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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Chronic Illness

I try to count my blessings every day that I am generally pretty healthy. Outside of an acid-reflux problem that requires to me to take a daily pill and my weight being too much at times, I have no health complaints. I do, however, have someone in my family who suffers from a chronic illness.

"Chronic illness" - Even the words sound strangely painful. I guess we should thank Dr Dre from at least taking the sting out of the word "chronic".

Now I know that actually having a chronic illness is far worse than having to live with/be around someone who does. Making that kind of comparison is not what I'm talking about here. Given the choice, I'll gladly not have that condition, thank you very much. Never the less, having a front row seat during the chronic illness show has it's own set of problems. Things flash through my head all the time:

"I wish he/she would get a flu shot, because a bad bout of that could do a lot of damage."

"Is that cold going to develop into pneumonia again?"

"He/She doesn't like to use public bathrooms, so urinating during work isn't happening. How much kidney damage is being done?"

"What are the long term effects of not eating right?"

"He/she is always so tired that he/she never exercises, ever. That can't be good."

"Is that pain in the chest a heart attack or some kind of heart ailment?"

"He/she doesn't drink enough water, which is having a negative impact on their blood pressure."

I know, it's always easier on the outside to arm-chair quarterback health decisions for someone else. However, there is something incredibly cruel about having to watch someone slowly disintegrate, one gram at at time, in front of you. Heck we are all slowly disintegrating, but it's that extra push on the morbidity accelerator pedal they get from a chronic illness that makes it all see so much more horrid.

It all reminds of that scene in the move "A Clockwork Orange" where the lead character is forced to have his eyes kept open while he is deprogrammed.

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