So I’ve been in the hospital for 4 days having an adrenal crisis after a recent diagnosis of Addison’s disease. It’s been hell to say the least being stuck in a tiny room while my son is home sick and my daughter experiences her most stressful week before her big show and my husband tries to juggle it all. So as per usual I take to writing to get my feeling out. I call the below “Hospital”
As the year is winding down and I contemplate all that happened in 2015 and all that is to come in 2016 I came to the complete and obvious realization that I have been stuck in a rut. And not just an “my disease has progressed” rut. More of an ” I have given up” rut.
As I sit on my couch watching yet another Netflix marathon with my ass molding into the couch that I seem to be glued to now a days I can’t help but feel utterly pathetic. I think to myself I need to at least try and accomplish something today in the house or get outside but I just can’t seem to get the energy to do so. Sure, part of my lack of energy I can attribute to the fact that my joint pain has increased lately. My kidney pain is what it always is and my overall condition is doing what I expected it to be doing at this age. Things are taking their course as I knew they would… but what the problem really is, is my attitude. My drive to fight. To do, well, anything. I sit and think about where my energy has gone, and why I have put on these 6 pounds that I can’t get off, I mean nothing has changed right?
Today was not a good day. Well, it was a fine day actually. It’s sunny outside and warm and summer is here which makes it a pretty beautiful day, but I woke up this morning knowing it would be a bit of a struggle. The last few days I haven’t been on my game. I have been exhausted..not feeling up to doing much, not focused, stomach issues making me drag and kidney pain a little worse than average. I woke up this morning with swelling so bad I could barely bend my fingers. I put on 4 pounds in 24 hours just from swelling. Possible from poor diet choices as well, I mean let’s face it when we don’t feel great, our “go to” can often be the unhealthy foods we aren’t supposed to be eating. Who can resist comfort foods in a time when we aren’t feeling comfortable after all. For me, sign me up anytime for chips and queso, pasta and ice cream. It’s all I need to get by, forever.
In the world of doctors and patients trust is a key component when it comes to diagnosis, treatment, and overall care. However, trust is a two way street. The doctor must trust the patient and the patient needs to trust the doctor. This is a relationship that can take time to form and develop, but what happens when you are working with a medical system that trains it’s doctors to never trust their patients? That is the system we are working in and it has created a monster of a medical industry filled with millions of un happy, mistreated patients, mis diagnosed patients, and doctors who believe they know all and are god’s gift to the world. We have entered an era of medical practice where the patient is no longer valued as a human being, but as a liar seeking attention, or someone who has something to hide, basically an individual that does not really need medical attention unless they present symptoms of death, and even then they probably would doubt the patient!
I ask myself this question far too frequently. Maybe it’s because when I first started having symptoms 10-15 years ago I was usually told it was all in my head. That was not all I was told… I would have people tell me I was acting sick to get attention too! Because.. That’s logical… Apparently people think that sick folk just want to lie around in bed all day. Does that really sound appealing to anyone? After about 24 hour you start getting antsy and need to get out of the house before you feel like you might actually go stir crazy! Trust me on this. But it wasn’t just the general population. It is also the doctors. Why do you think we need to have second or third opinions just to get a proper diagnosis? Doctors just don’t believe it if they cannot see it. Unfortunately often times when I get a new symptom (even with the doctors knowledge of my genetic diseases) they doubt it. If it doesn’t sound like a big deal to them they shrug it off or attribute it to medications or stress and the like. More often than not these symptoms become much more than anyone originally thought. I don’t think anyone really understands how insanely frustrating this is. To be second guessed at every appointment. Especially if you’re a woman, seeing a male doctor ( look for future blog post on this subject!). Females are often highly regarded as emotionally unstable, illogical, overly dramatic, no pain tolerance, etc. This constant treatment of doubt and questionability not only makes a spoonies life more exhausting and stressful than it already is but it can also hurt our chances of a timely diagnosis.
For many of us, our chronic illness has redirected our lives. Things that we dreamt of doing no longer seem possible. Day to day activities take more out of us. We refer to ourselves as “spoonies”. For those that have not seen this term before or wonder why we alway post this term, it is based on what we know as the spoon theory.
One of the most exciting experiences of being chronically ill and having to see the doctor all the time is making appointments! Are you getting the sarcastic tone? I dream of getting to sit on the phone on hold frequently while the doctors’ staff or their nurses tell me he/she will be unavailable for weeks..maybe months! It never made sense to me when first dealing with my diseases why I could never get an appointment in the actual week or days I needed the appointments to be! Why could I not see the doctor when I was not feeling well or when I was presenting with the symptoms that could help the doctor diagnose me. Instead, I would have to wait, which would result in an un eventful doctors appointment that entailed me doing my best to explain what I was going through while the doctor would look at me puzzled and state “well, I’m not sure what you were experiencing but since the symptom is no longer occurring let’s just wait and see if it comes back, then call me.”. “FREAKIN GREAT!” I would think to myself. In many cases, said symptom would return, and I would immediately call the doctor to be told “He’s not available until next week at the earliest” or “he’s away at a conference” or “She’s on vacation”. Sigh… “Why can’t I ever get in when I’m actually sick?!” So frustrating right?
When I first came up with this title and subject matter all I could think of was “Bills bills bills” by Destinys Child (flash back to high school). Then I decided to replace some lyrics from the song and have been singing around the house “you can take your pills, can take your little blue pills, can take your giant horse pills and then maybe we can chill”. Cheesy I know, but I love making songs out of everything. My mom used to harass me as a kid about my school work and tell me “if you studied everything as much as you memorize your songs you would have straight As!” But back to pills! Medication is always a fun subject but one that’s extremely important to bring up for anyone really, not just those that have chronic illness.
I am often asked how I manage being a parent while being in pain or sick etc. I am asked if I would have known about my illness before being pregnant would I have decided to not be a parent? I am doubted by many on what I am able to handle with my disease and often held back from doing the things I want to do or accomplish in life because of the doubters. My response is often that you only live once. Being sick should not hold you back from the things you truly want in life or the things in life that will make you happy. Happiness is hard to come by, often, when you are in pain and ill. So we should cherish the moments of happiness every chance we get. Continue reading
A lot of what you deal with, with chronic illness is all centered around how to maintain a normal life whilst being sick at the same time. Many of my posts highlight what we have to do to portray this normal life to family, friends and others around us. Actually keeping up with this life is a balancing act on a very thin line. So how do we do it? What do we sacrifice? Is a balance even possible?