I don’t like when people tell me to be positive. I am quite positive, generally. But pretending that being sick is this perpetual ethereal learning experience that imbues me with this magical understanding of life is not realistic. I am allowed to be upset. Most days being sick doesn’t bother me. Sometimes it makes me sad. Today is one of those days.
I am aware that I often don’t look sick. But this is what being sick looks like for me.
It looks like an entire cabinet full of oral meds, IV meds, ostomy supplies, PICC line supplies and miscellaneous medical stuff.
It looks like meds and epi at the bedside, always.
It looks like blown veins from poor IV access.
It looks like low blood pressure and tachycardia.
It looks like a medical alert bracelet.
It looks like a colostomy bag and swollen, hard, scarred abdomen during a bowel obstruction.
It looks like industrial strength equipment to take a bath.
It looks like pitting edema. (This picture was taken five minutes after I rolled up the sleeve over my PICC line; the impression stayed for hours.)
It looks like flushing even after 120mg IV solu-medrol, 100mg IV benadryl, 40mg IV pepcid and one dose of epi. (On top of daily meds.)
It looks like getting oxygen during anaphylaxis.
It looks like feeling like you’re winning when you get to infuse at home with your new PICC line.
It looks like needing IV benadryl in the middle of the night.
It looks like being grateful for a central line.
It looks like slow pushing IV meds.
It looks like weird rashes all over my body.
It looks like sharps containers full of reminders.
This is what being sick looks like.