Wednesday 11th July, one day after the launch party for the newest set of pains in my lower abdomen, I spent my day off feeling terrible. At work the day before I’d had a run-in with a difficult patient and then I consequently slammed the phone down on someone working for the practice out of pure frustration. It had been an awful couple of weeks where I’d cried most days on my way into work; I felt stuck and isolated and useless. It was one of those moments in life where I knew I needed to make a swift change, I could feel myself spiralling into an all too familiar pit of doom, and there was no way I was allowing myself to go there again. The next day at work I had a lengthy and frank discussion with my manager – I say discussion, anyone listening in would have had a hard time understanding me as I spent most of the time crying and doing those comical inward sobs whenever I tried to talk. Long story short, I gave my verbal notice in there and then – I was finally going to make use of my sodding degree, and this was going to be the start of something amazing and exciting, I could feel it.
I was given the rest of the week off to unwind, and during that time, so the hunt for my big gal career commenced.
I’m unsure if anyone reading this has ever been dumb enough to hand their notice in before finding another job, but I can tell you from first-hand experience, it’s pretty bloody stressful. Nevertheless, I came back to work on Monday 16th July feeling rejuvenated. I had just 12 working days left at the job I’d outgrown, I was escaping to Italy for a week on the 5th August, and I was bound to find a job sooner rather than later – I was hardly inexperienced and it’s not like I was exactly lacking in the brain cell department.
I may have felt refreshed upon my return, but my body was still in such a pickle. Over the weekend the pain that had originated near my baby-making facilities had started to shift, and was now sat in the middle of my stomach presenting itself as a sort of cramping-spasm sensation that wouldn’t budge. Over the next two and a half weeks the pain would continue to increase. It developed into a pain that got infinitely worse both immediately after eating and when I was overly hungry. My stomach would cramp to such an extent that I could see it pulsate through my clothes, as though my food was being processed by some sort of weird intestinal tombola. I’d lost more than half a stone in weight over two months without trying and thought nothing of it, I was just lapping up the compliments whilst proudly showing off the large gap that had appeared between my stomach and the top of my work trousers. “These are a size 10, look how loose they are!” – if only I knew! I’m not normally one to share my poo habits, but I’m going to for the sake of health and lols. By the end of July I couldn’t remember the last time I’d had a normal brown number, it was always one of two options; I simply couldn’t go (aka: I was a constipated beach ball), or I would be fully re-enacting that scene from Bridesmaids where Megan shits in the sink. To clarify, I never actually shat in a sink myself, but the contents being excreted from my bowels was certainly nowhere near formed, and at times it really did resemble lava. I was hideously uncomfortable for a lot of the time, but in true Jasmine form I’d take a paracetamol, sometimes a Rennie if I was feeling particularly unwell, and tell myself it would disappear in time. Not only was my stomach practicing to run away with the circus, but it also seemed that my hypothalamus had popped off on holiday. For anyone unfamiliar with the hypothalamus, it’s the part of our brain that regulates temperature, and I’m telling you now that during our British heatwave this summer, the last thing my hypothalamus was doing was regulating any kind of temperature. For the duration of June and July (and August) I would wake up in the middle of the night without fail, DRENCHED in sweat. Thank God for double beds. I would purposely go to bed on the left side and then swap to the right halfway through the night so that I could avoid swimming in the pool of perspiration I’d managed to produce in a matter of hours. It was slightly vile, yes, but it was the height of summer, it was scorching hot and I just assumed everyone else was sweating their balls off at night too. Apparently not. Well even if they were, they weren’t creating water parks in their beds quite like I was.
Two weeks went by and it was finally my last week at the practice. My stomach pain had got worse (obviously) but everything else was going well. I’d managed to apply to lots of jobs that I had a genuine interest in, there was less than a week to go before I’d be gallivanting around Italy with my two best friends, and I just felt so much happier than I had in a really long while. On the 2nd August, my penultimate day at work, I was asked to a pre-interview for a Marketing job that afternoon. Interviews have never bothered me, in fact I secretly sort of enjoy them, it was a scorching hot day and I drove to Bursledon with my windows down, belting out songs from Hamilton all the way there – I WAS MAKING LIFE CHANGES AND I WAS SO PROUD. I came back to work for the last few hours of Thursday beaming from ear to ear, practically forgetting the fact that for the last few months I’d been in considerable pain. I had my second interview for the marketing role the next morning – also my last working day at the practice. I woke up obscenely early, caught the train to Eastleigh, and hailed a taxi down with ease – I felt like quite the Carrie Bradshaw. It was going well until my driver became very apparently racist and then I felt slightly odd about handing over £7.00 for a journey that took all but 5 minutes. Anyway, I got out of the car and totted towards the entrance – ‘B&Q Headquarters’. I walked into the atrium and looked up, it was huge. I loved it.
The interview, all I can say is that I must have chatted a lot of good shit, because I spent the entirety of it in a sickening amount of pain, and yet I still managed to bag myself the role. You were looking at the new Commercial Design Coordinator within the marketing department at B&Q HQ, but you were also looking at the girl who was about to celebrate her success by travelling to Italy, which, in hindsight, was not a smart move. After the interview I went back to work, in an attempt to be a truly sensible adult, I finally gave into my hellish pain and rang my GP for an appointment. I explained every last detail to the receptionist.
“We have no appointments for today or tomorrow I’m afraid. I could do Monday?”
“Oooh, I’ll be in Italy by then. I’m back on the 11th?”
“How about Wednesday 15th at 7:45pm?”
“Brilliant! I’ll take that one then, thank you”
“Okay, all booked. However I really do think you should try a walk-in centre if you’re experiencing the sort of pain described”
“I’m sure it’ll be fine!”
I hung up the phone and headed downstairs to celebrate my last lunch with my colleagues. I may have hated the job, but my God, the people! They were all angels, my workplace family, my home away from home, my little unit of weirdos who I loved dearly. I received just the most wonderful gifts, and true to my sentimental nature, I cried incredibly hard whilst reading their cards at my kitchen table when I got home that evening.
I was free! No more Dental Practice, no more half-vomiting at the smell/sight of blood from within the surgeries, no more sobbing on the way to work – I was a grown up, and I was ready to smash the corporate world. I was supposed to have my friend over on the night of the 3rd, but after my little kitchen table crying fest my stomach was no longer having any of it; I lied and told him I was ‘too tired’ – what I should have said was ‘my insides are trying to escape from within me. Send help’. I would perhaps describe the night that was to follow as one of the top 20 worst nights of my life. The funniest part? The remaining 19 of these nights have all occurred within the last 10 weeks of my life.
To be continued…