Thursday, July 19, 2012

Confessions, or SSIHD

I hate being sick. I love pretending that I am not sick. To such a degree that I was very, very, very bad and took an enormous risk and became a noncompliant patient. I stopped taking my Lovenox about two months ago. Or was it three? Or four? I don't know. I stopped counting.

I got sick of people telling me that I look fine, I am fine. "You look beautiful! I wish I were that thin." Blah blah blah. My labs were great. I needed to have a low-molecular heparin level drawn before my next refill of Lovenox, and somehow I just didn't get around to it. After all, I survived two kids, a portal vein thrombus, and two pulmonary emboli. I am lucky. I won't die of a clot. Just. Won't. Happen.

I had coffee with my friend Greensunflower yesterday, who has her own medical struggles and periods of noncompliance. She is also a critical care RN, and works in the emergency room. I confessed to her.

She smiled at me. "Look, I get it. I know it gets tiring. I know you don't want to take your meds. I know that you look fine and no one gets it. I know it's a pain, literally and figuratively. But yesterday, on my last shift, I had a patient who came in, having coded with a PE. We called the code. He was 41. I don't want that to be you. You may never have another clot, but if you do, it could kill you. Let's work on this together. Let me help."

I cried. It was wonderful to have her understand. She also explained that it's possible to be depressed about one thing, not to be depressed globally. I think I was depressed about my health and tried to bury my head in the sand, probably not the smartest thing I've done in a while. It's just hard to balance this life of not knowing, of prophylaxis, of pain, of being told there's nothing to do but hope. It sucks.

I was at the MD this week for my three-month checkup. I have been spiking a fever on and off for the past few weeks, 100.1-100.4. I ignore it. What's to do? At the office, it was 100.4. She decided to do cultures, the whole workup because of my being asplenic. And...of course, the labs show that I am healthy as a horse. Do I have a rogue virus? WTF?

I told Greensunflower again, about the labs. She said, "You have no spleen. Don't play around. One time those labs won't be perfect. Don't be so hard on yourself."

You know what I am hating the most at the moment? That I am too tired and achy from the fevers to run. Running has been my saving grace, mentally and physically. Am I really back to one day at a time?


Oh, and it's Stupid Shit I Have Done.

NB: I took down the post my mother wrote because she said it left her feeling too exposed and vulnerable. She is appreciative of everyone's kind and generous support.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


I had a conversation in the past couple of days with someone who really doesn't seem to understand my history of depression, or how it works. I was thrown aback by a couple of things said, such as, "If I had known you then, I would have told you to suck it up," or "I would give you a reality check." Hmm.

I didn't find this "help" particularly insightful or amusing--and perhaps it was intended to insult, not help. At the moment, I am not depressed, but as a person who has had a life-long struggle with this disease (which not simply an attitude problem, by the way), I was deeply offended. People who are depressed need support, not to be told to try harder. It's a psycho-social-emotional trifecta of hell.

I ran across this fabulous link of things not to say to someone who is depressed, and I thought I would share them as a public service. Enjoy!

Ways to Insult Someone with Depression 
(an exercise in sarcasm)

Posted: 26 May 2007
Snap out of it!
Nothing cuts deeper to someone with depression, than when their serious condition is trivialized by another who doesn’t understand it. In an effort to counter this, let’s trivialize the way that people trivialize depression.
There are lots of good ways to insult someone with depression. You need to give some unsolicited advice. Something simple, profound, and potentially life changing. Just snap out of it lacks imagination.
Here are some ideas:
“You don’t like feeling that way? So change it!”
“Life isn’t meant to be easy.”
“This is what life is like. Get used to it.”
“Pull yourself together.”
“Who said that life is fair?”
“You just have to get on with things.”
“At least it’s not that bad.”
“Stop feeling sorry for yourself.”
“You have so many things. What do you have to feel down about?”
“You just need to cheer up.”
“Quit trying to be a martyr.”
“Stop taking all those medicines.”
“I know how you feel. I’ve been depressed for whole days at a time.”
These are my favorites:
“What you need is a good kick up the backside.”
“Go out and buy yourself some clothes. That will pick you up.”
“Are you sure you don’t have a mental problem?”
“How about I cook you a good meal. That will make things better.”
“Have you tried acupuncture?”
“Get a job!”
And the all time best:
“Why don’t you try not being depressed.”
(N.B. Occasionally someone reads this post and misses its sarcasm. Just to be clear, it isn’t mocking people with depression; it is pointing out how insensitive people can be.)