21 July 2017



Things have not improved overnight as hoped. Changed, yes, certainly, and unfortunately. There is seemingly no end to the stuff that can pop out of my box of surprises.  I am now back in the all too familiar territory of heavy vertigo (plus sudden onset sciatica or what the heck), only this time it's not the world that's turning but me who is tottering and reeling like a common and garden drunk towards the left when I don't watch myself.  After the first 24 weird hours, R dragged me to the GP this morning where we debated a trip to A&E with all that this entails. In the end, we decided on the old familiar wait and see method with strict instructions when to call an ambulance. This will pass, no doubt, I am far more confident than the rest of them.

Because, I have learned that I need to live all I can because it would be a mistake not to (thank you Henry James).  But I have learned that pity and being considered poorly gets massively in the way.
What makes it extra hard sometimes almost always is that I seem to have to defend my needs and hopes and wishes in the face of my diagnosis. The labels chronic and reduced life expectancy are a powerful and nasty curse. As a result, I need to be more convincing about my goals than I needed to be while I was well. But that was years and years ago. Maybe I am embellishing here. I have never been superwoman.

In my ideal world, illness would be just another characteristic of an individual and not the one that everybody thinks as the defining one. Being ill has forced me to figure out a whole new set of skills and some of these feel like obstacles that a healthy society has created to put me in my place.
I get it, though. I used to be that healthy person dishing out advice on diet and lifestyle, impatiently waiting - if at all - for someone a bit slower and more out of breath, never considering how medical appointments and treatments can rule your life.
Don't get me wrong, I love advice and pity can be a balm on a hard day. Unless when it clangs, when it's all there is - seemingly. (I am probably getting this wrong.)

Rest assured. Occasionally, I reach a stage where I am beginning to realise that we are all struggling, healthy or ill. And that health - whatever we think it is - has little to do with.

Totally unrelated, we welcomed two small lemon trees (one Sicilian, one Meyer) and a sturdy feijoa tree to the garden commune yesterday.

13 comments:

  1. What a pretty, pretty garden and I love your pumpkin vine.
    As to the rest- all I can say is that I am grateful for your constant reminder to live our lives fully while we can.
    Thank you. I know you do.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Exactly what Ms. Moon said!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I am sorry about the vertigo. A reduced ability to go where you want, when you want, and do what you want, how you want, sucks. But it does make one creative. You, my dear, are awesomely creative. Sending love.

    ReplyDelete
  4. So glad you can still find solace in your garden even when you feel rubbish.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ah Sabine, you are so right about this: we are all struggling, healthy or ill. And that health - whatever we think it is - has little to do with. Yes, each of us has our "tsuris," (yiddish for troubles). Thinking of you and always hoping for the best. Your garden looks lush and beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  6. "In my ideal world, illness would be just another characteristic of an individual and not the one that everybody thinks as the defining one."

    Yes!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Bravo to you for always speaking your truth, and for not letting this illness define you. So often I have seen you take the worst of it and use it as the inspiration to write an amazing piece. Today is one of those days. And...I just bought a Meyer lemon tree, too.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Your garden is looking beautiful! I'm sorry the vertigo has reared its ugly head.

    ReplyDelete
  9. "In my ideal world, illness would be just another characteristic of an individual and not the one that everybody thinks as the defining one. Being ill has forced me to figure out a whole new set of skills and some of these feel like obstacles that a healthy society has created to put me in my place."

    Thank you. Yes. There is so much more that defines you and all of us. Beauty and love in your garden.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Garden looks lovely. Oh, that miserable "reeling like a drunk" feeling -- can wish for you there was a magic wand to wave "begone"! Struggling with something or other seems to be our fate, sooner or later, with some more challenging than others, but I don't have to tell you. Am sure it helps that you can see yourself -- that your illness is not you, though it must seem like that sometimes.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I've been reading quite a lot of Lorraine Hansberry's words of late. She mentions that problems are inherent in our daily lives, and in the context of whiney undergraduate students, it makes sense. However, I wish health problems didn't exist for us. Feh!

    ReplyDelete
  12. My garden is my place of peace. When things look grim, I go there. When I'm feeling grateful, I go talk to my flowers. I feel blessed by the humming bird who visits. May your illness be eased.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I'm finally catching up to you and your wonderful blog. The proper response would be about essay length, I think. I was struck by your insight about "side effects." These are not minor, and they can get worse. My optometrist confirms that the cataract in my left eye is due to taking the cortisone that I need to endure the side effects of the chemotherapy. So I need a drug that has side effects in order to deal with the side effects of another drug!
    But the living life part is important. I've learned to go forth and do things even when I don't feel that well. But at a deeper level, James was talking about being unafraid to live and take the consequences of that, the good and the bad.
    I know how seductive it can be to simply become an invalid, but I do try to keep going in spite of never feeling all that well.
    I do hope your vertigo goes away.

    ReplyDelete