What follows is a somewhat angry rant, containing some personal information of absolutely no interest to anyone. Though I don't normally talk about being sick, I just have to spew about this somewhere.
I've been sick.
As a young child, I was alternately skipped grades for being smart, or kept back for missing weeks at a time. This worsened in my teen years, as I spent probably a third of my days in bed. I have been near death enough times to have an unhealthy (ha) sense of my own mortality.
Finally, in my early twenties, things started getting a little better. Not really good enough to hold down a permanent job, though. I spent a lot of time temping. And I fought with it. All the damnable bugbears were rooted out one by one, exposed, and done for as much as possible.
Always I felt betrayed by my body. I like to think of myself as a strong person, but here was my stupid body, getting sick again, showing me up for the weakling I am. A delicate flower from a Victorian novel, destined for the fainting couch.
Approaching forty, I've held a job I love for some time, though I'm always at the edge of my sick leave. I know it frustrates my co-workers (and it frustrates me more than they can ever know!), but I work damned hard to make up for my shortcomings, and I believe I get the job done. What they don't understand is that missing a day or two a month is a miracle to me. They also don't understand that I'm still fighting--still setting my goals higher as I get older. Studying, being more careful, making better choices. Most of my sick time now is not from random illnesses (I actually catch something about once a year), but from permanent problems with which I still wrestle. But I've even beaten the largest of those into submission.
So I'm sickly. It happens. Maybe my mom made some mistakes when she was carrying me. Maybe it's some kind of birth defect. Who the hell knows. But the fact remains, however weak and unhealthy I appear, that I'm winning.