Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Lonely Patient

During the meeting I was at, I started reading the book The Lonely Patient. The author is a doctor and he talks, sort of philosophically, about what happens when a person becomes sick or experiences pain. He talks about the isolation of the person and how deeply impacted they are by the way in which their body is experiencing illness.

It's hard to ignore your body when you are sick. I was reading one of the body acceptance blogs last week and came upon a comment about how we don't use our bodies and that they had become useless to many. It made me so angry. When we are well, we take for granted how our body moves us. We can do mundane things without much effort, like bathing and dressing or cleaning or cooking. We can go to the grocery store and not become exhausted. We can, in short, take our body for granted.

But these little things are a lot. I help people get help for the things that they are not able to do, at work. I sign them up for In Home Supportive Services or give them resources to pay for their own help. I have in the past been dismissive of some patients, thinking they don't need the help, they look just fine. But my experience over the past month and a half has laid that myth to rest.

My body failed to be able to do many of the things that I wished it would. It had no energy and what little it had it was directing inward. Now my energy is coming back in bits and pieces, but I have a new challenge - pain. It started as aches in my joints, and last night, the pain in my hands was bad. I tried to figure out a way to rest the arm to ease the pain, but it went on. Even now, typing this, I know that this will cause me pain later, likely, as I can feel the joints struggling when before they were fluid.

I look fine. With my energy coming back, I even look more my normal self. But simple acts of typing and writing and picking up anything that weighs more than a pound make me wince. All the ways that a body can break down seem to be sneaking up on me.

I know that there are support groups. I know that I could find connection in this pain, but I don't really want to. I just want soothing. I want to find a fix for this and make it stop.

Nothing more to say, really. I'm off to Reno for a long weekend starting tomorrow. You won't hear from me again until I return.

P.S. Despite the above posting...I really am in a good mood. After all, I have a 5 day weekend!


Aravis said...

I've had the problem of appearing fine when I'm physically not, especially with my bad wrist. I find myself thinking "I'm not lazy, I just can't lift that/move that/rake that" etc. at people who look at me funny for not doing something. It's so frustrating, isn't it?

Hyde said...

I'm sorry you have to go through that right now! But I admire how you are still going with your life and are moving and doing and not isolating... :)