July 24, 2011
I had an interesting conversation yesterday with a man who is frustrated by his daughter’s attitude. She is in her late 20s, and he feels she should be getting a better handle on her health problems as she gets older. He equated it to his age-related health issues. At 60, he has aches and pains that he didn’t have in his youth, and he handles them. He feels that his daughter should handle hers, too.
I explained that having predictable aches and pains at 60 is very different than having more severe problems at a younger age. In addition to feeling worse now, she knows that she will likely be doing much worse at 60 than he is. Her future is uncertain, and the bit of certainty she does have isn’t very promising. Even illnesses that are unrelated to her CI (which he referred to) can be troubling. They remind her of her weaknesses, and her CI may make things worse.
I wish I’d had more time, so I could remind him that when someone receives a diagnosis of a chronic illness, they go through the 5 stages of grief as they grieve for the loss of their health, the loss of their own idea of their future. I would have reminded him that even though he wants his daughter to reach acceptance, and she will, that it takes time. Even when someone does reach acceptance, they can slide back into one of the previous stages at any time. I like to think that I spend most of my time in acceptance mode, but I certainly slide back into anger and depression from time to time. It happens to the best of us. He needs to be patient.
Now, having said and thought all of this, I need to say that he’s a wonderful, supportive father. His wife is a wonderful, supportive mother. I have known them for years, and I know that they have done so much for their daughter. His frustration is natural, especially since his daughter can be quite moody. She takes out her own frustration on her parents quite a bit. She needs to work on that. Hopefully one day, with time, maturity, and wisdom, she will reach that point. Until then, I hope they can continue to be patient.
July 24, 2011
Like so many, my department is split between two floors. The office building has an elevator, of course, but most people just run up and down the stairs between meetings. Of course, not all of us can so easily handle a flight of stairs. I’m still in between on that – some days I can, some days I can’t.
The other day, a coworker and I were headed to a meeting upstairs. We walked out the main door, into the hallway, my coworker in the lead. As she reached the stairs, she turned back and asked if I could take the stairs, or if I’d prefer the elevator. I was amazed. Sure, I’ve worked there for a while, but people forget all the time. This simple gesture of thoughtfulness meant so much. She actually took a moment to think about the fact that I might not be able to walk up those stairs, and was going to adjust her pattern to meet my needs. I truly believe that if everyone could do that from time to time, the world would be a better, happier place. Until then, let’s at least thank the thoughtful people who go out of their way to think of us in large and small ways.
July 22, 2011
So I’m sitting on the T (our subway system over here), reading a book, ignoring my surroundings. The woman next to me notices the braces on my knees and asks about them. In hindsight, I should have pretended I didn’t speak English. Stupidly, I gave her a vague answer and went back to my book. She asked another question. I gave another vague answer, then went back to my book. She offered advice (“Have you tried magnetic therapy?”) and didn’t seem to get that my health issues were really none of her business.
Why is that that people assume that if they can see your problem, then they should get to talk about it, offer advice on it, comment on it? Really, just because you can see I have something that you don’t, it doesn’t mean I want to talk to you, a complete stranger. While we’re at it, maybe I should ask you about your worst childhood experience, or your sex life. Oh, is that too private? Gee, what a shame.
And on a side note, a very pregnant woman got onto the standing-room-only train at around this time. I wanted to give her my seat, but I just couldn’t handle standing up. The nosy woman next to me never offered her seat. Luckily, someone else did. It’s nice to see there are still some considerate people.
July 21, 2011
Once again, someone said how lucky I am to be able to park in handicapped parking spaces. Really? You really think I wouldn’t rather have the ability to walk painlessly across the parking lot or down the street? Whatever this is, it definitely isn’t luck.