom I can't correctly pronounce the name of. I stumble over it so much that I have just been calling him 'doctor', because I'm embarrassed. He took pity on me, without any prompting from my side to be honest--he just saw my medical rap sheet, looked at me, and asked, "how can this much be wrong with you when you're so young?". He asked why I hadn't had my teeth out yet, and I explained that I had an appointment but I had to cancel it because it conflicted with my surgery I had in June to remove a tumor. At this news, he squeezed me in that SAME DAY to get out two of my wisdom teeth. He also coded it special to make it cheaper for me. He would have taken them all out but he suspected (correctly) that I would be slow to heal with all my medical issues. He didn't want to hurt me on accident. But he did an amazing job with the removal, I had a pretty smooth recovery, and I just had the other half removed by a friend of his. His colleague wasn't as good as him, but they still squeezed me in quickly and got me a special on pricing.
Having invisible diseases like endometriosis and colitis means that a lot of people don't understand what's wrong with me or expect me to be healthier than I am. I've known people to treat me like I'm 'making it up'. In all honesty, I'm more sensitive about it than I should be, but it really hurts my feelings to have people treat me like I'm faking. I've had to give up so much because of these diseases, and I would honestly cut off my leg to be healthy again--to have people belittle it adds insult to injury and I've cried over it before. It's stupid, and I shouldn't let it get to me, but I have before. So to be treated like a sick kid who really needed a break by this doctor/dentist--it was a really nice change of pace. He knew what colitis was and knew I was in constant pain, and that was enough for him. Thanks to him I have all four of my wisdom teeth out, and even though the left side hurt more and my stitches keep snagging (the other dentist wasn't quite as good as him), I'm grateful to have them out. The pain I've had for years in the corners of my mouth are GONE!!
Moral of the story? When you're sick--really sick--some people will have compassion for you, others will treat you like a big fat faker and think you're exaggerating. I've experienced both. I try not to whine; I have a jar labeled my "Bitch and Moan Jar" in which I have to place a quarter every time I whine. I get the money back if I can go 21 days without whining. I've made it 5 ha ha. But it's really helped me be aware of my complaining. My Mum actually told me she sometimes forgets how sick I am because I don't whine about it. And when you tolerate it well, it will make you tougher and able to endure hardships better, not to mention make others tolerate you better. But it also means a lot of people will think it must not be bad if you aren't complaining. Whining for attention isn't my style though, and I don't think anyone who is actually sick cares about getting 'extra attention'. You just hope people will have compassion and be patient with you, and if they're not, it's best to just ignore them. Otherwise you'll constantly be let down. Appreciate those who show compassion and patience, and screw those who don't.