Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Oldest Disease in the World

While I may not have a "Dr." in front of my name, my medical trials and tribulations have given me a unique perspective into the medical world. I have had my share of illness and injury, and I've watched as family and friends have coped.

No matter what anyone tells you, as the patient, you will ALWAYS feel guilty for putting your family through your medical drama. You feel guilty for all the money they spend on gas to get to the hospital and on the parking garage. You feel guilty for the soreness of their asses after they sit in the ridiculous visitors' chairs for any length of time. You feel guilty for the smell of shit that pervades the air. The list can go on and on. 

The longer I dealt with my illness and pain, a whole new level of guilt crept to the surface as a result of what I call "Second Hand Pain".  Second Hand Pain affects the family, friends, acquaintances, etc. of the chronically sick individual. A mother of a daughter with breast cancer can only watch her daughter go through chemo and its wretched side-effects for so long before her heart and spirit break. The visual knockout of seeing her daughter's double mastectomy scars is like being branded on her soul.  And I know, as sure as the sun rises, that the daughter feels guilty for "making" her mom go through that, even though there is no way on Earth that the daughter could have caused her cancer to begin with.

Pain doesn't have to be firsthand to be felt. My fifteen years of chronic pain and illness have absolutely shaved years off my parents' lives, and for that I feel guiltier than guilty.  And when the ER nurses are digging for one of the few veins I still have left, I swear, by the look in her eyes, my mom feels more pain than I do. And just talking about my medical issues brings tears to my Dad’s eyes. Second Hand Pain is a heart breaker, and Chronic Guilt is the monkey on a patient’s back. These are inescapable scenarios, but they are not hopeless. Nothing is EVER hopeless.

There is one fail safe remedy, and it’s called God.  It is an ongoing, pain-staking riddle that requires a constant investment by each and every soul involved. Even now, I am still learning so much, and I have tons yet to learn in the future.  As I like to say, I am a work in progress. I venture to say all of you reading this are works in progress, too!