Catherine Gracey

Living Life, One Misadventure At A Time.

Losing the Championship Title

on March 16, 2012

I am no longer the household title holder of Most Recently Taken To Hospital. Obviously I miss this dubious honour, and I am sure my body will jealously respond by randomly losing a limb, or having one of my critical organs fall out somehow, but until then…yay?

It was interesting being on the other side of the relationship (where interesting means utterly terrifying at the time). Normally I am the sick person glaring balefully at those around me who are trying to help. It was a new experience being the one glaring back and joining the too-bad-you’re-going-anyway club.

A small part of me can’t help but think of the various times when I was the one being contemplated by my loved ones. All those times I turned grey, began to shake, and was asked if I was okay while insisting that nothing was wrong and trying not to vomit from the pain. Those times I was bleeding and trying to convince everyone it was nothing serious. The nights when I just cried while someone held me, drugged me, and put me to bed to ride it out.

Wednesday night’s experience reminded me of why, at some subtle level, I prefer to lie in those moments about how bad it is. I know the doctors around me can’t do much to help, because if they could they would have by now. I know there is little that my friends and family can do to help me. In that moment I become convinced that the best thing I can do is try to not let anyone else get stressed about what is happening inside. So often I have taken the hardline approach that it is my problem, so I am the one who needs to deal with it.

Seeing someone else in a medical crisis, even when I knew what it was and roughly how to deal with it, was a rapid education about my own moments of crisis. The feeling of knowing I needed to do something, and realising that all I could do was try to stop it from getting worse, was ghastly. I wonder how often I have unknowingly given that feeling to others.

Not knowing what was going on inside was the worst part for me. Wanting to ask questions, realising there was no way they could be answered, and waiting until it was over was exhausting. With my own body I can feel exactly what is going on. I know how bad it is, and I usually know what I need to do to deal with it.

Next time I am the one having the medical problem, I am going to try and communicate more about what I am experiencing. Sparing someone else’s feelings is clearly a form of dishonesty and self delusion. I am not often surrounded by idiots who don’t care. Their concern does not stop just because the conversation has. Sharing might not stop their concern, but at least I can ensure they know what they are concerned about.

Hopefully this new tactic won’t see me reclaim my title any time soon. My housemate can keep it.


(I have been deliberately vague about who was involved and what happened. After a night spent in ER, the episode is over and, while further medical guidance will be required, it is essentially resolved. If the housemate in question chooses to comment and provide further detail that is their choice, but I will not in a public forum.)

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