Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I Make No Sense

I woke up this morning with another rotten headache and lots of pain in my knee. Needless to say: grumpy. And I showed up to class trying not to cry after APL and I had an argument in the car on the way to school. I know APL probably won't be pleased that I'm totally airing our argument on the interwebs, but I hope he - and anyone else reading this - understands that I'm not doing this to vindicate "my side." I'm doing this to try to understand my own feelings, which are very confusing. And if they are confusing to me, I don't see how I can expect APL to understand them unless I figure out how to explain them. So here goes:

The argument started when APL told me he had just gotten off the phone with a client who was annoyed with him for canceling their consulting appointment this afternoon. I asked him why he canceled. He said he didn't feel it was appropriate to show up to an appointment looking and sounding so sick and that he didn't want to get anyone else sick. I said that I didn't think he really looked or sounded sick and that he obviously didn't think he was contagious as he's been sleeping next to his fiance with the compromised immune system every night. I pretty much said that he could suck it up and go to the appointment.

Thirty seconds later I regretted this comment and tried to apologize. I said I was sorry and that I really didn't mean to belittle him not feeling well. He said I was actually trying to belittle his pain. This is how the argument started.

The background here is that APL is very rarely sick. He feels good most of the time. So when he feels bad, he feels really bad. The smallest sickness affects him like a ton of bricks. He feels icky and grumpy and it makes it really hard for him to get on with his day. But part of the confusion is that I think that APL has every right to act this way. When you feel sick, you feel sick. When you feel icky, you have every right to be grumpy. And I just hate the thought of him not feeling well. I love APL with all my heart and I just want to be able to take care of him when he doesn't feel well; cover him in blankets and bring him soup until he feels better. It sucks to feel sick.

But...but at the same time, when APL is sick I can't seem to smother a growing feeling of frustration at the unfairness of the cards I've been dealt. While it is perfectly acceptable for APL to skip work and stay home watching cartoons because of a sore throat, I regularly wake up with 12 kinds of pain but I have no choice other than to continue functioning on a daily basis as if nothing is wrong. Because if I stayed in bed every time I felt a little bit "icky" I would literally never get out of bed. If I let myself be miserable every time my body hurt I would always be miserable. And that's really no way to live. But even though it's my choice to function normally when I actually feel icky, sometimes I just get overwhelmed about how unfair this seems and how little credit I get for all the effort I put into just getting through a normal day.

I realize that it is particularly unfair for me to feel frustrated when APL feels sick, as he is probably the only person in the world who truly understands the struggle I've had since my diagnosis. He is one of the few people who helps me get by when I have no choice but to function. But...but even though it makes no sense and it's unfair, I still can't smother the frustration I feel when he allows himself to succumb to feeling icky. He's in the unfortunate position of being with me all the time. He's the one I see every day when I get out of bed, no matter how we both feel. And I can't seem to stop myself from feeling the frustration when he continues to feel icky, no matter how much I want to help him feel better.

I tried to explain that this really has nothing to do with him at all. That its really about me and my own frustration with sometimes being unable to accept the position that I am in. He's just the unlucky person in the opposite seat. But he just kept saying that it wasn't a competition and that there is no reason for me to compare my experience to his. Which is what we were arguing about on the way to school this morning.

The thing is, he's completely right. It isn't a competition. And I'm not trying to compare my experience to his, or to anyone else's for that matter. I realize that my experience is fundamentally different from the vast majority of other people. And I love APL and I hate to see him not feeling well and I do want to take care of him and make him feel better.

But that still doesn't make it any easier for me to deal with the frustration I am feeling. I realize that I make no sense. And I'm not sure what to do about it. But I know I don't want to take it out on APL.

1 comment:

Skye said...

I honestly would have probably had the same reaction you did. Don't be so hard on yourself though. Hopefully he can understand it from your point of view. He's right that it isn't a competition but that wasn't your point... I would get frustrated to if my significant other complained about being sick or canceled work over something that seems so simple compared to RA but us who have RA need to realize that these people in our lives have no CLUE what it's like because they aren't experiencing the pain we feel. You do make sense, I understand. We tend to take things out on the ones we care about most, just keep communicating with him as much as possible about how you're feeling. <3