I have some confessions that I thought some might relate to, they can be a little embarrassing to me, but I’ve decided to tell all.
I envy people who look sick. It’s just hard to be as sick as I am and look completely normal most of the time. Others have no idea what I go through. I know on the outside I appear normal. I know it’s hard for people to understand why I can’t do things. Sometimes it’s hard for me to understand. Sometimes I feel if I looked sick it would be easier.
I’ve played the sick card. This is very hard for me to admit. There have been rare occasions when I simply haven’t wanted to do something and I’ve said I was too sick. Normally that is something that would make me sicker. Something I might want to do, but I know if I do it I’m going to pay the price afterward. So instead of trying to explain this it’s easier to just say I don’t feel well enough to go in the first place. Now I do admit there have been very rare occasions that I simply have not wanted to do something and said I wasn’t feeling well enough. I can think of one. There was an outing with Stuart’s work and I knew I’d feel uncomfortable around all of those people so I played the sick card. Stuart went and that was really all that counted, but I felt very guilty about saying I was too sick when I really wasn’t that day.
When I get mad at my husband sometimes I’ll “take my ears off”, ( I’ll, take off the processors to my cochlear implants) so I can’t hear him. Yes when I get mad I act like a child. “I can’t hear you, lalalala”. I’m sure it infuriates him. I’m acting like a child. And at the time, I don’t care.
I’m addicted to the internet and I don’t feel that is a problem. I am basically housebound. I can’t leave without someone else. I rarely go anywhere other than to the doctor or the occasional outing, that is normally just errands. I don’t have friends close by since we moved. Even before we moved I had very few that I saw on a regular basis. I keep in touch with my friends through the internet. I read, I write, I research, I email, even my TV is through the internet. Some people may think I spend way too much time on the internet, I don’t think so.
I really don’t miss working. If I’d had the dream job I’m sure I’d miss working, but truthfully I didn’t like my job. I dreaded going to work. I don’t miss it at all. I don’t like the fact that I can’t work. But missing my job? No not at all.
I care what people think. I keep being told, “who cares what people think?” Well I do. Why? I have no idea. I don’t like this part about me, but I really care about what people think. I don’t want people to think I’m lazy, that I’m pretending to be sick, that I’m a hypochondriac…. Yet I don’t like to go out looking bad. I don’t want people to think I can’t take care of myself. I don’t want people to think my husband isn’t taking care of me. I care what people think when they come in my house. (as if so many people come in my house) I care what people think when they ask me what I do and I can’t give them an answer. I don’t “do” anything. I even dress up a bit just to go to the doctor. Especially my therapist. She is a lovely woman, so put together, and I want to look all put together too. So I actually dress up a bit to go to my therapy sessions. How weird is that?
I often don’t know how to talk about anything other than health issues. My life revolves around my health, and most of my friends have chronic illnesses and their life revolves around their health issues so we don’t have a problem talking. But when I meet other people, when I need to make conversation with people outside of my chronic illness circle, I’m a bit lost.
Often I have no idea what someone just said to me, so I fake it. When there is small talk being said and I miss part of it because I just can’t hear, I nod and smile a lot and hope I’m not smiling when someone just told me something sad. It is way too hard for me to constantly ask people to repeat themselves, especially in a setting where I know I probably won’t be able to hear them anyway. Often when I’m with Stuart I just stand there and smile and let him deal with the conversation. It’s hard on me, not being able to participate, but it’s harder to struggle through it.
I love my recliner. I never thought I’d be a middle aged woman who spends most of her time in her recliner, but I do. I love this chair. I got it when I got my hip replaced, I don’t know what I did without it! I get through my vertigo attacks much easier in the recliner, I don’t have to lie all the way down, I don’t have to sit all the way up, it’s just so much easier. It’s my comfort spot, it’s where I write, read, watch TV….and that’s okay with me.
I don’t shower of bathe regularly. Taking a shower or bath is an ordeal. I have a safety issue with both. Taking a shower is harder for me because I often get vertigo when the water hits my head, even using a shower seat with a hand held shower head doesn’t solve the problem. Taking a bath is easier, but it’s much harder to get in and out of the tub. I’ve also had vertigo start with me in the tub a few times. I have to have someone with me when I shower or bathe. It takes a lot of energy out of me. I often have to lie down and rest afterward. I never thought I’d say that I’m lucky I have dry skin and hair but since I do it’s not that big of a deal if I don’t wash my hair for a couple of weeks. No, I’m not gross, I do wash up. But taking a full on bath, takes a lot.
Sometimes I’ll wear the same “clothes” for days. When I don’t feel good I wear the same clothes for days. By clothes I mean a tee and shorts or sleep pants. I will move from the bed to my recliner and back. Who needs to change clothes? Truthfully, I don’t think I could if I wanted to. But sometimes I don’t change clothes simply because it’s easier.
I’m hard to live with. I get grumpy, grouchy, moody, bitchy….but I’m also loving, happy, joyful…. Let’s just say, I’m confusing.
Are there confessions you have? Want to share? Do you share some of mine? I’d love to hear!
(photo by and of W. Holcombe. All rights reserved)
4 thoughts on “Confessions of a Chronically Ill Deaf Woman”
Don’t feel alone! Here are my “confessions.”
#1 – I sometimes envy the fact that people with TBI can at least point to a reason for cognitive struggles that other people will believe – and that few people think brain damage is a joking matter. I get so w-e-a-r-y of the ADD “jokes” (oooh, shiny – etc).
#2 – With severe ADD it usually takes, as Dr. Hallowell says, “twice as long to do half as much,” so I take sink baths on days when there is not enough time to manage a full bath (the hot water in my apt. takes forever to switch from cold to hot, so it takes a while before I can even begin to fill the tub). Showers are too much stimulation for me – just hit me with the fire hose – but they wouldn’t save a ton of time in any case, given the hot water situation.
Like you, my hair is dry, fortunately, so frequent shampoos aren’t required (using the kitchen sink, btw) – but it grows like a weed, so keeping the roots matching the color of the rest of my hair is a pain in the butt. I wear a lot of hats. 🙂
#3 – 3 seasons a year I usually sleep in perfectly respectable flowy pants and a top – so I don’t get dressed before I take my dog outside on awakening (in winter I have great flannel pjs under my coat!) Similar to you, on busy days that keep me housebound I frequently don’t change into “day clothes” at all.
(Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
– ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
“It takes a village to educate a world!”
Oh Madelyn, I understand every thing you said. Sink baths are my norm, more than the exception. My hair, I gave up on coloring. It’s natural, but then that gets to the caring about what people think part. sometimes I’m absolutely fine with my gray, other days I feel I should be more coiffed. 🙂
I see you “get” me.
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See you and love you! (and many days I would vote for cutting out the tongues that wag in judgment).
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