Nine or so months ago, I woke up unable to walk. I’ve never been one to sleep much after a night of drinking, and it’s always been up to me to call and wake everyone up for breakfast. I remember sitting in the ER and telling my husband that I bet everyone was up by now, but waiting for me to call or text. Turns out, I was actually right. It was late enough that everyone was starting to stir, but no one knew what to do because I hadn’t woken them up.
It is for this reason, my weird need to rise early when I’ve been drinking, that I was up at 7 a.m. after partying until well after 4 a.m. I woke up worried that I might have hives on my face. When I tried to stand, my legs couldn’t support me, they were swollen and covered in lesions that looked like bruises. I hobbled, half crawling, trying not to be loud, to the bathroom. In the light, I saw my face was fine. I saw my legs, but thought maybe it would be ok.
By the time I made my broken way back to the bed, I knew that I had to go to the hospital. I woke up my slumbering husband, still groggy from a night of overindulgence, and we headed to the ER.
I was hospitalized immediately and then a journey began. A journey of doctors’ visits and blood tests, then rare blood tests, then more doctors’ visits. I’m currently still being seen at least once a month, as I have now developed osteonecrosis. We aren’t sure if it’s the medications or what, but now I’m in pain all the time, even though my arthritis medications are working to control the inflammation from my autoimmune disorder.
In this journey, my tact has given way to blunt and brutal honesty. My sass has gotten stronger and my tolerance lower.
This isn’t something I planned. But as the days turned to months and I was still stuck at home, alone, no visitors, no one calling, I just found that I didn’t care anymore. Not because I’m cruel, but because, at some point, I began to wonder, “Why do I care so much what others might think when they haven’t cared enough to visit or even call to see how I am?”
Everyone handles stress differently and I have had a number of scary diagnoses, bad news after bad news, and a general lack of sunny news to shine on my cloudy existence. And somewhere along the way, snarky, sass, and my general F* the world disposition became the only way I knew how to continue to cope.
When people didn’t visit, I got sad. Then I got depressed. Then I woke, on a rather sunny and brilliant spring day after a slew of rainy ones, and gave the world the middle finger. Being alone all the time, it’s really, REALLY easy to do that.
I’m not really sure what is going to happen when I have to start leaving the house again. I have a hard enough time being downstairs on the days I manage the stairs. I have grown accustomed to my solitude and even more so, not really to having to think nice thoughts to keep from wearing my emotions on my face plain as day. But, sometimes when you are alone all the time, you realize what matters and what doesn’t.
So, I say, “I’m fine” when people ask me how I am doing. I say things are moving along when they ask how treatments are working. I tell people I’m tired or ill, instead of explaining the sheer exhaustion that sometimes hits in multiday waves, and half the time I’m sick anyway because I have no immunity left and can’t battle even the tiniest of colds. And the rest of the time, I give the world a middle finger with a giant F You to follow, because there doesn’t seem to be much of a point in caring what others think anymore.