My digestive system is acting up again. Still? Still. I don’t know what it is, but I have a sneaking suspicion. I have been eating more hummus than usual because hummus is delicious, and I get in moods where I want to eat one thing all the time. Unfortunately, my stomach has been not happy about it, and it’s making its unhappiness known in one specific way–me spending too much goddamn time on the toilet. The problem is that I don’t know what exactly it is about hummus that is making my stomach cranky, and there’s no easy way of figuring it out. My stopgap measure is that I bought black bean hummus instead of hummus that is chickpea based. Why? Because if I don’t have the same problem with the black bean hummus, then I know it’s the chickpeas. If I do have the same issue, then I know it’s most likely not the chickpeas.
I have another issue coming up. After Taiji on Friday, I had to go to the bathroom. Warning, TMI for bodily effluvia. You have been forewarned. Normally, when I eat something that doesn’t agree with me, it hits me immediately. I have to race to the bathroom within a minute or it will not be a good time for me. Let me put it in plain terms–diarrhea for days. When I’m done, I have to sit on the toilet because it will start up again in a minute or so. Then a few minutes later, more. I can sit on the toilet for up to half an hour at a time, and even then, it feels as if I’m not completely done.
Side Note: I read an interesting description of food allergies vs. sensitivities/intolerances, which was really illuminating. I know what I have is not an allergy (it’s not life-threatening), but it’s still pretty miserable to experience.
Anyway, the last time, I ate a scrambled tofu breakfast burrito with fake cheeze before going to taiji. I have had all that before with no problem. I was fine during class, but then as things were winding up, so was my stomach. By the way, winding up and winding down can mean the same thing. Funny. I made it to the bathroom, just, but it wasn’t a deluge like it had been in the past. It was solid waste rather than runny waste. I made it home and had to go again. My stomach was touch and go well into the next day.
I have come to the grim conclusion that I may need to try the FODMAP elimination diet. Why grim? Because it is extensive and very restrictive. I have talked to my doc about my digestive issues, and she said one of the problems was that I cut out dairy and gluten so they can’t test for those. I mean, it makes sense, but it’s a bit frustrating. It’s also frustrating that my doc left my clinic, which means I have to find another. I have a difficult time finding doctors who don’t talk down to me, who take me seriously when I talk to them, and who do not shame me for being fat.
I may do a modified version where I eliminate one category at a time. I don’t know if I could do all at the same time, though I understand the theory behind doing it that way. It’s also difficult because I’m resentful. I’ve already given up dairy, gluten, and caffeine. I don’t want to have to give up anything else. And, yes, I understand that the idea is to slowly reintroduce things to figure out exactly what is causing the problem. It’s not as if I can’t eat these things for the rest of my life. But, I’m resentful that I have to do anything more than I’ve already done. I do have to do it, though, because my current state is not tenable.
It tangentially reminds me of an issue with my mother. She had her back surgery and is doing incredibly well. However, my dad is not–he’s incapable of taking care of another human being for many reasons–and is in turn making her life miserable. They had a helper for the first two weeks, a woman who should not be in the helping business, and once her time was up, my father wanted to get another helper to stay with them 24/7. Not for my mother’s well-being, oh, no, but so he wouldn’t have to be the slightest bit inconvenienced. She didn’t want someone around 24/7, which I understand, and when she argued about it with him, he said, “Fine. Then if something happens to you, it’s not my fault.”
That’s my father through and through. If you don’t do things 100% his way, then he washes his hands completely of you. Never mind that my mom waited on him single-handedly for three months after HIS back surgery, not to mention the whole rest of their marriage, he couldn’t even do it for two weeks. To be brutally frank, he couldn’t even do it for two days (and I can’t talk about her time in the hospital without going incandescent with rage). There are physical limitations, yes, but it’s also emotional. He cannot think of anyone other than himself.
We all know this. My mother, my brother, and me. I urged my mother to have the surgery done in America so I could take care of her, but she wouldn’t leave my father by himself. We talked about me going there, but in the end, they said I shouldn’t because I didn’t know the language. My father declared that he would take care of my mother, and no one contradicted him. My mother and I both knew it was bullshit, but neither of us said anything. That’s pretty much how we’ve dealt with my father–not pointing out his obvious delusions. It’s not easy, though, so sometimes I explode over fairly trivial things–such as him asking how it was possible for people in India to live in such heat.
