Friday, September 22, 2023

"Dirty Laundry"


Cotton bolls on the plant, ready for harvesting

My mother would be horrified at the level of sharing I do about the things I am going through, especially the health issues.

"It's no one else's business!"

True.  It isn't anyone else's business what I'm going through, so why do I choose to 'share'?

This blog was started as a celebration of life after a very difficult time of health issues that, quite frankly, could have taken me out in 2008, just like they had taken my younger brother from us.  As such the blog became a diary of what I was going through, and a declaration that I was going to stick around, for as long as I could, to keep encouraging people to keep going, as well.

Because ill health is not a 'failing'.  Not of one's character, or virtue.

It can be, quite simply, bad luck.

Sometimes it is an injury, sometimes it is fueled by one's own genetics.  Sometimes you pull the short straw.

That doesn't always mean living is over.  It also doesn't mean that someone is having an 'easy' time of it.

Our society seems to worship youth and good health, offering up 'magic bullet cures' when sometimes?  There aren't any.

I am extremely fortunate in that I live in a country with universal health care.  That doesn't mean it is perfect, but it means I'm not going to go bankrupt or need to refrain from seeking care when I need it.

We tend, in our society, to ignore people with disabilities, as they are called, while assuming other issues are not issues of disability, in no small part because the 'aids' are so obvious and acceptable that they aren't even considered 'disabilities' any more.  Corrective lenses.  Dental appliances from braces to implants.  Hearing aids.

I discovered just how reliant we are on our teeth for clear communication when I had a tooth pulled and had to re-train my tongue to form certain sounds with that gap in my teeth.  Who knew?  Now *I* do.

We accept joint replacement as 'normal' now when previous generations had to simply deal with chronic pain and difficulty doing 'ordinary' tasks.

By-pass surgery saved my life and medication keeps me going.

A fall is assumed to be the trigger of my recent issues and it was a long time in getting to the root cause before I could get treatment that addressed the actual cause.

Even so, the medication I started yesterday is very 'new' to the world of pain control, and isn't actually listed to be effective for peripheral neuropathy in my feet (a lingering effect of the chemotherapy that also saved my life but continues to dog my steps - literally).

My new pain doctor was willing to prescribe it to see if it was going to work.  It's too soon to tell because it is necessary to begin at an extremely low dose, then gradually increase the dose to see if it will work and what dosage is best for me to be using.  It can take up to 12 weeks to discover what that dosage should be.

Plus we will do corticosteroids to my SI joint, which can mimic sciatic pain very well, in part because it is on the nerveway path of the sciatic nerve.  I get my first injection on Oct. 6 and hopefully it will last at least 6 weeks, hopefully longer.  

To deal with problems, including health issues, is a very human thing.  To be consistently *well* is what is unusual, although it took me decades to figure that out because in our society we don't talk about our ''failings", like poor health.  

By being open and acknowledging what I am going through people can take what lessons they like from my journey.

They can feel 'superior' to me because *they* are healthy, when the truth is every person is a micro second away from injury or poor health.  Or they can acknowledge that life is a crap shoot, not everyone can win the jackpot, but that doesn't mean their lives aren't worthy or meaningful.

The political climate right now is veering towards the great sifting of who is and is not 'worthy'.  During the last election, there were flyers distributed that announced to all and sundry that 'we' needed to get rid of the 'useless eaters'.  (That phrase is so abhorrent I can barely type it.)

Who do they lump into that category?  Anyone they decide to put there.  

I am reminded of the statement by Martin Niemoller:

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

—Martin Niem√∂ller

And yes, they came for Mr. Niemoller, too, in the end.  We need to choose.  To see the humanity of ALL of us, protect ALL of us, regardless of health, skin colour, sexual orientation, etm.  

So I will share my humanity, my very human struggles, my desire to remain, to teach, to create, to believe in the possibility of change for good.  

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