Women are renowned for playing down illness. From the extreme to the common cold, we generally 'just get on with it'. I'm trying desperately not to be sexist and generalist here as I'm sure there are lots of men who are the same, I just haven't really come across any yet..;) (obviously my beloved is exempt from any such comments as I quite like being part of a couple..)
Take that recent terrible Winter-themed 'Boots' advert, with the two actresses who have to portray having colds. They bump into each other in the street, snuffling and speaking nasally as they relay lists of the mountain of jobs and chores they have to do whilst they sympathise with one another about their prospective husbands having a dose of man-flu. Poor guys :( They should think themselves lucky they have such Wonder women to look after them while they are poorly. *
I hate this advert on so many levels. It's not funny.
Neither of them pull off a convincing 'cold'.
If you have so much to do, get to it!! No time to stand around chatting sister!
They talk of their men as though they are incoherent children - is that attractive to you? A man wallowing in his own self pity, leaving you to cope with everything including the kitchen sink while you are also laden with the cold? No, didn't think so. File for divorce now and get out while you can.
Anyway, got slightly sidetracked there.. What I wanted to talk about was the general consensus to just carry on regardless. I've learned this from my mum, who in turn adopted this from my gran. My mum has never been one to tolerate illness. She is sympathetic and was devastated when I became sick, don't get me wrong, but on the whole she is from the school of just shake yourself down and get on with it.
She kept an operation to herself once, went into hospital, had procedure and not a soul knew until months later. Unbelievable.
There is a lot to be said for being brave. It's important to have a little bit of that in you, you may need it to steel yourself for whatever your body throws at you. There is a fine line though between being brave and coping with everything on your own. Essentially, I know that if I had no other choice and absolutely had to deal with this disease on my own I could cope. Wouldn't stop me from craving someone to talk to about it and for someone to give me a cuddle and say those magical words "Everything will be ok." - means a lot even when you probably don't believe it for a second.
I'm ashamed to admit I've lied to doctors and nurses about the extent of my illness. I think this has a lot to do with the way I've been brought up to look at sickness, combined with the loneliness of spending time in hospital. I lied I was ready to leave after my operation. I lied I'd managed to go to the toilet when I hadn't. I was desperate to get home I felt a little porkie didn't matter - it did matter - when I got home and went to the toilet I thought I was going to die the pain was so incredible. I'd left a place where I had all the medication and care I needed to get through that, to come home with a couple of Tramadol and Paracetamol and a frantic boyfriend who couldn't do anything but pace up and down outside the bathroom calling in 'Are you ok?' at regular intervals.
That was stupid. I've done the same thing during previous visits to the hospital too. I've said I'm feeling better than I am because I couldn't handle being in those places any longer than I had to. I would never do that again. I now know I have to be patient (excuse the pun), I have to remember it may take some time for the doctor to get to me or for the nurse to answer my buzzer, but they WILL see me and they WILL come, and eventually, they WILL make me feel better.
It took my wonderful consultant almost a year to finally establish there was a major issue as I just wouldn't talk to her - she had to prise everything out of me, which she later told me in no uncertain terms was incredibly irritating, she knew I was ill but couldn't prove it if I wouldn't speak up about my symptoms.
It's frustrating when you want to be better and want to imagine for a split second you are - deep down you know you are sick and that you are in exactly the right place - so try to remember at all times to listen to your gut. For Crohnie's there couldn't possibly be better advice ;)
* (If you live outside the UK sorry for this reference - Google it! In fact don't, it's awful).