Hello, pot/kettle? He lives in Taiwan, for fuck’s sake! But that’s different because reasons. I exploded at him over something that ultimately doesn’t matter, but it’s the culmination of all the stupid things he says that I don’t challenge. I know it’s not healthy, but it’s hard to bite my tongue all the time. There’s no use to challenging him on anything, but it’s not in my nature to let an untruth slide by. I’m a Burned/Stripped Gryffindor* Primary, or at least that’s the one that’s the closest to me. I tend to defy categorization, which is a point of pride for me. I like to joke that I’m a Slytherin, but that’s mostly because I wear black and Alan Rickman is a god.
Anyway, after my mother unloaded on me, she casually let it slip that her brother and his new wife offered to fly to Taiwan from Chicago to help her out. They would stay with his first (deceased) wife’s family about fifteen minutes away. I thought, “That’s the perfect solution!” Then she added that she turned him down.
I mean, what???? She had a problem (my father being a giant asshole and wanting to impose on her a 24/7 caretaker), and she had a solution (my uncle and his wife eager to fly out to help, staying at a reasonable distance away), and she turned it down. This is her issue. She is a martyr at heart, and she is intensely uncomfortable asking for help. I get it. I really do. I’m the same way, but I wouldn’t turn down a solution that was presented to me on a platter.
I told her to call her brother back and accept. He had wanted to be there for her surgery, but he and his wife were on a cruise. Now that they are back, they really want to help my mom. He’s a doctor (as are his three sons and their three wives), which is an added bonus. In addition, she sacrificed a lot for him when they were younger (as the oldest boy and the oldest kid in general, he was given a lot extra), so in my mind, he could afford to give some back to my mother.
There is a happy ending to that story. She did call him back, and he and his wife are flying out in a few days and staying for a month. In the meantime, she has three helpers from the government who are doing a good job. It blows my mind how casually she threw that out there about her brother and that she turned him down. It shouldn’t, though. Just as my father is a raging narcissist who is literally incapable of caring about another human being in a way that isn’t reflective of him,** my mother is a martyr who has to be seen as the ultimate helper/together.
I have known my father was a narcissist (though maybe not the term for it) since I was a relatively young child. It took me until I was in my thirties to realize the same about my mother. It’s because my father shows the classic signs of it whereas my mother’s form of narcissism isn’t as obvious. It’s become more obvious in her older age, but it’s wrapped in a mentality of ‘I’m here to serve others’.
I actually find it more difficult to deal with my mother at times than my father because I don’t expect anything from him. I know he’s extremely limited in his ability to empathize with others. And by extremely limited, I mean not able to at all. He has psychopathic traits, and I do not say that lightly by any means. He cannot empathize with others, nor does he even try to. He doesn’t see the point of it, much as if it didn’t exist. My mother, on the other hand, is a psychologist. She is a helper in a helping tradition, which makes it easier for her to disguise the fact that she has difficulty empathizing as well. Not with people who are like her, but with people who aren’t. There have been times when I have turned myself inside out to explain something to her (about the way I think), to no avail. As we’ve gotten older, she’s shown less and less interest in even pretending to care about me and my life than she has in the past.
That’s not completely fair. She does care about me. She is just so absorbed in her own life, it doesn’t register that I’m a separate entity. There is a history of autism in my family (though it’s not been diagnosed), and my mom has mentioned that she wonders if she’s on the spectrum somewhere. My brother definitely is, and my older nephew is as well. I have some traits myself, and I’m also a narcissist, but a soft one. I’m also better able to hide it than the other members of my family.
I’m tired. I’m sick. This is becoming more and more prevalent, and I need to cut it off at the pass. I want to be free from the tyranny of being tied to the toilet.
*I went down a rabbit hole of sorting hat classifications, and it’s probably not a surprise to anyone that I didn’t fit neatly into any house. I’m not a Potterhead, but it was amusing.
**An example. He cares about me because I’m his daughter. But, he doesn’t care about me the person because he doesn’t understand anything about me. I am an extension of him, and that’s why he cares about me. If I were not related to him, I don’t think he would look twice at me in the streets. To be fair to him, my mother also likes me for what she can get out of me. They both said they liked having me around (when they’re here) because they can always come to me and ask me questions (mostly tech related).