Chronic illness has changed my life in many ways, there is no doubt about that. Most of the changes were fairly obvious, but recently I noticed a few changes I made without even knowing. Some of these changes are funny, some of them are not, but as usual I try to look at all of them from the comedic point of view. Because it’s either laugh or cry and today I choose to laugh.
Having pep talks with my body
I found myself saying this to my body this afternoon:
“Alright body, I just need you to hang in there a little longer. I know you’re not happy with me for all the things you did yesterday, but I need you to cooperate for 2 more hours. After that I promise you can crash. Yes I know I promised that yesterday, but things changed and I really need you to hang in there. You will get lots of rest the next few days, I promise. And this time I’m not lying.”
It took me a moment to even realize I was doing it, and it took me another moment to realize that this was a weird thing to be doing. It took me yet another moment to realize that I do this all the time.
Calculating my calendar like it’s Trigonometry
This is roughly how my thought process goes when I’m trying to schedule my life:
If I do thing # 1 for 3 hours + thing #2 for 1 hour today, then tomorrow I have 1 hour to do thing #3
And if I have to do thing #4 for 4 hours on Thursday, then I can’t do thing #5 on Friday
But, if I do thing #4 for 2 hours on Thursday then maybe I can do thing #5 1 hour on Friday
But next week I have thing #6 that should last 5 hours and I really have to go to that, so I’m going to have to cancel thing #4.
But my prescription ran out so that means I have to cancel Friday and maybe Thursday because my doctor won’t answer the phone
If my doctor still won’t answer the phone before next week I’m going to have to cancel thing #6,7, and 8. But wait I have to do #8 so what can I take out of my schedule to make that happen?
Trying to figure out your schedule when you have a chronic illness is not easy. I didn’t even notice I was doing this until someone else pointed out how much mental work I put into managing my life.
Forgeting the most basic information
Last week the gas pump asked for my zip code like it always does, and I suddenly found myself at a complete loss. What was my zip code again? A minute went by and I started to panic, what was I going to do if I couldn’t think of my zip code? Maybe I could google it? Finally the answer came to me and I typed it in. WRONG. I had typed in an old zip code. Not a recently old zip code, a zip code from 10 years ago. The really funny part is that if my kids had been there with me I would have asked them what my zip code was and could have avoided the whole mess! Alas, I was on my own that day.
Even worse is forgetting words in the middle of the sentence. You start saying something and when you get to the word it’s suddenly gone, there’s an empty space in your brain where that word was. You’re left feeling like an idiot because you couldn’t produce that word even if someone offered you a million dollars.
Always being on the lookout for somewhere to sit
Healthy people don’t think anything about standing up for a few minutes, but for me standing in one place for any measure of time has physical consequences. Because of this I’m always looking for somewhere to sit. If I’m at the park the first thing I look for is a bench to sit on. If I’m waiting for somebody I always locate the nearest bench. I didn’t know that any of this was weird until someone pointed out to me that I can always be found sitting.