A few close friends of mine have what the medical community calls “invisible illnesses”. Heart, hormone conditions, vitamin deficiencies, gastrointestinal stuff that you cannot see simply by looking at someone. These people often have to live by the spoon analogy, which I’m not going to go into here but if you’re curious and haven’t heard of it googling spoons and chronic illness should he sufficient to find the explaination. It sucks because these are people I love and care about who are frequently and repeatedly not given a fair shake because people don’t know any better. My frustration today stems from interacting with people who do know better and are still either do not care enough or simply do not give enough of a shit to make any kind of accommodation for people who might be a few spoons down.
I have what is to me at least, a very visible scar on my neck that was not there less than 3 months ago. When I first went back to work and out into the world i tried to hide it more but it was just more time and effort than i am willing to put in on a daily basis. Due to the nature of my job in the medical field and their own nosiness my co workers know a lot about my condition and treatment. Lots of details and information shared but also apparently not a lot of shits given. Not really at least. For maybe the first two weeks after I was back I was given a little extra consideration and for the first 6 weeks i couldn’t lift anything heavy because they didn’t want to take any chance of me straining my neck. Apparently now despite the visible sign of my surgery less than 3 months old and the details I have to share in preparation for the upcoming ablation I am supposed to be fine. This pisses me off for a number of reasons more personal to my job having to do with people who never pull their weight. But also on several levels having to do with illness. Over the past couple of months I have been sick several times and had to miss days. It’s unfortunate and not what I want but it seems to me at least that would be something normal or even expected since they removed an organ from my body. And not just any organ but one that controls a lot of my hormone levels. Apparently this seems to be unacceptable to my co workers. A woman I work with does not like to call in sick. We have paid sick days so she would not lose anything to not be in if she’s miserable which this week you could see she was. After being hacked at and coughed on all week long i woke up Friday morning to my throat feeling like a cheese grater had run along the inside of it. So not wanting to potentially expose anyone else to this gross feeling i stayed home. I found out later that this woman who is likely a good portion of the reason that I got sick in the first place, felt the need to comment about my absence and how she was sick all week and hadn’t called off. She is a very two faced person and this behavior doesn’t surprise me. But it irritates me for a lot of reasons. I have had positions where you don’t get sick days. Where you better have a drs note no matter how miserable you are or sometimes you have to come to work unless you’re pretty much non stop puking. This is not one of those jobs. We try to be understanding and make accommodations because people get sick. Especially this time of year. And if she truly felt that she could work through her illness, that’s fine, good for her. I don’t believe that there are truly stereotypical cancer cases, I think everyone is different and everyone’s symptoms and abilities are different at different stages in their care. So while I might look and act great most of the time and I am certain in comparison to some cancer patients I look amazing, I am still a cancer patient with ongoing treatment.
I feel as though I’ve lost the thread a bit here. Maybe there wasn’t much of one to begin with. Regardless I am angry. Maybe it all goes back to those spoons. I don’t have as many as I used to. I am hopeful that when my main treatment is finished that I might get a few back. But I guess I feel like everyone regardless of how many you’ve got up your sleeve, everyone could stand to be a little bit kinder. Because those spoons can be precious.