People who know me know that I’ve spent much of 2012 in and out of hospitals. In fact, I was back at one just yesterday.
(Yes, this is a serious post. I don’t want to write it, but I feel like I have to. Feel free to close this tab — I won’t think less of you if you do.)
Being sick is hard, weird, and stupid. It is also potentially enlightening, but I submit that good bit comes after a lot of struggle, after a lot of desperate hours.
Being sick, and knowing that the only people that understand are other sick people, is an awfully lonely thing. I don’t know what to do about it most days, but I know I want to communicate the experience without resorting to the kind of language that would suggest I’m asking for anyone’s pity. Anyone who knows me knows that’s the last thing I would ever want. I suppose I just want people to know that if I come across as rough, or gruff, or less-than-great, or whatever, it’s got nothing to do with you. If my work comes in a bit late, or if I’m unable to be found for a few days, or if I can’t concentrate on a task or a conversation, or if I forget things sometimes, it doesn’t have anything to do with you. I love you; you’re great. That other stuff has to do with being sick.
Everyone, at some point in their life, has talked about the difference between living and merely existing. The difference, as I understand it, is that one is about maximizing each day, each breath, the power of each moment — while the other is merely breathing in and out, going through the motions, not really investing oneself into anything.
The experience of being ill is a pretty lonely road. Because only you really know what you’re going through, only you can effectively deal with it. The nicer people in your life will offer to help, and occasionally you will let them — whether they can actually help or not. But at the end of the day, being sick something that makes life into a pretty solitary thing.
I’ve never really written about this so excuse me if I can’t/won’t delve into too much detail. I guess I just know that no one likes hearing about people going through health problems. In fact, there’s a great line in Microserfs about that. Dan tells Ethan that talking about health problems is like talking about salaries — it’s just something that’s not done. I think, since I read that book for the first time in 1996, it’s stuck with me. It’s not that I can’t talk about my health situation — it’s that I won’t talk about it. I feel like I’d be violating some rule.
To the people that I know that care and worry: I get stronger every day, and the hospital visits will be fewer and further between going forward. I can’t say that I’m healthy, or that I’ll ever be 100% healthy, but please know that I try really, really hard and for all the comments I receive about my attitude, I really do hope for the best. It’s just that sometimes you can’t fight your body. Sometimes you have to lay there and let it kill you a little bit at a time.
I wish this post were happier, but such is life. But hey, it’s not that bad — the sun is shining, TIFF is starting, Riot Fest is this weekend (Descendents whaaaaat?!), and POP Montréal is next weekend. Let’s go live and have fun, yeah?
This is the sixth post in my #30posts challenge. Don’t know what that is? Read this.