Chronic Snarkopoloist: Kissing the Boo Boo
Tonight a friend had me hold the phone to my thyroid and then to every area of my body that is having difficulty and is “broken” then made kissing noises. I laughed. But after a few preposterous moments of hearing kissing noises coming from the phone, something happened- I felt lighter. I laughed more. She kept kissing all my boo boos. And suddenly – I felt better!
Something in me broke. Someone knew about my illnesses. They were no longer dirty little secrets hidden away with only a doctor with a chart to know about it. Lately I have felt more and more secretive about my illnesses. I have felt more reticent to share. The more diagnoses I have and the more dire my health, the less willing I am to reach out and share.
Yet- somehow – others are able to show ME how to do it. And it is always humbling. I received a phone call tonight from a friend who was afraid of getting a PICC line inserted. He was only afraid because it was new and he felt terrible. I explained the entire procedure- but mostly – he just wanted a voice on the other end of the line. He wanted held. He wanted his boo boos kissed. He wanted someone to “get it.” And I did. I GOT IT. He said, “when they told me I was getting a PICC, you were the first person I thought of.” As soon as it was over he texted me that it went easily, pain free, and so much better than an IV. OF COURSE IT WAS!
Another woman was getting an FNA (fine needle aspiration) on a large nodule and contacted me right away. I explained the process and what it would feel like and what she would ask for and how she might comfort herself later. Again – nothing to be afraid of, but it is scary when you have not done it before, as is any biopsy.
And I realized I am facing MANY things I have not done before. And many of the things I have not done before are increasingly rare, complex and complicated by my health and by lack of specialists. Sometimes this is what life hands me and there are simply intersecting complexities to deal with. But I still don’t have to be ALONE even if no one has done it before does not mean I cannot reach out for some hands to hold or some people to “kiss my boo boos.” I do not need to be ashamed and private. What balderdash! Why live this way?
I received what felt like a smug message the other day asking, “Why don’t you take this treatment, it is simply the best for EVERYONE!” And I wanted to laugh, and scream, and cry but I did none of the above. I simply filed it away in my heart never to take other people’s health for granted. If I offer suggestions it may help them – but sometimes people have complicated and complex health. AND SOMETIMES they simply have shitty or lazy doctors. It is sometimes hard to tell from just meeting them. One must never assume that someone is stupid or has not tried something yet. Perhaps it does not work for them.
I often say, “this has worked for me in the past, and you might find success with it.” That makes it less accusatory and more about finding good solutions. It offers hope without shutting people down or assuming they are stupid or worthless. And it leaves the possibility that they have complexities I know nothing about.
Meanwhile – I also realize I have not left myself open to having my own boo boos kissed enough. My friends call me and ask me about their procedures, knowing I have likely had it. And until recently it was par for the course. I never realized how fucked up it is that I have endured so much medical complications. I was happy to be resource. I am also blessed with many beautiful warriors who have also endured many medical complications who are also resources.
And today I realized – after having my telephone conversation and hearing silly kissy noises – it is time for me to stop being so stoic and silent. It is time to start allowing myself the real human experience of letting someone hear and experience my fears and my worries and my humanity. There is no scientific explanation of WHY we feeling better when someone understands our pains- but they do feel better when they are known and understood.
They feel better when someone puts their loving touch on us- physically or through the phone- or online- and listens and loves us enough to care -REALLY CARE – about us. And I need that too. You need that. WE ALL NEED IT. We need each other to love and care. We need our boo boos kissed. We need our wounds healed. We need to stop being afraid to share our fears and our pains and our terrors. We need to be able to call each other with new medical worries or old emotional gunk and work through it together. Perhaps this means journaling more. Or writing more poems or letters and posting them here on DT.
It is time. Stoicism is for suckers. How long has it been since someone kissed your boo boos? How many times have you taken the time to heal someone else with your love and attention? Doesn’t it really help? Don’t we all deserve this kind of healing? How else can we heal each other? What other way can we really love each other and give each other the gift of attention and making it better? Tell me! I must know!
I’ll see you next week same place same time! Kiss kiss!
Tags: chronic conditions column, chronic illness, chronic illness support, Chronic Snarkopolist Written by Melissa Travis, facing chronic conditions, facing treatment for chronic illness, feeling broken from chronic illness, managing chronic illness, people finding out about our illness