Decisions, Decisions…

Hmmm.  My leg is not getting better.  I drew a line around the red area, and I look at it every morning, and the red still comes right up to the line.  Truthfully, it is inching over the line toward my ankle.  That isn’t good for cellulitis.  You want the redness to recede, and the tenderness to go away, and the swelling, firm feeling of that area to decrease-all are signs of improvement.  But it’s sort of an awkward time to make a decision.  This evening it will be 72 hours since my first pill.  I don’t want to jump the gun and say that medicine isn’t working without a reasonable trial, so I will wait until tomorrow morning, look at my leg and my ink line again, and decide.  It seems to be safe to do this since there’s no evidence that my ankle joint is involved (it has no pain or swelling), there’s no red streaking up my leg (indicating lymphatic involvement), and I don’t have a fever.  Yes, this is medical thinking, balancing this against that, lining up the evidence, being patient, considering what is significant and what is peripheral.

This leg is causing issues.  Issues-why do we use that word so much now?  I think we use it to keep from defining what is actually happening.  “I have issues with being here by myself” rather than admitting “I am lonely” or “I am afraid.”  Or “She has mental health issues” rather than “she is schizophrenic”.  It’s a vagueness, a euphemism, a covering-up of the real depth and seriousness of a problem.  Or maybe it’s a laziness, our desire to keep thinking at bay and not use the neurons to truly discern what the problem is. 

The issue with the leg is uncertainty.  I am scheduled to go to an easy, sitting down all day inside vendor situation with a friend next weekend.  The cellulitis must resolve for me to do that.  I have no way of predicting whether it will heal or not.  After so many years of similar spells of uncertainty, all caused by various complications of disease, it doesn’t bother me much to be in this position.  I’m poised to deal with going or staying.  But I hate how it affects my friends and family.  I frequently disappoint people who thought we had firm plans, and for some people it prevents them ever making a plan with me.  I have lost friendships with people who were a bit paranoid about this.  They felt that I was selecting them to cancel on, like my disease was adversely affecting some friends more than others.  (“You only get flares when you are planning an outing with me, never with Sally Sue…”)  One former friend ended a friendship emphatically telling me this, and when I next saw her, in the airport in another city, I had deteriorated to using a cane (temporarily) and was visibly ill and she pretended she didn’t see me.

That’s okay.  There are many reasons that relationships fall apart, and sometimes chronic illness in one of the friends or partners is the reason.  It changes the way we relate to one another, and the things that we can enjoy together, and we either change the relationship to fit that, or we part company.  I have some friends that I know I will never lose over a change of plans.  We have found a way to enjoy ourselves despite the uncertainties.  And we don’t seem to aggravate the situation by constantly dwelling on them.  We make plans that involve making a plan today, and enjoying it, or planning something that we can enjoy despite having a bad health day at the time. 

(Long swig of fizzy water.)

A bit of follow-up on my family relations angst:  My two out-of-town sisters endured a three-hour show obligation last night, then scurried over to see me.  I was delighted!  We had so much fun, visiting past 2 a.m., talking and having a midnight supper and laughing ourselves silly.  My sisters all have strong personalities, and they are interesting individuals to be around.  Lucy loves them all dearly. 

Congrats to my relative (you know who you are!) who is being haled as a tremendously talented performer!  This comes as no surprise to me. 



3 Responses

  1. On the subject of our frequent use of the term “issues”… maybe in this rapidly changing (medical, social & scientific) environment, we realize that in so many cases, what we considered to be fact has reveled itself not to be the complete truth. It is a highly over-used word, but I will continue to use “issues” in situations that I believe need further exploration or evolution before being labeled.

  2. I didn’t know you call me Sally Sue! Hope those badd staph guys are related to the b-cells. (O you know what I mean)

  3. And, your relative, Little Egypt, was lovely, and I was thrilled to see her and her mom and the flock of admirers surrounding her afterwards. I enjoyed every minute of the show – Great Singing and Dancing, and especially the familiar historical parts – even though I wasn’t born yet!

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