She Was Sickly

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.

7 Responses to She Was Sickly

  1. The Olds says:

    Love you Kitty Cat – keep that fighting spirit!
    At least you now have that beautiful Monstro couch to rest upon. Hugs and Kisses from both of us.

  2. J.D. says:

    I was a sickly boy in grade school. On a couple of occasions, I missed weeks of school at a time. Looking back, I think that in my case, some of my problems might have been psychological. I don’t know. Maybe not.

    Now, as an adult, I find that some of this sickliness lingers. I get sick easily. I stay sick longer than most people.

    These aren’t chronic problems of the sort you describe, but they’re nuisances nonetheless. It’s no fun to get every couple of weeks during the winter, you know?

    My wife tells me that things would improve if I were more fit, but I’m not convinced. Even during those periods in which I’ve been physically fit, I’ve suffered recurring illness.

    It’s a curse.

    I feel for you.

  3. Cat says:

    I second that last bit–I can be working out all through Oct/Nov/Dec and still get sick in January. What really, really helped for me was a diet high in veggies (blame the vegetarian husband for that) and vitamins. My annual cold (or flu, or strep, or whatever the year throws at me) lasted *four days* this year. That, as I’m sure you know, is nothing. I was amazed. But it took almost two years of continuous effort to manage that. I’ve sent myself a reminder next year to start immune system stuff in October, and see if I can avoid the Jan/Feb illness all together.

    As for psychology–one of the big things I defeated was depression. Bloody stuff makes everything much, much worse. Once I beat that (it’s not gone, just well under control), I was able to reduce a lot of my immune system problems.

    I think the next big breakthrough will come when my apnea is finally treated. Sleep is another huge factor with illness.

    Oh look, now I’ve gone and rambled. 🙂

  4. David says:

    “the next big breakthrough will come when my apnea is finally treated”

    Cat – how are you going to deal with that? The positive pressure machines and masks seem to be all thats on offer around here. I did a sleep lab night a few years ago, but with all the wires hooked up I got a total of 20 mins sleep – thus not much data collected. Have been putting off doing anything about it as it doesn’t seem to be really bad so far.

  5. Cat says:

    At the moment I sleep sitting up–but that’s no solution. I had a sleep study scheduled, but various and sundry got in the way. I’ll be rescheduling soon, and probably end up with a CPAP machine.

    Was a recommendation made from your sleep study? I’d definitely schedule another one in that case. It’s the kind of thing that may not feel like a big deal, but can be more serious than you realize.

  6. David says:

    They couldn’t reach much of a conclusion given I only slept for 20 mins, but I think they said that there were indications of apnea. I recall the specialist saying that it may not be so bad now, but likely to get worse as I age. To be honest, my highest priority at that time was addressing complaints made by the then significant other – problem was solved through change in status. Thankfully the wonderful person I have since married can sleep through the snoring.

    The follow-up from the study was good though – I also went to a session where they showed me a number of different machines (no they didn’t sell them) and also got to try on different masks to see which ones were more comfortable.

    I really don’t seem to currently suffer from side effects such as tiredness (yet). But if I begin to, I suppose it’s time to go back in.

  7. Shelley says:

    Last year my husband had the sleep study done, was given the CPAP, and it changed his life — no, our lives. He went from no energy, barely able to stay awake at work, easily sick, falling asleep on MAX, to being a normal human being again. Did I mention the snoring stopped and we could sleep in the same bed again? 🙂 The CPAP machine is a miracle, so far as we’re concerned.