Raising the bar on thoughtfulness

January 31, 2012

With all the shit forced on us all from CIs, sometimes a little thoughtfulness can go a really long way.

A close friend of mine had a baby about a week ago.  Leading up to the birth, I was so excited that she joked that her mother was the only person more excited than I was.  It was an exciting birth, but everything went smoothly and they’re all happy, healthy, and at home.

Unfortunately, the timing wasn’t great for me to visit – I had family flying in from all over the country just a few days after the birth, all coming to attend a bit family event this past weekend, so I had to delay my visit.  Finally, the day was approaching.  She lives two hours away.  Normally I visit for a few days at a time, but when her first child was born, I drove out for just a few hours, then drove home.  That was a very long day.  It was a Saturday, and I rested the next day and then went to work on Monday.  It was exhausting.  I did the same with her second child.

This time around I’m not working, but since I’m not feeling well, it will probably be more exhausting than the other visits.  Still, I can’t wait to meet the little guy!

Then yesterday my friend called – the older kids have colds.  The colds aren’t bad, but she wanted to warn me.  How thoughtful is that?!?  She’s juggling two little kids and a newborn infant, and she’s worried about my crappy immune system.  She’s just so sweet.

We’ve been friends for ages, since back when my only symptom was pain (ah, the good ole days), and so she understands better than most what I deal with, even though I hide a lot from the world (not just from her.)  And she knows that it’s not just about me being in a germy house – with little kids around, the germs spread more, and there’s no way I’ll visit without hugging the kids and playing with them.

It’s an easy solution – we’re just putting off the visit for a few days, to make sure everyone is healthy (oh, the torture of having to wait to see the little baby!)  But I know too many people who don’t think that way.  I see people shake hands when they have colds, cough into hands and then touch doorknobs, and generally be inconsiderate to the world around them.

How lucky am I to have a friend who is this thoughtful?  We all need to have someone in our lives like this.  She’s certainly set the bar pretty high for everyone else…..

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If you think it’s so easy, then *you* try it!

January 30, 2012

What is it with people saying that what I have to do really isn’t so bad?  Unless you’ve gone through it yourself, you just don’t get to say that.

The latest is that I think I need to try a gluten-free diet.  I’ve been putting this off, but from what I’ve researched, it’s worth a try.  Nothing else is working, after all.  I figure I’ll live it up for a couple more weeks, until I see my PCP for a checkup, and then I’ll talk to her about getting a referral for a nutritionist, because I sure as hell am not doing this myself.

I was telling all of this to a friend, and she said that getting a nutritionist is good, but that really, going gluten-free isn’t all that hard.  Now, we’ve been friends for ages and I love her, and I know she can be a bit know-it-all, but that’s just who she is and I accept it.  But today was annoying.  Going gluten-free is a big, big deal for me.  I have such a restricted diet already, and this will make it harder.  Cooking at home will be a pain in the ass.  Even worse, going out to eat will be horrible.  Yes, there are dishes at restaurants that appear to not have gluten-containing ingredients, but if they aren’t marked “gluten free” then they could be contaminated.  She didn’t get it.  And what about eating at other people’s homes?  When I go to a party, I can avoid the bowl of chips, and I can ignore the cheese and crackers, but what about main dishes?  Will I have to eat at home before every party?  Ok, I do that now from time to time, just in case, but to always do it?

Now, I know there are plenty of people on gluten-free diets.  I know they are successful at them.  I am not saying that it can’t be done.  I’m just saying that, especially at the beginning, it will be very difficult, and I resent being told that it won’t be by someone who’s never done it.

It’s like when someone tells you how to compensate for not being able to do stairs, even though they’ve never been in that position.  You can’t say it’s not hard unless you’ve done it yourself, and even then you can’t assume that your experience applies to everyone else.  We’re all different.

So I’m being patient, because I love my friend and I know that she only means well.  She’s trying to help.  But damn, it can get annoying to hear that kind of stuff.

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The blue moon effect

January 26, 2012

I try not to swear too much on here, but this week is so crazy!  What the fuck is going on this week?!?

Where to begin?  A friend just had a root canal.  A relative is having oral surgery that’s even worse than a root canal.  A friend’s kitten is dying.  A relative of a relative passed away.  A friend had a miscarriage.  A friend had a baby.  A friend got laid off.  A friend got married.  And that’s not to mention my own medication side effects and, even worse, my grandmother’s sudden trip to the hospital (she’s ok now, but she almost didn’t make it.)

So I’m thinking it’s something like a full moon, or maybe a blue moon, and an eclipse, and the stars all lining up in some weird way…. I don’t know.  It’s just too strange, though.  How is it that so many of the major people in my life are having major life events this week?

Now here’s the strangest part of all.  This is the CI-related part.  This is the part that I can’t get used to.


Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled that everyone cares.  But when a friend calls up, as she did about 45 minutes ago, and says in a pain-filled and drug-filled voice that she just had a root canal, but then keeps asking how I’m feeling, something must be wrong.  When my mother calls me after a night of crying at her mother’s hospital bedside and asks how I’m feeling, something must be wrong.  And when a friend calls up to tell me that she had a baby about 16 hours ago, and wants to know how I’m feeling, something must be wrong.

So now I have to wonder, does their own stress cause them to think more about me, or have I declined in some way that I’m not seeing, and it concerns them?  I appreciate their concern, but these are events that should have me focused on them, not the other way around.

How can I get them to stop worrying about me?  Maybe it’s not possible.  But I’m going to try, because I’ll be damned if my ongoing health issues are the center of attention all the time.  Sometimes, yes.  All the time, not a chance.  This is a time to focus on my friends and family.  Screw the blue moon eclipse thingy.

But I’m starting to wonder… what news will the next phone call bring?


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Adding insult to injury

January 25, 2012

My family has always been close.  Sure, there’s the occasional outlier, but generally we’re all there for each other.  We take care of each other.  And that’s what made yesterday and today so difficult.

In the middle of the night Monday, my grandmother was taken to the hospital.  She lives near me in the Boston area, and so do two of her children, my mother and an aunt.  My mother and my aunt took care of my grandparents yesterday, staying with my grandmother and taking my grandfather home to get some rest, then back to the hospital for another visit.  No one had gotten much sleep the night before.  My aunt slept at my grandparents’ apartment yesterday so that my grandfather wouldn’t be alone.  My  mother “slept” (but really didn’t get any sleep) on a cot in my grandmother’s hospital room.  I stayed home.

I want to be there, to spend time with them, to help, but I can’t simply because my immune system sucks.  There are too many germs in the hospital.  Norovirus is going around, and they have a case of pneumonia there too.  Even my sick grandmother told me it wasn’t safe for me at the hospital!  I wanted to argue, but the truth is, they’re right!

It’s bad enough when I can’t take care of someone because I don’t feel up to it, but this time I actually felt ok and I still couldn’t help.  I’m pissed off!  It sucks when I feel lousy, but then it has to intrude on my ability to help others?  That’s just so wrong!  I’m glad there is other family around to help out in times like these, but I should have been able to help too.  I’m lousy at handling my limitations.  I know that.  But this is just going too far.

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