It’s not always easy to live with chronic illness. I know that sounds like a blindingly obvious statement, but actually there’s a lot of pressure to be positive, accepting, calm yet still fun, both from other people and ourselves. It’s fucking exhausting and if grades were being awarded for handling chronic illness well my entire family would currently get a big fat U.
Yesterday I had a total meltdown. The lergie is still lingering and I feel like death. I’ve lost 6lbs in ten days because I can’t eat, I’m still coughing my head off, I’m still not sleeping, and ghosts have more colour than I do. Add to this my period and the horrendous stress from my Camera Club and I am barely functioning. Despite that, I’d agreed ages ago to take an elderly friend to the city for a hospital appointment. He has no family of his own locally, his wife died 2 years ago, he has prostate cancer, is in heart failure, is diabetic, has had 2 serious spinal surgeries and can barely walk due to neuropathy in his legs. He is also abjectly lonely, so not only did he want to go for his appointment he wanted to go for lunch first, making the day 2 hours longer than it needed to be. But I feel sorry for him, so we went. I was gone for 5 hours altogether and felt so ill when I got back to my parents to pick the dog up I burst into tears the second I walked through the door. It all just felt too much. The injustice of how I’m being treated at my Club, my illness, getting a virus on top of everything else, my periods never ending and having the responsibility of my two sick parents, not to mention my sick friend, is too much for any chronically ill person and I honestly felt like my mind was going to snap.
Luckily, and for once, my Mum wasn’t drunk and she came and hugged me. I think it’s the first time she’s hugged me like that in about 6 years and it felt nice. My Dad was also lovely, though embarrassed and didn’t know what to do 😉 I felt better for having a good bawl though am still weepy today.
This afternoon I had to pick Bertie’s gabapentin medication up from the vets, so as I was already in town I called in at my parents’. It was clear from the outset they were both having a bad day. My Dad has been irritable all week, which is really unlike him as he’s usually so happy go lucky. My Mum is quite often tetchy but today she was obviously on the edge and between the two of them you could cut the atmosphere with a knife. I honestly thought I would have a nervous breakdown if they bickered just one more time.
I eventually got home, had a nice bath and managed to drink half a cup-a-soup without wanting to puke, which is my biggest food-related achievement of the week so far. Feeling slightly stronger, I rang my Mum and asked why things were so strained. She admitted she’s just sick and tired of being sick and tired, and I totally get that. Boy, do I get that. My Dad is grumpy and particularly confused, and Mum just can’t cope with it when she’s also feeling down and frustrated. The pair of them are just really struggling with being ill and all the confines and pressures that brings with it.
I told her not to be so hard on herself. We’re not super human and it’s normal to feel fed up and to get narky sometimes. It’s the unfairness of chronic illness which seems to get to all of us. My Mum has worked like a dog her whole life; my Dad is a lovely person who would do anything for anyone; and I hope I’m a kind, loving and giving citizen, and yet all this crap has befallen us.
Society often talks about karma and we’re brought up with the implication that if you’re a good person good things will happen to you. It’s bollocks. Bad things happen to good people all the time. In fact, I’m convinced that the nicer you are the more shit tends to head your way – maybe there’s some law of fecal attraction or something. There is not an ounce of fairness in the world – you could wander the sewers offering food to starving rats and the bastards would bite you the second they were strong enough. Being a good and kind person takes work and I’m not sure the rewards are worth it. Maybe in my old age I’ll become a law breaking, drug injecting, gin guzzling don’t-give-a-crap-bitch, then with a bit of luck I’ll win the lotto and find Mr Right. I’ll need to go get a ‘Be a bitch for dummies’ book off Amazon though, cos having been a good and kind person my whole life I wouldn’t know where to start 😉