I once had a boyfriend who elevated pointing out the obvious to a fine art. I mean really: If there was a Nobel prize on the subject, he would have won it over and over again. I don't quite know how he did it, either, because the obvious thing he would point out wouldn't be the most obvious thing from another's point of view. It wasn't the obvious obvious, if you know what I mean. It was even more obvious than that. Say you saw a red car on the street: He wouldn't say "there's a red car" He would say something like "That car is driving on the street". Like there would be somewhere else that car should be driving ...in Sydenham.
He was wasted as a programmer. He should have been a politician or a TV news reporter. They excel in pointing out the obvious. Although his specialty was transactional databases for retail, which involves counting the obvious, so maybe he was in the right place, after all.
That was the keenly insightful, unoriginal and totally obvious thought I was going to use to open this post. Like many unoriginal thoughts, it happens to be true. The adaptability of people is how we survived famines, floods, Ice ages and God-knows-what else to become the dominant force on this poor little struggling planet we call home. Mostly, adaptability is good. It allows us to adjust to the changes life throws at us: The car broke down? I'll take a train, I lost my job? I'll change careers. People can deal with amazing life changes: My right hand doesn't work so well? I'll use my left hand...
That's where adaptability is bad. Because just because one can adapt, doesn't mean one always should.
When one is unwell, slipping into a state of permanent unwellness is an easy trap to fall into. Because let's face it: most of your friends and family fuck off and abandon you. They do. They either drop you immediately like a scalding poo or they slowly slip away. You spend a lot of time on the internet, connecting with other unwell people. New symptoms are easy to write off as part of the original problem. You continue to just use your left hand instead of yelling at the doctor that this right hand thing is unacfuckinceptable and he needs to find out what the problem is and fix it.
Now some people are probably confused at this point, because it is hard to understand what I mean, especially if you haven't lived it. I mean that reality can become skewed. " Normal " can change. That's what adaptability is all about -if you ask me. Creating a new “normal”. Two years ago, it was normal for me to follow a breakneck schedule: I rose at 5am, I was on the train at 6:07. I was at my desk at a Wall St institution eating breakfast shortly after 7. After work, I came home, picked up the kids, cooked two dinners (one for the kidlets, one for the adults). Then I did kid baths and bedtime, worked, maybe had a little metime at the telly or on the computer and tried to be in bed by midnight.
Yep. 5 hours sleep a night (if I was lucky). No wonder I got sick.
Now I sleep 8 or nine hours a night and I still have to nap most days. If I have a “good” day and overdo things. I am a mess for several days afterwards. For awhile I was accepting this 'new' normal. I had blackly hilarious stories about ER visits and hospitalizations. I expected to have fits and seizures. I was starting to think that they were part of my new life. I adapted. I was even starting to…
Then my good friend, Wynda -one of the few "normal" friends I have left (as normal as my friends ever got, anyway), interrupted me mid-blackly-hilarious-story and said in that gentle way she has: '"Sweetie. This is not OK"
She was right. She is right.
I e-mailed my doctor shortly after that and got in his face. That was when he pointed me towards #25 and we started getting somewhere.
But I still haven’t reached the point of this post. Sorry. Seven Hundred words in and I am nowhere near the point. This is why I don't make my living as a writer. The job usually pays by the word and I waffle too much (OK this and a few other things -like no-one wants to hire me).
I saw the Cardiologist last Friday and I mentioned the vitamin C problem to him. He suggested I see an MD who specializes in nutrition. Not a nutritionist, a physician. He said that he knows of one hospital in the area who has that kind of department: Sloane Kettering. That was when I felt I had stepped through the looking glass. I don’t quite know why. It just seemed like one hoop too many, you know? Go to a cancer hospital to find out why my body doesn’t absorb or process nutritents properly.
Yes. I guess it makes sense…. In The Twilight Zone!
So I’ve been putting it off. I’ve been telling myself I am too busy with the holidays etc, but really I have had time to make a few phone calls. I just haven’t done it. And then this weekend I got to thinking about adaptability, and how I will not accept this current state of being as normal and I really do need to step (farther) outside my comfort zone if I want to get well.
So I am going there. At this point I am not sure if “going there” means I will be stepping through the looking glass or stepping back. Either way, I’m going.