Saturday, December 19, 2009

Always Conscious

This blog has satisfied my urge to write about life in a public way.

Sometime in my university career, I developed an interest in social health issues and so signed myself up for a degree in Health and Society at York University. In my classes we had many assignments about the medical profession's treatment of patients. We were encouraged to share our personal experiences and I've had my share of them! It was so cathartic to write about the kinds of things I've written in this blog. Before university, I felt ashamed of the medical appointments and provisions given to me. I remember one time in grade nine gym, our teacher instructed us to practice catching the football into our bellies. I told my partner that I wasn't supposed to do that. She kept encouraging me to do it anyway and asking me what the problem was. I nearly cried because I really, really, really didn't want to tell her. I didn't want her, or anyone, to think I was delicate or "special." I used to devise ways to prevent people from knowing. I told my friends that my Learning Strategies class for special education students was actually a "homework class."

I had to write many projects about my issues in projects for my Health and Society and Professional Writing programs before I felt confident to talk about everything in person. I'm not sure how writing helped me open up to people about everything, even outside of an academic context. Anyone have any suggestions?

I'm feeling guilty today. I felt well for the entire day, yet I'm sitting here writing about my issues, possibly implying that I'm not doing well. A major effect of my health issues is that they are a huge part of my life even when I'm not experiencing the symptoms. Every day I wonder how I will feel later. There is always something that reminds me of experiences I've had being sick or a situation that makes me conscious of my issues.

I was looking at a blog devoted to orchids today and it made me think of the orchids my mom brought me after my wisdom teeth were extracted. When I wash my hair, I feel my shunt and its valve. I concentrate when I go up or down stairs to make sure I don't fall. I take my pulse before and after I take my heart medications if I can't feel it beating.

A friend of mine commented that I wrote about my visits to the cardiologist, neurologist and internist very casually. It's a good point! I'm always conscious of my issues and I'm very used to going to doctors to try to solve them. Specialists have always been a part of my life. I've always needed regular check-ups with them, even if I'm well. It's so routine that until my friend noted my casual discussion, I didn't realize that to most people, a neurologist and cardiologist seem like a big, big deal! So by writing about these and not explaining the mildness of my issues, I might be implying that I am a very ill person. THAT IS NOT THE CASE! I just need to have things checked to make sure they're all okay.

My regular appointments actually make me conscious of the mildness of my issues the doctors almost always tell me everything is fine and that I only need to come back in a year. Also, doctors usually tell me that I only have mild versions of the conditions I have. They talk to me like I'm just getting a check-up for a cold, not showing sympathy for the symptoms I describe. I guess their nonchalance rubs off on me!


  1. I think 'talking' in Blogland, is a great way of discovering just how many like minded people there are around the world, and as far as health issues, it doesn't take long to appreciate there are so many benfits to 'telling all' and seeing the grteat array of feedback from those worse off than yourself, or better, come to that !
    Thanks for dropping by and leaving such a nice comment today!

  2. Jinksy, thank you for noting the strong community aspect of "blogland." Others' experiences help me put my own into perspective.I'm sure I have a lot to offer those who may be new to the intimidating experience of the health profession or are having difficulty adjusting to being sick or having a disability.

    We all have our issues and one of my fears about keeping a blog was that I thought I was somehow declaring that my problems were more significant than those of others. It seemed cocky of me to feel my story was worthy being read.

    I got over my fears when I realized some unique qualities of Blogland: LOADS of people have blogs and I'm not the only non-famous person to have one; the best themed blogs are written by those who have some authority on a subject -- my 23 years of dealing with everything surely makes me an authority; I have a professional writing degree and it seems appropriate to showcase my skills in a public way.

    I enjoy reading all sorts of blogs and I only comment if something powerful or noteworthy has struck me. Comments on blogs are so helpful because it creates a discourse within the community. The entries don't end after we publish them! New comments make me think about my life differently and force me to dig even deeper when I comment. My blog is a memoir in process.

  3. It's sad how many people are worried about the reactions they'll get for sharing information about themselves over things that they have no control over, isn't it? I'm sorry that you had to worry about that.

    On the other hand, I'm so proud of how much you've grown in the last five years! I obviously haven't NOTICED the change since I didn't know you before, but from how it sounds you've progressed a lot in being more open and that's amazing.

    And don't feel guilty for being a lazy ass on a day when you're feeling fine - I'm sure it's nice to CHOOSE to be a lazy ass. I love choosing to be a hermit for the day. It's a great way to spend a day when you COULD do something else. You're allowed those days too :)