Monday, March 06, 2006

Will I shatter or simply fade away...?

The human body really is amazing. When you think about everything that has to work together for you to be able to go about your day, do the things you don't think twice about, it really is an amazing thing. But of course when everything is working correctly you usually don't think about how it all works, you just kind of know it works and maybe you appreciate it for working or maybe you don't think about it at all. Maybe you take it for granted, maybe you abuse your body by throwing alcohol and other substances into it without thinking about what it might be doing to your body. I'm not judging, not saying it's wrong to live life and use your body to the fullest. But what would you do if one day your body stopped working right?

It might not be anything major like a heart attack. It might not be anything you notice right away but something that sneaks up on you. And then before you know it, you live your life through a computer screen, days spent in bed with the covers pulled up tight and a space heater close by to keep the chills at bay. Something as simple and necessary as eating becomes a daily struggle - between waves of nausea you try to get in a few crackers or a bowl of jello. When you stand up, you have to brace yourself until the spots before your eyes and lightheadedness fade away and you know the danger of blacking out has passed. Your body is falling apart. And you wonder how you got here!?!

This life certainly wasn't the one you were headed for back when you would imagine the future when you were little. Or was it? Was this the life you were predestined for from before you were born? Do you even believe in destiny? Was there some choice you made, some path you went off on that has brought you to this point? And does fairness play any role in it all? Questions. Questions upon questions rolling around in your mind until there is no quiet. (And you wonder why you have insomnia!)

You watch people walking around and wonder if they ever think about how lucky they are to be able to walk around under their own power. You watch people sitting down for dinner, plates piled high with meat and pasta or rice and dessert not too far off, and you wonder if they see that there are people who rejoice on days when they are able to eat (and keep down) more than saltines and jello and add up more than 300 calories at the end of the day. You see people so preoccupied with their weight they are willing to do anything to lose a few pounds and you wonder if they realize that there are people struggling to get enough nutrition to keep the weight on and who dread seeing the scale drop down another pound or two. You see this all because it is your world, but to the rest of the world it's an alien language.

There are no easy answers, despite the need for them. There are no easy fixes, despite the desparate yearning for them. There are doctors who don't listen and friends and family who don't understand. There are people who will call you a hypochondriac, say you are faking it, tell you it's all in your head, or just plain ignore that there is anything wrong. There is no avoiding this. So you must not only endure the days of pain, fatigue, your body going out of whack and falling further and further down into a pit of malfunction, but you must also deal with these people and use the precious energy you have to try to educate them, reason with them, and help them understand what you are dealing with.

As you can feel your body slipping further downhill. The questions keep invading your restless mind - Could I have done something to prevent this? Is there something more I should be doing now? And as you feel yourself getting worse, you must now possibly deal with the awful process of convincing doctors that you really do know your body. (If you could only tell them the treatment you need and have them listen to you, the process would go a lot smoother.) You fight them, you fire doctors, you search for others, and all the while very few people seem to see the slipping your body is still doing. And the questions of course continue and cannot be answered yet - What will finally happen to make the doctors believe me? Pay attention? Do something? How far down can my body fall before I crash on something? And can a body in this disarray shatter or will I simply fade away...?