On Elephants and A-w-k-w-a-r-d Explanations

It is unavoidably awkward to explain to folks (or even to not explain to folks) that you take off work to travel half way across the country to go to the doctor when you aren’t fighting some sort of terminal illness.

So, usually, I don’t explain myself.

I get some sort of perverse pleasure out of leaving people guessing.  I am afraid I really do.  It’s like dressing the elephant in the room in a safety orange vest with reflectors and flashing lights.  And, it keeps me in control of the conversation.  Which, frankly, is exactly how it should be when it comes to my health.

Am I wrong?

Having said all that, I have learned it is important for the folks near me to know about my health.  You know… in case something goes wrong and I need help.  And, I suppose, as I discussed here, overcoming my pride is a process that requires I practice often, and with consistency.

Now, don’t misunderstand.  I by no means tell all.

I am guarded.

Extremely so.  In many areas of my life, not just in regards to my health.

There are plenty of those awkward moments when someone asks where I’ll be for however many weeks I’ve planned to be away from work, and all I say is, “Out west,” or “In Arizona.” and just keep spelling “a-w-k-w-a-r-d” until the awkward stops, the topic changes, and/or they walk away.

Again, like I said.  I just love dressing up that elephant.

But, really?  It’s a need-to-know.


3 Responses

  • Kirsten on December 22, 2011, 08:38:28

    Hello, I’m so glad to have found your blog. After years of doctors telling me that “you look fine, you don’t look sick” or “if I sent you down to disability office they’d take one look at you and deny your application. You look healthy too me.” Your blog has given me hope and inspired me to take control of my health. Thank you so much!!

    I’ve taken the “less is more” approach for so long. Until recently I’ve never mentioned FMS to my employer. My boss is very sweet and understanding. She offered to change my schedule until “I got better.” But you know as well as I know that fibro is unpredictable and laughs in the face of schedules.

    How have you handled the unpredictable nature of fibro in your life? It has gotten to the point where my friends have stopped inviting me places or calling me because they just assume I’m not feeling well.

    Can you recommend any tips?

    P.s. I was also thinking about beginning my own Mayo clinic journey. Do you have any referrals? I honestly don’t know where to start!

    Reply to Kirsten
  • Jena on December 22, 2011, 10:37:35

    🙂 Yet another reason I think you’re so awesome.

    Reply to Jena
  • Terry on December 22, 2011, 12:43:43

    You made me laugh. Ya know… the elephant thing. I so very much get it. How can you explain something like Fibro to anyone anyway. I tried at first and got those blank stares. Then came the fibro fixing commercials on T.V. What a joke. Talk about minimizing the problem. I really like the elephant. God Bless!

    Reply to Terry