I mentioned in my last post that I’m going to start using a CPAP machine soon. It’s used for sleep apnea, which isn’t too uncommon, so most people know someone who has tried one, or have tried one themselves. It was just a small note that had little to do with the main point of my article, but still, I noticed that no one commented on it, even though they commented on other parts of the article. I noticed it because that’s not what’s happened with my in-person interactions lately.
I can’t criticize people for commenting on other’s lives, because I do it too. Actually, I probably do it more than most people. But there’s a big difference between commenting and pointing out the negatives. What’s even worse is that in this case, people are pointing out negatives without offering solutions. So why are they doing this?
For years now I’ve been fatigued. I’m unable to work. I barely date. I miss all sorts of social events. I feel lousy. Now we discover that I have a form of sleep apnea and a CPAP machine could help. There’s no guarantee, of course, but it might help, so why on earth wouldn’t I try it? In fact, I’m excited to try it! That’s why I’ve already mentioned it to quite a few people, and why I’m so annoyed that almost every single time, the response has been to point out potential problems with it. They tell me about a friend who was bothered by the noise, an ex-lover whose skin was irritated by the mask, an acquaintance who got tangled up in the cord. They tell me about these problems and I don’t know why. Are they suggesting that I shouldn’t even try it because one person they know had a problem with it? Are they suggesting that I continue to feel horrible and not even attempt to fix it because I might be inconvenienced?
Well let me tell you, I’m already inconvenienced. A lot. And I’m not about to let worry about some little inconvenience stop me. If that was the case, I wouldn’t have changed my diet and I’d still be feeling nauseated all day every day. If that was the case, I wouldn’t have changed my thyroid medications and found the improvement in energy levels that I have. If that was the case, I never would have done my own medical research. If that was the case, I wouldn’t have improved at all over the last 2+ years.
Today I emailed my family and friends with a health update. I do that occasionally. When I mentioned the CPAP machine, I included this:
“Note: Please do not tell me how terrible CPAP machines are. Just don’t. Almost every person I’ve mentioned this to has told me they don’t work, they’re loud, they’re ugly, they’re uncomfortable, etc. If I had a gas leak, would you tell me not to fix it because of the hassle of calling the gas company? If I had cancer, would you tell me not to get chemo because of the side effects? No? Ok, then please don’t say anything negative about this medical treatment unless you’re also telling me how to fix said problem.”
So far, I have received only positive or neutral feedback. They’ve congratulated me on taking this step. They’ve said that they hope it works. I got one story of a friend who was helped by it. So from now on, when I tell people about the CPAP machine, no matter how well I do or don’t know them, I’ll preface it with that paragraph. It may be rude, but I don’t care. Taking care of my health is the hardest thing I have ever done, or probably will ever do, and I don’t need the “help” of negative feedback from ignorant people.
Oh, and by the way, I’ll get the CPAP machine in just two short days! Yay!