Tuesday, September 18, 2007

That Old *Guilt Trip for Being Sick* Thing

Monday, September 3

This is Labor Day. Over the weekend, starting Friday, the camp here was packed. Full house. It puts me in mind of a hotel: SORRY, NO VACANCIES! Long ago I had a few stints as night auditor at hotels, and being all sold out was a wonderful thing. Oh, it spread sunshine and happiness and stress and overtime pay and busybusyness throughout the staff, all around.

I was supposed to come last week, well before the weekend. There were plenty of spaces available, and once you’re in, you get first dibs - newcomers can make reservations, but they can’t reserve specific campsites. If you’re here you get to keep your spot. That’s why I wanted to come earlier.

Well - that, and the fact that winter is already approaching up here. It’s well into autumn, the leaves are all turning, and I can’t abide cold weather. Like many people with fibromyalgia, it causes me intense physical pain. Our way overdeveloped and miswired nerve network actually misinterprets the sensation of *cold* as *pain.*

But…I couldn’t get here earlier. Livey was sick, way sick, and no way could I leave her alone in that condition. She was in terrible straits.

She knew her illness delayed my trip, and in a way that significantly impacted my plans for a small vacation.

Now we run into a situation that so many chronically ill people have to deal with: Guilt. She was getting eaten up with guilt because her sickness caused my vacation plans to get postponed.

I saw it coming and oh, lord, I know that feeling so very well. It was a bit unexpected to experience it from the other side.

I explained some things the way Walter has to me. I told her this: --It’s not your FAULT that you’re sick.

Did you get sick for fun? To amuse yourself some way at my expense? Because you actually enjoy suffering?

Of course not.

of COURSE not!

I know that. I’ve been in your shoes many times. This is one of those life situations where you just have to say, --Shit happens.-- It happens to me all the time. It’s a normal part of my life. I have plans to go do something, and I can’t go, because I’M too sick. That’s why I always have alternative plans for fun. If I can’t do this thing, then I just move to Plan B. It’s one of the methods I use to stay happy.

McLain will still be there when it’s time to go. Those rocks aren’t going anywhere either. They’ll always have beautiful rocks for me to look for, okay?

Besides, this is my chance to pay you back for when YOU've had to take care of ME.

I think I finally got through to her. She seemed to feel better.


Because when you care about someone, the last thing you want is to watch them hurting even worse than they already are, just because their illness impacted your life too. Part of being sick all the time, one of those many life lessons it has to teach you, is to let others help you and not feel bad about accepting it.

It’s a very hard lesson, a very difficult thing to do, to accept help even when it costs your friends some effort, or time, or money, or changes in plans. But: That’s what friends are for.


Livey said...

And I am so grateful that you were here to help me! Thank you, I love you!

Rose said...

I have been reading both yours and Livey blogs for awhile now... I just love the fact that you guys care about one another like you do.... its very refreshing......

kdzu said...

Fellow once told me "without someone to render service to, how would the renderor receive the blessings that come through service"? Kinda puts it into perspective. And some times we need the help ourselves. Enjoy you vacation.