Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I'm still sick. Maybe improving slightly, if having a two-hour window of fever-free lucidity this afternoon means anything in the grand scheme of things. So far I've had a couple of good days and a couple of bad days in no particular order, so I'm not sure if this is the Grand Upswing or just a brief recess.

I have been pondering my relationship with illness. I think it's improving. I believe that I'm getting better at handling the psychological challenges of being sick. I haven't let myself be consumed by frustration. I haven't played mind games on myself, trying to take control of the situation by blaming myself for getting sick, or trying to push myself back to work before I'm ready.

It helps that my workplace recently instituted remote access to our computer system. I can get a lot done from home. That's gone a long way towards reducing my frustration.

When I was a kid, being sick had two sides to it. On one side, my mother was always nice to me when I was sick. It was a guaranteed way of getting positive attention, and I was desperate for positive attention. When I was well, there was a lot of yelling around the house. But when I was sick she would tuck me under a blanket and say all the right things. I was undoubtedly rewarded for getting sick, so it's no surprise that I got a lot of tummy aches and caught a lot of colds.

When my step-dad moved in, things changed. He didn't care when I was sick. In fact, it irritated him. I remember being on vacation with my parents when I was 12. I had cramps, and, being only 12, I didn't know how to deal with them. My step-dad yelled at me that I was spoiling his holiday. He wouldn't let me lie down and rest. I had to go out and do tourist stuff with them.

Another time I was home from high school with a bad cold in the winter. I was in my pyjamas on the sofa watching TV with tissues, hot tea, and the cat (who was a diligent nurse, providing purr therapy). There was a major snowfall that day. When my step-dad got home from work he sent me outside to shovel the driveway because he didn't feel like doing it. When I said that I was sick, he laughed in my face.

As an adult, being sick has always brought up a flood of conflicting emotions based on my past. There's the whiny urge to be babied, coupled with major anxiety that people are going to be angry with me for being sick, and that they won't take me seriously. I half-consciously assume that everyone will think I'm faking. In fact, I don't even trust myself. I take my temperature constantly to prove to myself that I'm not just making it up.

But not this time. At least, not as much as usual. When I feel these bad feelings sneaking up on me, I stop and confront them. So far, successfully.


DarcsFalcon said...

Well that's progress, right? And the most important thing is to do what you can to get well.

I'll be keeping you in my prayers hon. :)

LL Cool Joe said...

I find that people around me are not very kind or understanding when I'm unwell. When I lived with my parents it seemed only my mother was allowed to be ill, and no one was ever as ill as her.

Even now my partner tells me to take some painkillers and shut up. :/

Get well soon, and keep your chin up!

Warped Mind of Ron said...

All progress is good I guess. When I'm sick my puppy generally treats me well, but doesn't really take much care of me. I mean she would make the chicken noodle soup, but she never brought it to me... :-( Hope you are feeling better soon!

Kate said...

Learning how to care for ourselves when our models were not the best is hard work. So, so hard. I'm not very good at it either.

Jenski said...

My dad yelled at me once for chewing with my mouth open, which if he noticed that once clearly meant this is something I didn't normally do. I pointed out that because I was all stuffed up, I couldn't breath through my nose?! Hope you keep getting a little better. Remote working is great if it helps you feel less anxious about getting back to work!

Sparkling Red said...

DarcsFalcon: Thanks! The prayers are working. I'm starting to feel a little better now.

LL Cool Joe: That's too bad. There's nothing like a little sympathy when you're ill to soothe the discomfort. I'm fortunate to have a spouse who gives me sympathy, although he doesn't over-baby me. That's the only way I've learned that there's another way of treating myself.

Ron: What you really need is a pet monkey. I'm not suggesting you replace Scooter, of course. Just add another pet to the household for hours of interesting fun! If a Dog And Pony Show is supposed to be entertaining, think of how much better a Dog And Monkey Show would be!

Kate: It's taken a lot of years of exposure to a good role model (my husband) to overcome the bad brainwashing of my youth. Better late than never!

Jenski: Having such a stuffy nose that you can't breathe through it at all is terrible. Being yelled at for it, even by accident, is worse! I hope your dad was suitably apologetic.

Ileana said...

I hate being sick but I remember all that positive attention I'd get from my mother and that was the best part of staying home from school. These days, with my own kids at home, it's a "luxury" to be sick and have no one expect things from you.

I hope you feel better, and I'm glad you're taking good care of yourself. In fact, I think you should pamper yourself more often. We all should (pamper OURSELVES more often, that is).