You can’t say “pee” and “poop” to your friends


I was a sickly child. I’m a sickly adult.

Allergies. Migraines. Delicate stomach. Weak ankles. Anxiety. Problems sleeping. Snoring loudly. Frequent cavities. Arthritis. Mild carpal tunnel. A pinched disc. Colds that last 6+ weeks. And many many other things.

I get sick a lot. I stay sick longer than is usually expected for the malady I’m suffering. And I’m not exaggerating for attention. In my life, being sick is a nuisance, not something that garners special attention.

I’m sick right now. I’ve been sick for nearly a week. I’m really tired of being sick.

I really need to put “sick” into perspective to help you understand here. I’ve had relentless nausea, fever, chills, all of my muscles ache, cramps, my head hurts, I’m exhausted beyond words, wooziness that comes and goes, and I’m having issues concentrating. I’m somewhat aware of what day it is, but I couldn’t remember my phone password earlier.

Can you tell why they tested me for the flu at urgent care? BTW, I don’t have the flu. I also don’t have any of the other things that normally cause these symptoms. And the symptoms I haven’t mentioned here are flummoxing the medical professionals. I’m sick and none of the treatments they’ve given me have worked so far. I’m sick and I’m not actually getting better.

But as I sit here, drinking what I think is my 10th bottle of water today, shivering, squinting against the glare on the computer, I’ve decided to share some things I’ve learned from being a sickly adult (recently and not-so-recently). If you’re easily grossed out, you may want to abandon the post right here.

  • You can only use the words “pee” and “poop” with close family members and medical professionals. I don’t care how close your friends are, there is always going to be long-term embarrassment around conversations with those words.
  • Most people really think I don’t already know that the need to go pee every 20 minutes isn’t normal. Yes, I’m aware it’s bizarre. No, I don’t want to discuss it. Your need to bring it up is only going to embarrass me. It’s also going to ensure that I never go out with you anywhere ever again. (And it’s not really every 20 minutes, but some days it’s not much of an exaggeration.)
  • After 5+ days of severe constipation, diarrhea counts as a bowel movement.
  • After 5+ days of severe constipation, bowel movements are going to hurt. There’s no way around it.
  • I can’t do an enema on myself. Finding someone to do an enema on you is a test of true love.
  • You can’t get in for an appointment with your regular doctor in less than a week. Give it up. It’s not going to happen.
  • Urgent care is only good for a very few items. They’re almost always going to tell you to go to the ER or to see your primary care physician. Make sure you know how much the visit is going to cost you before you go.
  • Vaseline is my new best friend.
  • Nausea could be a form of torture.
  • It’s possible not to remember the last time you ate.
  • Modesty becomes optional the worse you feel. I walked from my room to the bathroom without pants or even underwear — yelling that no one should look. It’s possible that the dogs were sitting outside my room at that point, but I’m not sure.
  • It’s possible to sleep comfortably on the bathroom floor with enough towels.
  • There is nothing on television, but it doesn’t matter. If you’re actually sick, you’re not going to stay awake to watch whatever is on.

There’s more. I know there’s more. I’m just too tired to keep typing.

So little faith

My mother is spending the weekend at my place. This morning, after I showered and spent a little bit of time working.

MOM: “I heard you up and around early today.”

ME: “I told you last night I had an 8 am Zumba class, Mom.”

MOM: “Yeah, but I didn’t think you really meant to go.”

A pause.

ME: “Then why did you think I mentioned going?”

MOM: “I don’t know. I thought you were just making conversation.”

ME: … {{silence}} …

And then I left the kitchen.


A busy life

I have a busy life, do you? (

In the next month I have 7 health appointments. Yes, 7.

No, I’m not seriously ill. The truth is that only one of the appointments is mine. The other 6 are my mother’s. After years of resistance I finally convinced her to do all those exams and other things that she’s been putting off. There appointments include 4 doctors and 2 scheduled groups of exams.

I’m glad that she’s finally getting all of this done. It’s good news, really. Unless you’re her chauffeur. Because what this also means is that I have to take time away from my regular schedule (and I have a lot of meetings) to drive her there and wait with her and drive her back. And, of course, pick her up and drop her off.

I want her to be healthy. I just wish someone else could drive her.

Yes, I sound like a bad daughter … except I will take the time off to drive her. And I will make sure she follows up with the doctors. And I will make sure she takes her medication.

I don’t have children. But I do have an aging parent. I’m a caregiver, though not exactly a perfect one.

Aren’t you better yet?

Aren't you better yet? I'm feeling like I've been sick forever. ( got sick and I’m still sick. Why can’t they just make it go away?

Last Tuesday I woke up sick. There wasn’t any real indication that I should expect it. I went to sleep well and woke up hacking up a lung. It was seasonal allergies, I’m pretty sure. And I treated it with the regular over-the-counter medications. And I got worse.

Almost immediately I saw my energy level go down and my attention span disappear. My billable hours went down down down.

On Thursday I had to “go into work” to cover a client event. I was miserable all evening, but made it through the night. But I knew, halfway through the evening, that I was going to pay for working an event where I had to yell to be heard over the DJ and had to go out into the cool winter air.

On Friday I woke up with my throat feeling like I’d swallowed cut glass. It hurt to swallow and cough. It hurt when I tried to talk. And my voice was non-existent. It was time to see a doctor.

Armed with prescriptions and additional over-the-counter goodies, I prepared myself to feel better. When, exactly, is that supposed to happen?

Today is my ninth day ill and I’m still having trouble breathing, I’m dragging myself through the day and doing the bare minimum to keep my work up to date. Things are piling up. I’m making mistakes and oversights. I’m cranky and tired. All I want to do is take a nap.

My new out of office responder and voicemail message should read something like: “Thank you for your message. I’m too sick to deal with it. Send me the details of your problem and I’ll take care of it in the order in which I received it. And I’m too sick to care how this will affect you. I’m taking a nap.”

Wait … I know there’s a reason why I can’t use that message … but my brain’s too fuzzy to think clearly. It’ll come to me later.

Starting to think about the “D” word again

Starting to think about the "D" word againI hate the word “Diet.” I hate that I use it. I hate that I invoke it like a prayer that I’ll be happier.

I want the word to disappear. I want my desire to use it, to actually embrace it to go away.

I want to stop thinking that if I do it, if I actually succeed this time, that something will change.

I want to stop wanting it. Stop wanting to look like the others. Stop wanting to have them stop judging me. Stop judging myself.

Let’s erase the word “Diet” from our vocabularies … and all the crap that comes with it.