Sunday, April 18, 2010

Some Things I've Learned

I'm sure there are still many things to learn, but these are some pointers I've picked bullet point form (obviously)

# Looking for answers on why you got sick - and finding them - doesn't do anything to make you feel better. Knowing the source doesn't change the present reality.

# You should not distract a junior doctor while he is trying to insert a needle in your arm. They don't sleep much. Concentration is key or expect to see much blood.

# Ear plugs are the difference between sanity and madness when in hospital

# The little, material things in your life don't matter

# Worrying about the accumulation, security and improvement of the little, material things is what normality is and you will miss that

# You can get used to anything, no matter how difficult, no matter how alien to what your life was like before.

# One day you will find yourself speaking effortlessly about medical terms and procedures and having yourself opened up and patched back together and it will shock you how ordinary those words now seem.

# The easiest way to pass time in a waiting room is to size up the others around you and try and guess what's going on with them. It's far more interesting than outdated magazines.

# Consultants will always want to shake hands with you at every appointment, even though you have been introduced and he/she knows every detail about the inner workings of your body. I think this is an etiquette thing.

# Waking up from an anaesthetic will grant you the most disorientating, queasy moments of your life. You will vomit.

# You should never, ever read about your illness on Wikipedia or on any other website. The people who write these things have a particular fondness for the term "potentially fatal" and they appear to have misplaced any favourable statistics on people who have lived with your condition and done quite well

# You should never, ever read about the possible side effects of your medication. Just take it that the operation of heavy machinery is off the cards for a while.

# When sick, you will spend your time striving to be normal. You will try to work as normal, socialise as normal, eat as normal and exercise as normal.

# The biggest challenge is to realise that life isn't normal anymore and make the necessary adjustments. When that is done, you have reached the point of acceptance.

# Nobody in your life will care about you the way your family - especially your parents - do.

# The line between those who will acknowledge you are sick and say something encouraging and those who will make you feel like Death just typed your address into his SatNav is very fine. Few people know the right thing to say, but be patient with them.

# There is an immediate level of understanding with other people who have your illness or even those who have any illness at all. Maybe cos we feel a little like the lost souls of society. A kind of sick Glee Club, without the killer dance moves.

# When you lose sight of the light at the end of the tunnel, remind yourself the pain/bout of nausea/bad night on dialysis will eventually go away. A favourite phrase I have now and one I repeat to myself a lot:
"This Too Will Pass".


  1. I'd agree on the waiting room stuff, the imagination is a far better plaything than three-month copies of U Magazine, not that I don't love U Magazine. U is a magazine, isn't it?

    My stabs at humour notwithstanding, a post full of strength, inspiring stuff there.

  2. Personally, when going to the doctor, I always bring a good book with me.

    Being ill reminds you why the word "patient" is so called!

  3. Radge - I'm not one for magazines. They seem to be all colour and not much substance and I don't care for any updates on Jordan & Alex or who did this or snorted that recently.
    I do however believe there is a publication called U.

    Francis - I always have a book with me in my bag too, but I get more entertainment from watching and listening to others around me. It's the voyeur in me!

  4. Regina, What a terrific post that is, don’t want to embarrass you but I am with Radge on this.
    Inspiring stuff and all rings very true. Do the same in waiting rooms, who’s here and for what etc,found myself doing it even more at a transplant clinic today.
    Particularly enjoy the bullet format… could do one on hospital hates,
    The surgical gown in at # 1, the one that’s meant to tie at the back,
    ‘Your grand, it’s tied, off you go down the corridor there…..’

  5. Actually, Duffer, they've just had those gowns revamped in the UK, so that they close at the sides rather than the back. Perhaps its time to rethink the design here, too.

    I loved your post, Regina, great insights and clarity of thought. I strongly agree about the Wikipedia comment; for all its merits, the medical articles tend towards the sensationalist, perhaps designed to entertain more than inform.

    Just for the record, my favourite waiting-room reading materials are current affairs magazines or else books that can be easily consumed in bite-size chunks (novels are too easily disrupted by the sound of people entering and leaving the room).

    Best of luck.

  6. Duffer - if we got started on a list of hospital hates, we could be here for quite some time! LOL on the gown issue. How does one maintain any semblance of dignity while wearing such a garment?!

    Jimmy - Glad you enjoyed the post. And 'tis only nosiness that prevents me from reading and sways me towards people-watching in waiting rooms. I'm shockin for staring at folk without realising I'm doing it. It's only when they shift a few seats away from me that I re-adjust my gaze!

  7. The ear plugs are essential as are sleeping tablets. Also found a laptop and earphones great for watching films at night. The only downside being the incident where the earphones became disconnected from the jack at 1am during a rather noisy sex scene from Battlestar Gallactica.

  8. Funny was at a wedding last month, an old friend who knows me well say's, ''Well fair play to you, your in college have a brand new council house, think i'll do the same thing and go on the dole. Sure amint i paying for it all, you have a great time''. I promply replied that his minimal weekly social insurance contribution wouldnt even cover my treament (dialysis) for a day let alone pay for my home, disability payment, college eduction and grant. I say thanks to all the people who pay there contributions and understand that social insurance is excactly what it says it is, INSURANCE. Its there for everyone. I paid my taxes my insuraces I got sick and now i'm claiming even if it is forever. Role on the new kidney for you and me, we will be amazing. Paul

  9. Paul - Any comments I've had about being a blight on the exchequer have been in jest. That comment made to you sounds a little more sinister. People can be idiots.