Our community talks about chronic illness with compassion and without judgment.
This has been on my mind a lot recently because I’m in this situation again. Also, I think most people (thankfully) don’t truly understand this.
I’m talking about is when you are literally too sick, in too much pain, to go to the doctor. It’s a horrible situation, but almost laughable in how absurd it sounds. But it happens. Just like there are times when you’re too sick to go to an event, or to have a bath. Or to walk to the kitchen.
I think most people know what it’s like to feel lousy, to cancel plans because they just don’t feel up to it. They decide they need to take care of their flu, cold or infection of some sort. But, if they had to, they could physically do it – they would just feel crappy doing it. It would be hard.
But, there are people, who, when they say they can’t go, truly can’t go. No one wants to go to the doctor, but you drag yourself there because you need to get better. You need antibiotics. Or some other medicine or test.
But, right now, I have a tooth infection. It’s an infection I’ve already taken and finished antibiotics for, and it’s not better. I would love to and I need to see a doctor. But, I have a kidney stone that decided to move into a really painful spot. It is causing me so much agony that even my hardcore pain medication can’t put a dent in it. I can’t walk. I can’t sit straight. I can’t lay down. I’m remaining in this odd, slouchy position, and if I stay completely still, I can sort of cope.
I’m dirty. I’ve been sweating and I smell sick. I need a bath. I really need a bath or a shower. But, that’s not a possibility for me right now. I can’t raise my leg without experiencing agony that I can’t describe. I can’t do it. I can’t do the movements required to get into the tub or to wash myself.
I also can’t fathom being able to get to the doctor, sit in the waiting room, seeing the doctor, going to the pharmacy and then somehow manage to get home. It’s just not something I can do right now.
Yesterday, I had to cancel going to a family event. My significant other went and took pictures so I wouldn’t miss out on all the birthday celebrations. But, me saying I couldn’t go again is me actually not being physically able to go. I hope my loved ones know that I would if I could. I’m pretty stubborn, so I have managed to do a lot of things while in extreme pain. But when pain gets to this level, no amount of stubbornness can make it achievable.
I think most fairly healthy people automatically think, “Well, they could come, but they aren’t feeling well. It’s better if they relax and take care of themselves.” But they don’t realize that it’s actually not a choice made because it’s wise. It’s not a choice at all. It’s just impossible.
Yet, if you tell a friend you aren’t going to the doctor, even though you have a tooth infection, they get upset and concerned, saying you need to go! Yes, I do need to go. But I can’t. And that sucks more for me because I know what my body can do with an infection in a short period of time. It could get really bad. But, the only way I’d be seeing a doctor in this shape is if I called an ambulance. I’m not calling an ambulance unless I’m potentially dying. They can’t help my kidney pain any more than I’m already helping it, and I’m not calling an ambulance for a tooth infection that isn’t horribly abscessed. That wouldn’t go over well with the emergency room at the hospital.
So, I slouch here, at home, hoping my kidney stone will move to a better spot soon, so that I can go to a doctor and get this tooth infection taken care of. It’s all I have right now. Hope. Hope that it improves. Hope that neither my kidney or tooth worsens to the point where I do need to call that ambulance.