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Final Jeopardy

Sep 8, 2010

Uh…. “What is ‘Oklahoma’?”

Boy did I look smart in front of my über-educated husband who always beats me at Jeopardy and my 9-year-old daughter who always talks when *I* actually know the answer to one of the questions.  Not this time, my friends.  This time, Final Jeopardy just so happened to be about a subject I had been mocking in my blog earlier in the day to illustrate an oh-so-important point about chronic illness and the fear I have of becoming overly dramatic about it.

So, Boo-yah!  I was right this time!  And, yes, I did the sit-in-my-seat victory dance (not to be confused with the “shit-in-my-seat victory dance” :-/) because I didn’t feel well enough to do the stand-up-jig version.  I DO enjoy being right, I admit it.  I guess it’s ok to be a little dramatic sometimes :-)

But today, with last night’s victory quickly fading, I am parked at a desk that is about 10 feet from my bathroom for the sake of convenience, yet thankful that it faces a window so I can sort of feel like I am outside.  I can almost touch the branches of the huge, lopsided tree on my front lawn and like to imagine I am in a tree house while a balmy, yet steady breeze blows into my bedroom… warm enough to warrant a ponytail, but not so warm that I need to turn on the air-conditioner.  Between me and the bathroom is my son’s empty bedroom with a treadmill that stares accusingly at me whenever I pass by, and a clean floor that reminds me he’s away at college now.

As if I don’t have enough to think about, we are 2 months behind on our mortgage and I daily feel the pressure of being “unable to work”.  Sure, I bring in beaucoup bucks in disability money, but still :-/ – – my husband now works two jobs because I’m too sick to work even one, and we always live with the fear of wondering if we’ve paid our bills creatively enough so that none of our checks bounce.

So, I’m thinking about all the pricey medications I take and all the expenses I incur by being sick and it dawns on me:  I cost my family so much money because I’m sick , AND I can’t work for the same reason.  If I’m going to be home because I’m sick, I might as well stop taking all these expensive meds and just be home… sicker.  As I mentioned yesterday, I think in a logical, methodical sort of way (but I suppose I could sing this idea and tap my foot simultaneously); we are in debt up to our collective eyeballs and unable to spend money on other, important things because of me and my medical costs.  I am dragging this family down financially (and in other ways, too).

Tomorrow I go for an annual physical with my Primary Care Physician, whom I have known for about 22 years and who may know me better than anyone – at least health-wise.  Part of my visit will be a series of blood tests to try to determine why I am itchy everywhere but have a rash NOWHERE :-/  (make it stop!!)  Liver disease?  Remicade side effect?  Entocort side effect?  Two drugs interacting? 

This is crazy! 

I want her opinion about how much effort is being put into trying to avoid bowel resection surgery for my Crohn’s, which is the reason for most of my meds.  As much as I trust and admire my gastroenterologist, I have begun to believe that this is his goal and not mine.  My goal must be to try to attain and preserve a quality of life that is worth the work, the expense, the poisons, the side effects and to consider the effect on my family.   If that means having surgery, then so be it.  My GI keeps saying “you’re too young to have surgery,” and, being between 45 and 50 years old, I never pay attention to anything he says after “you’re too young…”  I feel like that Three Bears episode of Bugs Bunny when Mama Bear says, “Tell me more about my eyes….”  (But there I go, aging myself again).

 

People say you have to be your own advocate when you have a chronic illness (or any illness, really), but how many people realize just how exhausting this can be? 

I feel like I am confronting my own version of a real-life Final Jeopardy question as I try to decide whether to fight the status quo or succumb to the consequences of the inability to pay for it. 

Dramatic?  Maybe :-/  And not nearly as much fun.

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