When someone says to me, “you look good today,” I’ve decided to simply take that as a compliment. The cynical alternative would be to question the intent of the person and wonder if he or she is thinking one of the phrases in the poster above. Is he or she wondering if I am really sick if I am able fix my hair and wear make-up one day in the past week? No one sees me when I don’t feel well because I don’t leave the house! Oh well. As a friend of mine named Carol used to say, “it’s better to just leave it alone.”
When someone asks me if I’m back to work yet, I’ve decided to say that, “getting well is my full time job these days.” If the person probes further, I’ve decided to disclose that I spend 16 to 18 hours every day in health-related activities and appointments. That usually brings silence so I quickly change the subject to his or her job or other primary role in life. My husband advises me that people like to talk about themselves and usually have a great time with you if you ask a lot of questions about them. I do enjoy getting to know others so his approach works well.
When someone asks me how I am feeling, I’ve learned that a quirky response such as, “below average,” “stable,” “not as well as I’d like to,” or “I’m having a better moment” works well. I rarely feel well (or if I feel better at the moment it is likely to change within the hour!) so it’s tough to give the truth: a negative litany of symptoms that has gone on for 1 1/2 years! This crap-ola-ski is likely to continue for awhile so I’m going to pace my answers. (I told you I’m Polish right?!) I appreciate the question, acknowledge it and turn my attention to the other person. It’s pretty clear when a person cares for more information and sweet when this happens.
When I do get to share a little more of my story, I try to end it with gratitude. There is always something for which I can be grateful, for which we all can be grateful. Today was a day that stunk until about 1:35 p.m. The noxious symptoms persisted without a logical reason even after a post-treatment nap plus an additional rest period. In the afternoon I moved slowly into extensive amounts of cooking my special diet and cleaning up this or that. The sweats episodes did not diminish until later in the evening. I am however grateful for two cool things that happened today: 1) crafting an amazing baked lamb cabbage roll casserole (gluten/sugar/dairy/chemical free as well!) and 2) completing the netting and support structure for the blackberry raised bed to keep out the birdie scavengers. Cool beans. Steve and I had a sweet evening together later after finishing our respective projects today. Thank you Jesus! Lord willing, I will worship His holy name tomorrow at church . . .
Recovery from a long-term illness thang isn’t for wimps you know! Most people give up, settle for less, walk away from their faith in anything or anyone, become bitter and isolated, or worse. I choose to trust that this journey will not be wasted, that the Lord will use it for His glory if I keep Him out front, and I exercise some care in my speech and behavior. Rejoice if you see me out working in my garden! I’m probably sweating bullets, nauseated, dehydrated, and weak but getting out into the world anyways. We all know what it is like to have to carry on with life when we simply don’t feel well, don’t feel like carrying on with life. I just get it more often! Eeek.
Ahhhh. That’s better. Happy Spring y’all.