Yesterday, uncaffeinated, I stumbled to my appointment for a breath test to find out if I have a bacterial infection in my stomach. I was not looking forward to it. At all. My stomach has been misbehaving for months, and anytime you take away my morning coffee, well, it’s just not a good idea. Let’s just leave it at that. But, and here is the gratitude, and silver lining, and stomach lining, if you will–I met these really nice women, who were all having similar problems, and as we sat in a little room together, taking our test, which was to drink a syrupy sweet bottle of thick sugary mucous in under five minutes, (which I was able to do, because compared to the colonoscopy cocktail, this was downright delish) and blow into a bag, and have our breath recorded by a nurse every 15 minutes (YES, THAT HAPPENED), we started to talk. And suddenly we were having an all out symposium on stomach ailments. We talked colons, and colonoscopies, endoscopies, and IBS, and leaky gut, and different ridiculous diets our doctors had suggested, and of course the runs, lots and lots about the runs. And nobody was freaked out, or didn’t understand, because we were all aware of the shit (see what I did there) that can happen to one’s stomach, and how really confusing it can be to figure out. So, like even though I didn’t have my coffee, and was dreading this test, these great women made two hours fly by. And even though I came home and felt really exhausted, LIKE I HAD NOT SLEPT IN 127 YEARS, with a headache, I was really grateful to have met these women, and to have felt understood for a couple hours, and to even have had some laughs. There’s nothing like a little company when you have misery. Not to mention a big cup of coffee.