In case you didn’t already know, I’m a big Taylor Swift fan. You can make fun of me for it if you want, but it’s the truth. Three years ago my sister and I went to her concert and last summer we went again, only this time my mom came with us. We kept running into students from the elementary school where my mom works, so like 9 and 10 year old girls with their mothers…and then there was my mother with her 21 and 25 year old daughters. But we all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves! The point is, I love Taylor Swift. Confession: I secretly wish that Taylor Swift, Ellen DeGeneres and I were all best friends. The only problem I foresee is that they both love cats, and I don’t. Okay, there might be a few logistical problems, as well…moving on.
If you listen to the radio you’ve probably heard Taylor Swift’s song “22.” Whether you like the song or not, it’s upbeat and somewhat catchy and it makes being 22 sound pretty fabulous. From the first time I heard the song I decided that I was going to sing and dance to it on my 22nd birthday. Well, it just so happens that I spent my 22nd birthday in Calgary and it was really not so fabulous (not the Calgary part itself – I loved staying at your house, Sue!). My mom and I had driven to Calgary so that I could see a motility specialist, which is a gastroenterologist who specializes in motility disorders, which gastroparesis is. The day following my birthday I was scheduled for a gastric emptying test (yuck, yuck, yuck!) which meant that I had to be off all of my medications. So basically, I spent my 22nd birthday feeling pretty lousy and too nauseous to eat anything birthday-related. I didn’t partake in any singing or dancing that day.
Being 22 got off to a rocky start, but it was going to get better, right? Wrong. I spent a month with a tube shoved up my nose and down my throat, chained to an IV pole 24/7. And then I spent the next several months starving to death. And then I was cut open and had a tube shoved right into my intestine. I don’t remember hearing anything about hospitals and feeding tubes in that song!
Today as I was driving around, I heard the song again, except this time I realized that maybe she didn’t have it all wrong. Now I’m going to share with you some of the lyrics and how they perfectly fit my life.
“It feels like a perfect night to dress up like hipsters…” Well, I’ve never been 100% clear on the definition of a hipster but I’m pretty sure it means one of three things: 1. Someone who has a feeding tube taped to their hip; 2. Someone who wears maternity jeans even though they aren’t pregnant; 3. Someone who is too cool to eat like a normal person and carries their food around in a back pack. You can check the dictionary if you don’t believe me. I’ve got all three possible definitions covered so I guess that makes me a hipster. Phew, looks like I’ve got that part covered.
“It feels like a perfect night for breakfast at midnight…” Psh, that one is easy. When I did night feeds I was eating at midnight all the time! Even better, I was eating while I was sleeping, and not many people can do that. Breakfast at midnight? Check.
“We ditch the whole scene and end up dreaming instead of sleeping…” I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to feed and sleep at the same time, but you pretty much end up dreaming crazy dreams all night long and you wake up feeling like you haven’t slept. Done.
“You don’t know about me but I’ll bet you want to…” Fact: when you go out in public with a tube coming out of you and into a backpack, people will take a second look, tilt their heads, or try politely not to stare while actually staring. I don’t blame them! If I saw me walking around I’d be confused, too. They don’t know what the tube is all about, but they are probably curious and want to know what it is. Right again, Taylor.
“It feels like one of those nights, you look like bad news. I gotta have you…” Nights are when I untape my tube and take a look at my stoma, which means that nights are when I usually discover a brand new batch of granulation. Believe me, granulation tissue looks like bad news. Oh yeah, having a tube coming out of your abdomen? That looks like bad news, too. And I gotta have the tube, so I gotta have the granulation.
So you see what I mean? This song was practically written about my life! And to think, if I hadn’t gotten my feeding tube I might not be able to relate to it at all. A little perspective and I no longer feel betrayed by my future best friend falsely advertising what being 22 is all about. I no longer feel the need to lie about my age because it turns out I’m not miserably failing at being 22.
Okay, now all jokes aside – a little perspective goes a long away. All of a sudden things line up or fall into place and life makes a little more sense. If we just try and see something differently, hear something differently, or think about something in a new way, we might just find that things aren’t so bad after all. We might just find the answer to our problem. We might just find the push we need to carry on and make it through to the better times ahead. It’s all about perspective.
“I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling 22.”