Friday, June 29, 2012

Sick Momma's Theory of Relativity

I promise this won't be a post full of math equations. (Although I've been watching the series Numb3rs on DVD and wishing some of my high school math teachers had let me know all the ultra cool ways you can use math!)

I recently visited a new rheumatologist, and while I did get some good information from her, I was struck more by the paperwork that I had to fill out prior to my appointment.

In particular, in a section titled Activities of Daily Living, there was one of those line drawings, with a scale of one (very poorly) to five (very well), asking me to circle a number that best described my situation: Most of the time, I function ...

My initial impulse was to circle #3: Okay.

Because really, five years into this chronic illness situation, my life has adjusted (i.e. shrunk) to the point that I do feel like I'm managing okay. I get by. I am able to do most of the things I need to do, even if I can't approach doing as much as I want to do.

After that question, there was a long list of activities, like bathing, obtaining restful sleep, working, engaging in leisure activities, that I had to check a box on whether my health problems made them difficult usually, sometimes or not at all.

After I went through that list, I had to re-think my response to the scale on how I function because it became clear to me that I had lost my sense of what normal really is for most people.  

Everything is relative.

Compared to how bad things get when I'm very flared, I am functioning okay. Compared to how little I could do after my hospitalization back in July 2007, I'm functioning very well.

But when I stretch my memory back to what life was like before I got sick, when I compare my levels of functionality to what I see my friends and acquaintances managing to do, I'm somewhere between very poorly and poorly. Compared to how some of my friends in the chronic illness community, I'm functioning well.

So there you go -- Sick Momma's Theory of Relativity: At the same time, I'm doing both better than I used to do and worse than I used to do, all at the same time.



Joey said...

Hi again Sick Momma,

Another great post. I often take this theory for granted too, and then when it clicks, I count my blessings. The other day, frustration with a project led to some fit throwing, balls rolling into fists, & other forms of roid rage (jk. Only creatine for me!) Then I remembered: 2 years ago, this minute of tantrum would've thrown me into a prolonged crash. Being able to express negative emotions and not suffer dearly? This would be considered a blessing in only one frame of mind: relativity. Realizing this completely reversed a fit into content.

Thanks for the healthy reminder. We should all be more mindful of how far we've come from our bottom and be thankful for every upward step we make along the way. It makes this whole journey to the abyss & back 10x more rewarding, doesn't it?

Joey said...

Yikes! Sorry for re-submitting the earlier comment so many times! I thought the captcha wasn't going through and started throwing a fit (ha!) before realizing it had already been saved about 20235235 times.

Persistence doesn't always pay off :)

Aviva said...

Joey: :) Totally been there, done that on the comment form on other blogs! :) Thanks for the comments -- I'm glad you found my blog and now I found yours too, along with your FB page, which I just liked. I look forward to getting to know you!

Yocheved said...

Amazingly accurate! I try very hard not to look back, because I end up grieving the "old me" all over again.