I have been blessed with relative health.
That’s not to say that I’m the picture of health. If you take all the mental problems away, I’m still left with an albeit small but manageable list of ailments. Things that are controlled easily enough with diet, with pills, with regular check ups and blood tests. I haven’t broken any bones, I haven’t had a surgery, I haven’t had to stay in a hospital for more than a night in at least a decade. Many would say I was blessed.
So I was suitably scared waking up to a stabbing pain in my upper abdomen early on Thursday morning. No one likes to be made aware of the fragile nature it is to be human. No one wants to be reminded of their own mortality.
Nine hours later, released with a minor medical problem, a new found doubt in our medical system and doctors as a whole and a new appreciation for irony, especially when relating “fast track” emergency and my stay, I came home. Slightly buzzed on medication and letting the few closest around me know that I wasn’t dying anytime soon, I spent a rather low key evening involving a couple of guilty pleasures and some drifting in and out of consciousness.
When I awoke on Friday to a doctor’s appointment and the possibility to a minor surgery, I was left with the feeling of loneliness. I’ve heard many people who move out really feel that first stab of what it truly means to be ‘alone’ when they’re sick for the first time.
Illness always manages to make babies out of the rest of us. We all want to be taken care of, be tucked away in beds with extra blankets and have chicken soup fed to us. I’ve been thankful to have had my mother with me yesterday, having her ask the right questions while my drug infused confusion kept me silent, cold and scared. However, the next day things changed. Life goes on.
I never believed that I was an extraordinary person (despite what keeping a blog may say about me). I know that I’m pretty ordinary and run of the mill, however our egos always let us believe that there’s something out there that no one else can do. Whether it’s that your workplace can’t go on without you or your friends will miss you terribly if you’re out of contact with them for more than a day or two, there’s something out there that you think you’ll miss or that will miss you if you’re out of commission.
There’s very few things that are as painful as knowing that you’re just another meat suit. That someone else can take your job, do your job as well or better than you can, that your friends have enough things on their plate to not notice whether or not you’ve text messaged them. That if you don’t make the first move, you wouldn’t talk with your friends on the weekly basis that you’ve managed over the last few months.
Now, I’ve silently been unsure of some statements made by a friend who was going through her own trauma. She was under the impression that people should have been there for her regardless of whether she asked them to be. At the time, without the pain of experience, I thought it seemed a little off putting. Sure, I understood that you want to have your circle of support around you, but you needed to put a little effort into things as well. No one can help you if they don’t know how or that you want them around.
Now, karma seems to be an amused bitch. I managed to get myself involved in the same thought trap, believing those around me should have--could have, been around for me without me needing to say as much. That the words hospital and surgery meant enough for them to know exactly what I needed--before I needed it.
I know I have a good circle of friends, friends who know me well enough to know how I eat my mashed potatoes or how I prefer my steak to be cooked. That I can say that guy is cute with a single look or have a silent conversation between two close friends with those around us none the wiser.
I guess I just expected more care, more ‘check ins’ and more thought or more concern than what I received on a dreary Friday after hearing the possibility of surgery was down the road. I was left with pretty much silence and the few attempts at connecting were met with closed doors.
I’m sure if I brought what happened up with more people, the mathematics would suggest that I’d have a better chance of finding that concern that I wanted. I’ve managed to keep this between those who are closest to me and in an attempt to garner the concern I thought I deserved, with those at work. However, despite the astrological sign, I’m not always attention starved. I’m the girl who hates having ‘Happy Birthday’ sang to her, or hates being brought up in front of people. I’m the stage hand, not the actress or the diva--despite what people may end up telling you.
When I brought this up with S on our regular Saturday morning coffee he told me to make requests. To think of what I want to have done, of what I need once things roll around and say that. Only then can I be disappointed in not having anyone around.
Which, obviously makes sense. However, I’m now met with another problem. What does support mean?
How can you quantify concern or care in a single action?