Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I wonder

Sometimes, often late at night, as I lay in bed listening to the distant wail of police sirens, watching the helicopter search lights dance across my bedroom walls, I get to thinking about where I stand in the grand scheme of things. Not so much ‘why am I here?’ Although that is a very good question. But how bad is my ulcerative colitis? Compared to my fellow sufferers, I mean. Where do I sit in the UC league table? Riding high at the top, like a title contender, milling about somewhere in the middle, or clinging to the bottom? I’d like to put my situation into some sort of perspective. None of my doctors have ever said how severe or mild my disease is. In films doctors often say things like, “In 25 years of practicing medicine I have never come across a case as bad as yours, you’re a walking miracle. Would you mind keeping your trousers down while I fetch my colleagues. And a camera. Do you want me to get a priest while I’m at it?” But I haven’t got a clue. Not even an inkling. Out of 10, am I a 3 or a 6? So I was quite pleased when I came across this handy little guide on the worldwide web.

The severity of ulcerative colitis is determined by certain criteria. Ulcerative colitis can be classified as mild, moderate, or severe.

People who have mild ulcerative colitis may have:

Fewer than four stools per day.
No bleeding or a small amount of bleeding with stools.
Normal or mild elevation of erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR).

People who have mild ulcerative colitis do not have fever, rapid heartbeat, or anaemia.

People who have moderate ulcerative colitis have:
More than four stools per day.
Cramping abdominal pain and an urgent need to have a
bowel movement.
Mild elevation in erythrocyte sedimentation rate.

People who have severe ulcerative colitis usually:

Have more than six stools per day (constant loose stools).
Have frequent bleeding from the rectum.
Have fever, rapid heartbeat, and anaemia.
Have an elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate.
Feel very ill.

Flare-ups can be so severe that they require hospitalization.

My question has been answered. Now I know exactly where I stand. According to these criteria I have mildly moderate severe ulcerative colitis. Depending on how things are going I could find myself at the top, middle or bottom of the UC league table. How very Manchester City. But at least now I have some sort of gauge. Now when I find myself listening to those police sirens and watching the search lights all I need to worry about is did I lock the front door?