Tuesday, June 4, 2013

I Don't Even Have The Words

Sometimes I use this space to talk about pop culture. Sometimes I use it to vent on social issues.  Sometimes I talk about parenting, or my marriage. And sometimes I talk about my chronic illnesses. This is one of those times.

It's been, to say the least, a rough spring. Spring and fall are both tough times for people with autoimmune diseases. There's something about the pollen and the changeable weather that kicks everything into high gear. Just ask anybody with rheumatoid arthritis, or Crohn's Disease, or Lupus, and they will tell you that if their medications are ever less effective, or their symptoms ever more problematic, it's in the spring and in the fall. This spring has been no different, although it has been remarkable for the severity of the symptoms it seems to have induced.

Quite frankly, while I am not currently actively seeking to end my life, if I saw the proverbial truck bearing down on me, I couldn't promise to dodge out of the way.

I've been horribly depressed. Today my father turned 84. I myself turn 60 in another month, and I find myself absolutely horrified by the prospect of living as long as he has. The idea of living another 24 years brings me to tears. Yes, most days I want to see my daughter marry and meet her children. But I can't imagine why they would ever, ever want to meet me. I try to keep busy and keep a sense of humor about things.  I try to live in acceptance of my circumstances, which I continually remind myself are nowhere near as bad as those circumstances of others. Of people like Stephen Hawking, for example, who I admire more than I can say for sticking with life when all he has is what is in his head. In no way has my body betrayed me the way his has betrayed him.

And yet. And yet. I was first diagnosed with the first of my illnesses, Crohn's, when I was 13. That was 46 years ago. In all that time I have never eaten a single meal without subsequent pain. Never. Not once. Not in college, not while in love, not on my honeymoon. I have only the vaguest memories of childhood days that were pain-free, because even before I was sick, I was growing up in a physically abusive home. Since my initial diagnosis, several things, from major things like rheumatoid arthritis to minor things like hallux rigidus have been added to the mix, and the end result of it all is that I have not had a day without pain since 1967. To put it into perspective, that's two years before Neal Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon.

So I guess that by now you've deduced that today has been an extra-bad day. I'm not going to go upstairs and take my entire bottle of pain medication, but I'm also not going to say that the thought never crossed my mind. The wind or the weather or whatever it is that's making today more of a nightmare than usual will change, and things will settle down, and I will soldier on. The folks in line at the grocery store will, as usual, have no idea what's going on with me, and strangers will ask me to reach things off the top shelf for them because of my 6-foot-plus frame with no idea of how much it hurts me. And I will come home and gimp in with my bags one at a time, and I will soldier on. Somehow.

I will soldier on. But it's nice to have a place, this place, where I can spill my secrets because hardly anybody reads them, and those that do won't embarrass me with sympathy or virtual hugs. Sometimes I just need to bitch at the sky, even though there's Nobody really there to hear. It keeps me somewhat sane, and, I think, keeps me a little human. And it'll get me to tomorrow.

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