Ah, that IV pole, always one shove ahead of us.
Just like people, IV poles come in a multitude of varieties - purely tall, adjustable, big wheels, tiny wheels, squeaky wheels, baskets attached, pumps hanging on, even the number of hooks at the top. It’s kind of like the medical version of hand-cuffs, we are literally plugged into the wall and attached to something, a two-for-one deal.
In the middle of the night it can be the enemy, a desperate act to unplug and get to the bathroom. During the day it can be the bother that you trip on during your walk. But no matter what time of the day, it can serve as a constant reminder of being sick with IBD.
I think the IV pole experience is a good metaphor for having IBD. At the beginning, you typically either try to run away from it unsuccessfully or try to cling to the pole, unsure of what else is happening. The poles are a little too big and wobbly at first, at the beginning we can only steer them with two hands and immense concentration. But soon enough, we find we’re pushing it along with one hand.
Then they are the pumps. Things can be streamlined, one pump, or crazy, four or more pumps, barely fitting on the pole and beeping and unable to be calmed. We need help sometimes, when we buzz the nurses in frustration and panic at the pump beeping, but very quickly we learn where the ‘silence’ button is - a massive saving grace in the middle of the night.
Just like any other skill, mastering the IV pole takes time and is an ongoing challenge. If we learn from the IV pole, to be the squeaky wheel and get our questions answers, to be heard as youth, to stand tall, to ask for help when we need it, and to try to walk side-by-side with everyone in our life - then we too can be supportive, adaptive, strong, and unbreakable.