I was out someplace. Someplace where I sorta-did/sorta-didn’t, know most of the other folk there. Everyone’s doing their own thing at Someplace.
I remember the state I felt I was in. I remember I’d dragged myself, with every ounce of I-Think-I-Can, to Someplace, that day.
I had been *regular person* sick for a couple of months (3 flues and a chest infection), but I’d also been behind the *regular person* scenes sick, for a bit longer now (blowing my stomach ulcer open which lead to vomiting multiple cups of straight up blood and my body deciding to not keep food down, a mast cell flare up which saw me covered in rashes and my body just generally reacting to everything, and, finally, some weird anomalies turning up in my lungs, intestines and brain.) I was fucked.
I was so done.
I’d reached I-don’t-give-a-shit-creek, my life raft was dodgy as fuck and letting in shit like there was no yesterday, and I was now unashamedly allowing myself to be taken by it.
I had surrendered to Shit Creek.
So back to Someplace and that day. As soon as I got to the door one of the sorta-know-hers took one look at me and said, with eyes a’widening: “Oh my god, are you sick again?”
I replied: “Not sick again, just still sick.”
She looked, understandably, like she hadn’t ever seen or heard anything like it.
She couldn’t wrap her head around how I could be hit with illness after illness? How a human could look so awful, without there being a reasonable explanation and/or a fix for this horror show she was watching.
As I lay, folded up trying to ignore my aching body, and clutching my soul, I watched her doing her pull-ups and realised that we weren’t just different — we were polar opposites.
Her idea of what ‘sore’ feels like, her experience getting medical help, her ability to remain fit and (most of the time) illness-free, her ability to just keep getting as strong and fit as she desires with so many less roadblocks than me — and the radically different way society would judge the two of us on exactly the same topics … like fitness or our body sizes and my being overweight; on the days when I am not in the wheelchair, I would definitely be seen as overweight due to just not putting the effort in. Ah, jeez, the irony of that notion! That’ll fill another several blog messages.
Anyway, as I pondered all that, she lowered from one of her pull-ups, turned to me, and asked:
“AND YOU’VE SEEN THE DOCTOR?”
By this point that question just makes me laugh.
It shouldn’t make me laugh. But my life’s experience has taught me that there’s laugh or fall into a deep dark depression.
And somehow my choice is mostly to laugh.
I nodded and mumbled a ‘Yeah, yeah.’ And then I saw it. That look on someones face when they can no longer even digest anything you say about your health. I saw it on her face.
So I quickly said:
“It really doesn’t matter.“
I said this as a really fast reflex … to stop the swirling of going-nowhere thoughts that I could see were running round her mind.
And it worked.
She shrugged sympathetically, but then I could see her face relax and she got on with her business at Someplace.
Later that evening I had a moment of physical reprieve, which allowed a very clear thought to occur to me, and that thought was…
IT REALLY SHOULD MATTER!
Why on earth was I thinking or saying that it doesn’t matter?
Negatively, it showed me how much the medical community has mentally, battered and bruised me, during my lifetime thus far.
Positively, it showed me how much the medical community has mentally battered and bruised me during my lifetime thus far AND how angry I am at that AND that I am determined to see this changed.
People think/talk all the time about what imprint they want to leave on the Earth.
Well I hope to leave the Earth a place where people with invisible chronic illnesses NEVER EVER say ‘It doesn’t really matter.’ Where they never BELIEVE It/They don’t really matter, because they absolutely do.
We all do.