Posted on

Being Sick with Visitors

This time last year, I was having my second surgery for endometriosis. I happened to have it right before family from out of state came to stay with us for a bit to see my sister and my cousin graduate from high school. We don’t get to see them nearly enough, and of course we spent every day out doing fun things with them.

family visiting relatives love illness little girl dance

I didn’t want my surgery to keep me from enjoying my short time with my little cousins. But having surgery on your abdomen is no small thing. It affects everything you do, because the healing is happening in your very core. The stitches also just happened to be right at little girl hug height.

I’ve written before about both of my surgeries, and I always mention that in a lot of ways the second was easier (albeit less effective). With help from simple things like taking vitamins and staying hydrated, I was on my feet within an hour of coming to after the operation. But I was by no means in peak condition. And with little cousins that wanted to dance and run around 24/7, recovery was going to be interesting to say the least.

family relatives visiting recovery illness surgery

I rested a lot and took a lot of pain meds of course. I’ve been sick long enough to know how to pace myself. For me, the most difficult part was more emotional than anything else. I didn’t want to take naps and miss out on the board games and coloring going on downstairs. I hated how I yelped whenever my little cousins would throw their arms around me. And I found myself embarrassed that I was sick.

Usually if a friend or coworker asks about my illness, I might be a little nervous or taken off guard, but I rarely weasel out of the conversation completely. But for some reason when it comes to family, my automatic response is It’s nothing, it’s not that bad, it’s no big deal, I’m fine. I have no idea why. Maybe it’s just that complex of knowing that they knew the not-sick Rachel, and wanting to appear to still be that person. I’m not sure. But I could not be honest with them, no matter how hard I tried.

mad hatter I'm fine

Of course, putting up a false front like that leads to nothing but overexertion, and getting yourself stuck in tight corners. But when you see your totally unfairly adorable baby cousins run down the path and climb up some rocks and say “Come on! Come on!” you want to go! So I succeeded in having fun with the little ones and winning their adoration. But I’m sure I did myself no favors, especially considering how little that surgery ultimately did to make me feel any better.

My family is coming to visit again this summer, and my Doctor has recommended another surgery. I’ve been turning him down, but I’m definitely not doing well. We’ve already got a camping trip and a trip down to Schlitterbahn in the works. Have I learned my lesson? Will I be more honest this time around? Can I get away with dodging surgery? Who knows! I’m going to do my best. After all, the point of a vacation is to relax. But with chronic pain, that’s not always how it goes down.

chronic illness vacation meme

I’m glad I get another chance. Hopefully, by blogging about it, I’ll hold myself more accountable to being honest and not pushing it. Hopefully I’ll have a positive report if I survive this summer. 😉

***

Some of my more stalkerish readers may have somehow noticed that this is my 99th post!

overly attached girlfriend stalker

But seriously, if anyone did notice that you deserve a medal and I love you.

Anywho, in celebration of my impending 100th post, I’m planning my first real live event!

A little while ago I had a friend text when she went in to get some lab work done. She hadn’t been to the doctor in a long time and she was really nervous about everything. I’ll blog more about this later, but for now lets skip ahead.

After the ordeal, she said that talking to me really helped her through it all, she was kind enough to say that I should go in to the medical field. Of course, if you’ve read any other posts at all you know I’m a spaz with a fear of needles and an anxiety problem who freaks out at just about every little thing, so I’m pretty sure the medical field is not for me. But she persisted, saying that the fact that I was so scared but still very knowledgeable was what made the difference. She said I should get a job comforting people going through routine procedures or day surgery. That sounds awesome, but I’m not sure how I’d get someone to pay me to do that. It did, however, give me an idea.

For my 100th post, I’d like to spend a day at Medical City Dallas, a hospital that’s taken very good care of me over the years, and hand out balloons and cards and other stuff that says encouraging things like “Smile!” and “It’s going to be okay!” on them. I want to talk to people who may be nervous or apprehensive about anything from a surgery to some bloodwork and empathize with them, share experiences, and help them through whatever they’re going through. I’d love to build on this idea, but for now I’d like to just give one day to helping people. My 100th post will announce the time and date, and if you’re in the Dallas area I’d LOVE for you to join us! My friend and my husband will be there with me, and I’m hoping I’ll see YOU there too!

Stay tuned for more info!

In the mean time please enjoy this celebratory cat parade.

Advertisements

About rachelmeeks

My name is Rachel Meeks. I have endometriosis, an incurable pain condition, IBS, a digestive illness, and PCOS, which causes irregular periods and infertility. After keeping my illnesses a secret, I started to get upset about how my fellow sick people were being mistreated because of ignorance. I knew that I'd need to stand up, make some noise, wear my heart on my sleeve, and admit that I am not well to make a difference.

4 responses to “Being Sick with Visitors

  1. mo

    Rachel! 99 posts? Yougogirl!

    You NEED to tell your family when you feel like crap. They would all feel awful if their visiting made you even sicker. The kids would probably have just as much fun with some low-key activities, and feel great being able to “take care” of you. You don’t have to go into too many details, but I’m sure everyone will feel better when you fess up!

    The thought of more surgeries would freak me out too. My last surgery (of nine) was in 2005, and I hope that I never see the inside of an operating room again. But, if you have to….you have to.

    I think your idea of a day of service is terrific. For a while I was involved with an organization and would talk to other people just diagnosed with adrenal disease. Some people knew nothing and helping them understand more about their illness was great.

    (I must apologize for not doing my part and composing a post that goes with the wonderful award you gave me. My computer has been messed up for a while, and I need to get it looked at. I can’t put links into my posts……very frustrating. As soon as WordPress and my laptop start getting along again, I will get my post done.)

    Love your blog………and you are so darn cute!

    mo

    • Thanks so much for the very sweet comment. 🙂

      I know I really need to be more honest with them. I have no idea what the mental block with that is. I always get myself all fired up, plan what to say, convince myself I’m really going to be honest this time…. aaaaand then do what I always do! Ugh. But it’s a work in progress. There was one time I winced and said “Ow!” after my little cousinette threw her arms around me. She looked so confused. She’s older now though, maybe she would understand….

      No worries on the award, of course! I’m just glad to know you liked it.

      I’d really love to know more about this organization you were involved in and how you got involved, because I would really LOVE to do that kind of thing!

  2. Molly

    What a nice idea for an event! Have you put it into action yet? If not, good luck! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s