Elephant in the room? Introduce it!

etc_elephantroom50__01__630x420

You know how I spoke about Update….Helped one Condition….Hurt the other 😦 and the issues i am not having with Pelvic Congestion Syndrome? Well today I had an experience which told me I have not been doing too well introducing the elephant.

I actually said to my colleagues “ignore me”.

I am doing training in a CVQ- Caribbean Vocational Qualification. Elsewhere in the world they’re termed NVQ- National Vocational Qualification or some variation of that. This training requires that I sit for 4 hours straight with just one 15 minute break about halfway through. Problems!

I cannot really sit for 45-60 minutes without having to change position, stand, walk around a bit. Well actually I can but my legs would have to be elevated or I would have to at least be wearing the compression stockings/ leggings.

Did I mention that one pair of those cost over $100. Anyway, I did order a few but they haven’t arrived as yet. Since I am 5′ 10″, those available here were just too short so I am waiting on them to arrive.

In this conference room setting with a group of people I have just met for the most part, its sit at the table and write/ listen. There’s no foot rest or extra chair for elevation like in my office……even if there were….this is a new group.

So, I intentionally sat at the back of the room so that I would be able to at least stand every 40 minutes or so without having to walk the length of the room and disturb others.

Well, that didn’t work. Every-time I stood, everything stopped and all eyes were on me. “Do you have a question/ comment?” “Are you ok?” The questions came.

In my head I was thinking, what can I actually say to these people? I said “just ignore me”; but is that what I want? Do I want them to know why I am standing? Then I thought I have to introduce the elephant next training day.

Question is though, what parts of the elephant? How much of the elephant?

This is the dilemma many of us with chronic pain face. We don’t want to stand out, we would rather just blend in most of the time. However, that is hardly possible the majority of the time. Then we don’t want to be the focus of attention and be fielding questions and comments but how can we avoid it.

How do we give enough information for understanding but not too much to create “oh how sad/ wow so sorry/ oh no”. Where is the balance found?

I have no idea, I just know the elephant is in the room and it makes no sense acting as though it is not. I will just have to find a way to introduce 2 chronic pain conditions and still be a part of the group who is treated like everyone else and viewed like everyone else.

I’ve got a few days to figure it out….sigh!

 

I’m fine!?!?

261688a83dcf5a89ee714e4eb4197a9d

 

You know I say I’m fine but I’m really not but there’s nothing else I can really say.

So we were on vacation in beautiful Dominica, known as the Nature Isle of the Caribbean. So many natural wonders to see and places to explore. My family was so excited and ready and rearing to go. Me I just wanted to sleep, really.

We set off to explore the island with a friend who was acting as our tour guide. We went up “hot Soufriere” to the Fresh Water Lake and then made our way to Trafalgar Falls. I was walking a pace behind them as they rushed ahead to see and just trying to pace myself. Then he asked “are you OK?”

p1020558
Trafalgar Falls (One of the falls there are two side by side)
p1020533
View from “Hot” Soufriere

“Yes, I’m fine.” I replied and continued walking.

We saw the falls, the children and hubby bathed in the pool at the bottom and we moved on driving past location after location as we headed to the southernmost point on the island “Scott’s Head”. This is where the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea meet and it’s covered with the smoothest multi-coloured stones.

p1020582
View from Scott’s Head looking towards Caribbean Sea

Again the question is asked “are you OK?” By now its hours and a few questions in between to which I answered always “yes, I’m fine”. This time I asked “why do you keep asking me if I am OK?”

The response “you are so quiet, moving so slow, don’t really seem to be enjoying yourself” I paused for a beat. Really what could I say to that comment? To say I’m not well would encourage further conversation that I was not willing to have. To say I am fine would obviously not suffice since I was saying that all along and it was still being asked. What could I possibly say?

I responded, “I am not feeling very well, I’m very tired”.

This question is a problem to me though. I don’t want to lie but I can’t exactly explain anything. Even to those around me on a daily basis it’s difficult to understand. Especially when I look fine, most days besides the occasional slower than usual movements I walk just fine, look just fine, go about doing my work just fine. I don’t look ill.

Most times when I am in pain people will notice me sweating a lot and maybe breathing deliberately but most persons just assume I am hot. I just need to cool down a bit.

I am truly at a loss with what to say to persons when they ask. Many of them are not random people who are just being inquisitive. They are people who have spent time with me or around me and had the opportunity to observe and interact with me. It’s these ones that I am conflicted in terms of answering.

I don’t believe that my business is any other person’s business but at the same time I cannot lie.

I tell my interns that clients can tell when we are being authentic and genuine and will be the same if we are, so we are always to strive for honesty. I am not known as a fake person or someone who is not genuine but what happens when you hear the truth and it’s too much for you?

Most people can’t handle my truth.

Even in this blog. I know many persons have read it because I have invited them to. The majority act as though they didn’t. It’s too much for them to handle, too intense, then again what can they possibly say………..or at least maybe this is what they are thinking.

This is my truth.

So sometimes I will tell you I am fine. How you interpret that is really up to you.