Posted by: Kate | April 23, 2010

What’s Wrong With You?

Yesterday, Carolyn and her two kids came to visit for a bit, around lunchtime.  It is always fabulous when they come, partly because they’re all just lovely people, and partly because we are all so tightly matched: Carolyn and I went through grad school together (not to mention our first pregnancies), my daughter is about six weeks older than hers, and her son is about seven months older than mine.  Everyone pairs up and we all entertain each other quite nicely.

I’ve known her kids their whole lives, so they’re pretty comfortable with me.  They had a sleepover here when I was quite pregnant, and they had lots of questions about pregnancy and babies and the like; happily,  I was able to slide around actually giving them The Talk, but we were able to discuss a number of other aspects of it and it was comfortable and fun.

So it was not uncomfortable or odd when her daughter came into the living room, where I’ve been pretty effectively anchored by the VAC machine (which does have a battery, but wants to be plugged in most of the time, thus holding me by a leash to the couch… not to mention the fact that my feet swell horribly when I’m vertical for more than a few minutes), and asked, “Kate?  What’s wrong with you?”

I tend to be pretty straightforward with kids, because I often find that a simple, honest answer can preclude a lot of more in-depth questions: treat it like a simple issue and the kid will play along, reflexively.  So I smiled and told  her, “Oh, I just had surgery, and now I have to recover.”

She thought about it for a moment, said, “Oh.  OK.  Where is your cat?” and was off to the next thing.

But her question got me thinking… what is wrong with me?  I have such a laundry list of ailments and problems.  Plus, I’ve been in crisis mode, focusing on just one thing at a time and dealing with problems as they come rather than pulling back and looking at the big picture.  I hadn’t even tried to develop a full picture of my situation.  Seems like I probably should, if nothing else to make sense of that full shelf of medications in the cabinet, no?

So I devoted a significant amount of time that evening to drawing up a flowsheet of initial causes, and how they contributed to the ultimate diagnoses.  Then I made Microsoft Word turn it all into outline form.  And since I went through the trouble of figuring it all out, why not post it for the whole world to see just how messed up my body is at the moment?  (You’ll notice, perhaps, that this slides right over the messed-up-ness of my mind is.. that makes its own post, later on.)


(If it’s difficult to read, and you want to be able to do so, click on it – some browsers are going to compact it just enough to make the words fuzzy.)

So, a shorter answer to the little girl’s question would have been, “A lot.” I have a lot wrong, physically. But in an odd way, I find it comforting to be able to entrap it all within a single-page Word file. I understand it all – all but that glaring space between the comma and the u up at the top where it says, “Strep A, untreated.” I don’t understand how or why that went down. But the rest, though miserable, at least follows some order and logic; if I can’t have a smooth ride, I’ll settle for an understandable one.


  1. That is just so overwhelming to see it all written out like that.

    I think that your being able to create an outline shows you’re on the road to recovery. : )

  2. WTF. This is probably a stupid question, but does the Strep A have anything to do with the bout of Strep you had toward the end of your pregnancy? You said you had some particularly nasty type of Strep.

  3. Sweet Jesus. That’s absolutely numbing when you put it like that. I agree with hokgardner that putting together an outline is a step toward recovery.

    Kate, you are so much braver than I think I would be in this situation. I am still sending you positive thoughts and prayers from Illinois.

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