Its a beautiful weekend, the sun has been shining, Euro 2008 has started, England have won the cricket convincingly... can i enjoy it? No. Because I have spent the whole weekend rapidly descending a spiral of paranoia. And for once it's not UC related. Well, I say that, but i wonder if the underlying reasons are actually to do with living with a chronic disease.
At best, I would say that UC has made me a more reflective and conservative person. In many ways I am a far healthier person. Healthier that is, except for my colon, joints and... the fact I'm increasingly becoming a mentalist. I'm guessing that I would be typical of most chronic illness sufferers in that I am much more introspective than I ever used to be. I pretty much consider the consequences of every thing I do and, especially, eat. I literally cannot do anything on a whim or impulse any more. Virtually every decision I make is preceeded by the thought: "mmm, how will that affect the UC?". And I can talk myself out of anything on those grounds. I spend all day every day weighing up the relative importance of every twinge in my stomach and every bump or lump on my limbs. I have to constantly fight with myself to prevent my becoming utterly superstitious and reading portents and omens in everything. For instance, I can rarely bring myself to admit out loud that I'm feeling OK, and things are quite settled... that would be tempting fate. And, of course, I have to salute every bloody magpie that I pass. See, MENTAL!
So, it is with this crazy attitude that I have struggled through a weekend in which I have developed a cold. I'm afraid I am beyond the stereotypical man-flu archetype. Oh no, sir, no simple influenza for me. I had a particularly nasty bout of pneumonia in february and was hospitalized for a week (HA! as if i dont see enough of that place as it is) - it was horrible. I thought I was going to die. But I didn't. In fact I very much got better (another 6 week spell off work, but it must made a change for them to write pneumonia instead of UC on the paperwork. Incidently, 'hilarious' rumours spread among the kids at school like wildfire: cancer, AIDS... amputation!?). However, as a sniffle developed into a cold, and then moved down on to my chest, it has been terrifyingly easy for me to convince myself that IT'S BACK - I'M GOING TO DIIIIIEEEEE OF PNEUMONIA. God, I have spent hours breathing deeply to pinpoint any chest pain. I have tried repeatedly to take my own temperature - without a thermometer - "Oh Christ, I feel really hot..." yes, it's hot and sunny out today, you idiot. And most grotesquely I have developed a disgracful new habit of ejecting anything I cough up to inspect it for anything nasty (this has to be an extension of religiously examining poo). I don't even know what I'm looking for. Somebody heeeeellppp me...
Rituals of Loss
3 months ago