Don’t pity me!

So with the new 2016 Spring Catalog look…I’m getting LOOKS! Which after wearing a back brace for months I’m used to people staring at me, but somehow when you have both knees braced you get a different kind of look. I am getting the oh I feel so sorry for you, you’re life must suck look…the poor baby look. Now I just want to vomit when I get those looks. I know I should be more empathetic towards people right? There is a fine line between being empathetic with a person and pitying a person and I don’t want pity.

Yes wearing two knee braces is not the most comfortable thing in the world, but its more comfortable than hearing my knees click, snap and pop every time I stand up. They get hot to wear in warmer weather, they slip down as you can imagine, but they are helping. My leg muscles get sore from wearing them, my back gets sore and I lose balance every once in awhile from wearing them. So yes all that sucks, but I’ve had crap knees for 8 years now, this isn’t something new. I played soccer as a child and teen and probably helped them become what they are today from that. If you want to tell me how much the situation sucks go ahead, but be empathetic with me don’t pity me.

One of the images I will never be able to forget is having the trauma doctor look me straight in the face and say “I don’t know how you are alive. You should be dead!” A million thoughts raced through my head before I quickly replied back “Well I’m alive and I plan on keeping it that way, so what’s the plan?” To have a doctor tell you that you should be dead is one of the scariest moments a person can live through. To have to repeat that moment 2 more times, and to have doctors repeatedly tell your family she might not wake up is an experience I pray you don’t experience.

I know I laugh and joke about the health stuff, but at the end of the day I know how serious it is, I live it day in and day out. I live with the constant pain, right now I’m living with the high heart rate and chest pains. I live with the dizziness and the balance issues. I fill out the forms and I write and check all the yes boxes and I know doctors have to be thinking, she has to be kidding….but I’m not. They meet me for the first time I give them the medical history they hear about all the issues and wonder how I am still smiling. I’m still smiling because I beat the odds. I am still alive.

I was in physical therapy yesterday very frustrated because I couldn’t do what I wanted to do. I finally get the exercise down, we do the first set, we rest. I go to do the second set and I can’t remember how to do the exercise. I wanted to cry. I didn’t. I wanted to get mad, I didn’t outwardly get mad, but I just told them I can’t get my body to do what you want. I know I just did it, but I can’t remember how to do it again. THAT, that has been the most frustrating part of the neurological issues. Not getting my body to cooperate with me. We did have a good day even with my body not wanting to do the new exercise more than one set.

So moral of the story is keep in mind when talking with anyone with a chronic illness/chronic pain there is a fine line between empathy and pity. It’s fine to be empathetic but don’t make them feel like you are pitying them.

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