Lyda here. This started as a side note in another post, and grew and grew – as these things sometimes do – until it became it’s own post. Sometimes these things get away from me.
- Sam: So how’s your life?
- Karen: Oh, great. How’s yours?
- Sam: Not so great.
- Karen: Oh, we’re telling the truth.
- from The Big Chill
I have a chronic illness. Please don’t ask me about it, or about my health. Odds are, I won’t tell you, and if I do, odds are we’ll both be sorry.
I try not to think too much about it, as there isn’t much to be done that I’m not already doing. I certainly try not to talk about it. I find it boring, so it’s got to be deathly dull to others.
I finally stopped telling people what it is, because I find it exhausting. Either people have never heard of it and want me to explain it to them – as if I am a medical version of the Hitchhiker’s Guide* – or they know all about it and they know exactly how I am mishandling it.
The second category tells me that their sister’s podiatrist’s cousin’s neighbor has the same thing, and they are:
- handling it so much better than I am through diet/exercise/medication/prayer/painting themselves blue and lying in the middle of the road – and I’m stupid if I don’t immediately do it too,
or else the person is:
- suffering so much more than I am and doing it so nobly that it is an inspiration to everyone on the planet. Unlike me. I’m such a slacker.
To which my response is:
This is not a competition.
We are all just doing the best that we can with whatever we each have to deal with. I like to believe that we are doing it with as much grace and humor as we can muster on any given day. I’d like to think that we are helping each other along the way with humor and tact, and always with the understanding that each of us is on our own journey.
So I prefer to keep the health part of my journey private. I’d rather talk about other things.
Books. TV. Cats. Zombies.
Seen any good movies lately?
* “In many of the more relaxed civilizations on the Outer Eastern Rim of the Galaxy, the Hitchhiker’s Guide has already supplanted the great Encyclopaedia Galactica as the standard repository of all knowledge and wisdom, for though it has many omissions and contains much that is apocryphal, or at least wildly inaccurate, it scores over the older, more pedestrian work in two important respects. First, it is slightly cheaper; and secondly it has the words DON’T PANIC inscribed in large friendly letters on its cover.” - Douglas Adams