So I wrote this post a while ago and then fell unfortunately quite ill again never making it “back” to work, so it’s a little out of context but wanted to share it anyway.
Woof. This is a doozie but just happened and has me feeling all kinds of ways, and I should write about said feelings yes? That is generally the purpose of blogs right? Right. So let us dive in: the past almost 3 months or so the struggle has been real, pretty incapacitating shit, flaring on all cylinders you know the drill. This fuckery on behalf of my immune system, resulted in me needing to take some considerable time off work, which I hate for a host of reasons but that’s not the title of today’s post so I’m not getting into it. I am new to my school this year, after leaving my previous teaching job due to how my illness was handled, so mucho anxiety surrounding the whole thing.
Today was my first day “back” though I had a few false starts and relapsed which sucked because of the welcome backs, anyway I digress, and I was of course greeted with lots of love from my kiddos who don’t get the whole chronic illness thing they’re just like, “hooray you’re better!” And I’m like, “hooray sure not really but it’s fine yay!” As well as the usual “Good to see you,” or “Welcome back” from my coworkers. However the surprise came in the form of a simple envelope with my name on it containing a “Get Well” card signed by the whole staff.
So at first I was ready to just burst into tears because I think that card with all those names felt like some kind of validation that as someone with a virtually invisible illness you never get. It felt like them saying we see your struggle and we support you, and that was fucking monumental. I still haven’t even read all the nice shit people said because I’ll cry and then flare up and it’ll be a whole mess. My own husband can’t even say nice things about me without me blubbering let alone my professional peers? Fuck.
But for some reason in the back of my mind along with this amazing feeling of support and validation I had a familiar twinge of bitterness. As I’m sitting here looking at this sunshine-y bumble bee and the bright flowers on my card, I read the sunny yellow letters, Get Well Wishes…there it is. That familiar twinge of bitterness did have a reason. It’s those those two words that always seem to find us Get Well. This is one of those things much like the phenomenon I mentioned when discussing my tremor, it’s always well intentioned but it’s also kind of really grinds my gears ya know? I have no idea who bought the card and the extent to which they knew my health situation so this instance didn’t bother me but, even some of my extended family members still say shit like Get Well Soon, and I want to be like bitch do you know what chronic means?
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For so many of us there is no permanent well, or all better or cure and it’s one of those things where at least I’ve found you really have to teach people how you want to be treated. Like hey maybe don’t say “Get Well soon” to a patient with a disease they’ll have for the rest of their life. Not cool bro, not cool. Maybe say “I hope you can feel a little better” or “get some rest.”
The card my coworkers got for me really shows where things are for a lot of people with chronic and invisible illness. It was validating and acknowledged my experience and showed support. However things still aren’t quite there yet in terms of knowing what it means to have these illnesses. When I say autoimmune disease in the break room people are like, “wait…what?” and every time I have those welcome back hugs from my kiddos and chats with coworkers and then relapse and have to extend my leave, I know people don’t totally get it. But nonetheless my sunshiney bumble bee card is proudly on the fridge because semantics aside I am truly grateful for the intention and show of support from my school. Thinking of my team and the faces of my kiddos keeps me going, here’s to hoping I “Get well soon.”