My life has felt like it’s been spiraling out of control lately. One day I feel absolutely fine and I’m able to get out with my kids, while on others I can’t care for myself. There’s never a happy medium. It’s either one extreme or the other.
As I mentioned in my last piece, I had been hospitalized 3 times in a two month time frame.
Let’s make that four hospitalizations.
Early one Friday morning I found myself in the worst pain imaginable. My fingers looked disfigured, I had a fever, and I felt as if every one of my toes was broken when I walked. I was having yet another auto immune flare.
That morning my husband packed my hospital bag, while I waited for the doctor to return our call about what we should do. It was like we already knew he would tell us, “Come in so we can evaluate you and have you admitted.”
It’s something neither one of us wants to hear or even say out loud, but we’ve learned that it’s better if we prepare ourselves for the worst case scenario instead of pretending like there isn’t something seriously wrong.
I used to think if I packed a hospital bag I was basically giving up hope that my doctor would be able to find a quick fix and send me home. It was like if I went in thinking I might be staying, then I must want that for myself. But over the years I’ve done away with that superstition.
It’s like when someone is waiting for test results. They hope everything is great and that they have a clean bill of health, but they also prepare themselves in the event they get bad news.
No one ever wants things to go bad for themselves, no one wants to hurt, and no one wants to be sick. But when all signs point in that direction, the best way to face it is by trying to cover all your bases in the event that something goes wrong. It doesn’t mean that you’ve lost your faith or that a miracle can’t or won’t happen for you, it just means you’re being realistic.
I’ve slowly stopped telling people that I’m in the hospital because I’d get responses like, “Again? You’ve got to be kidding me!”
No one wants to hear that from people who are supposed to be there for us.
At other times they’ve questioned why I already had my hospital bag ready — as if I planned the whole thing or wanted to be admitted. Or they’d ask how I got someone to watch my girls so quickly when my husband was away — not knowing we’ve had an emergency plan in place for a year now.
Sometimes I don’t know if my physical pain hurts more than the emotional pain I’ve felt from the remarks, ignorance, lost relationships, and sheer malice that others dish out. While I hope the family and friends who’ve supported me on my very difficult road remain a part of my life for years and years to come, I’ve also come to the realization that it may change at any time.
That doesn’t reflect upon my character. I’m the same person I was before I got sick.
It’s the people around me who end up changing.
Arlene Grau lives in Lakewood, California. She suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, lupus, migraine, vasculitis, and Sjogren’s disease.
The information in this column is not intended to be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Only your doctor can do that! It is for informational purposes only and represent the author’s personal experiences and opinions alone. It does not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of National Pain Report or Microcast Media.