Deadlines are everywhere. Today is a deadline for someone. The world is full of deadlines. Deadlines mean something different to me.
With chronic illness you are always sick. Every day. It is something you manage. But sometimes you get really fucking sick. Something new. Something different.
For me deadline day helps me cope with the really shitty part. It comes down to the fact that I am tired of going to the doctor. I go for the important stuff, therapy, treatment, major specialists and such but not for the MINOR dislocations, aches, stomach problems, dizziness, etc. But what I call minor affects my daily life and quality of life. Flares happen and new issues arise. But I try and wait to see if I can address them before seeking assistance.
I have put a set of rules on my symptoms because going to the doctor takes a lot of energy. I also sometimes need help getting there and I hate asking for help. Fucking hate it. I don’t know about other people but I really like my PCP and she is very kind and seems so overwhelmed dealing with me. I almost feel bad for her feelings of impotence. SO… I wait. If I can’t handle it myself in a certain amount of time, I go.
I have never heard anyone talk about this so I figured I’d give some insight, people like me have to do this in one way or another. I had a deadline day come and go this past Tuesday. I’ve had a fever and other symptoms, a flare start about 18 days ago. About a week in I put limits on it if it gets worse I will go, if it remains the same I will go to the doctor a week from now. I have tried everything myself. I have a strict regime of things I try to resolve issues. Rest, fluids, diet. perseverance. Do not, I repeat, do not open the Google or as I lovingly call it- Pandora’s Box.
I am still watching patterns and trying to find a system. Cause and effect.
Going to the doctor with chronic illness is difficult. Not just the showering and feeling done for the day before you have even left the house. The doctor’s don’t have much in their arsenal for you other than referrals and meds that make you feel impaired. In the US they pass you around and you get caught in a circle of referrals. You have to choose wisely when to go and when you do actually go, you may have a laundry list.
Point being you suffer for a very long time before going. When you can no longer handle the problem and are your wits end- you go. The worst part is sometimes you get help, sometimes you don’t. You may get a referral that takes 3 months and by then the daily nausea is part of you. The fever that lasted 16 weeks is now gone. What they don’t understand is that you waited for so long just to say something, just because they are seeing you today doesn’t mean it started today. You have been suffering for a long time tried to fix it before you came. I wait because I know what they are going to say and usually follow those rules and recommendations. I know how to treat a sprain, fever, stomach bug, allergic reaction etc. I also know when it is out of my hands.
I don’t know if I have mentioned this- but it really sucks to ask for help. People think you are weak and god forbid you may think you are weak. When you are weak or at least people think you are- they do not do what should come naturally, help.
The evolution of the deadline is a direct result of the doctor’s “wait and watch” approach. If I went for every dislocation, sprain, illness, I would have a standing appointment. Shit, I used to go so much when I was still fighting to not have this, before I realized that this was part of me now.
I still have the optimistic belief that this too shall pass, but damn…
Setting deadlines make me work very hard to avoid going to the doctor, again. They also give me a tangible system of prospective relief and hope. While my deadline passed and I still feel like crap, I have set another deadline. Maybe I can get a handle on it this time.