The trouble with any type of long-term illness / ailment is that other people get bored with it. They start conversations with phrases like “your leg must be healed by now…” or “aren’t you back geocaching yet?” There are some people who make the mistake of asking how I am and receive a long and honest reply. It’s only as I see their eyes glaze over that I realise they were just expecting a “fine thanks, how are you?”

I’m very much at the mild end of the long term ailment scale, my ailments are not life threatening, but even so, it’s often a case of just getting through the day. I feel like between trying to walk on the leg, rest the leg, keep the dressing clean, keep the dressing from getting so wet it falls off, trying to remember to put the cream on my damaged legs to stop the dried out skin cracking, balancing my diet so to minimise side effects of my drugs, remembering to take my drugs and dealing with the numerous side effects that leave me feeling lousy is akin to a juggler trying to juggle one too many balls. I feel that at any time one little thing, something as small as a metaphorical gust of wind, will come along and everything will fall apart. As I say, in the big scale of things, my problems are minor to those with incurable or potentially fatal ailments but that doesn’t lessen the personal challenges.
I’m managing to do my day job but my writing has suffered over the last month. Whereas when it was just a case of resting a very painful leg, the writing was a good way to shut out the pain. Now with the pain lessened and my mind trying to juggle all these various things, the leg is a distraction that makes it difficult to concentrate.
But over the last couple of weeks, whilst progress has been slow and the idea of any semblance of deadlines has gone completely out the window, I’ve managed to complete two articles. They took a lot longer than normal but response to them has been good. I now need to build on that.
As to the way forwards, I’m centre of a process where I do not know all the facts. For example, I saw a specialist last week. He was friendly and professional but ultimately dismissive, and when I tried to pump him for information I was told he’d write to my doctor. Which means a further week’s wait before I get something that might not even be answers. It’s incredibly frustrating and it takes only those little gusts of wind to come along for it all to get on top of me. Little gusts like people innocently asking “do they know what’s causing it?” or “have you seen the doctor for a follow up yet?” We have a great National Health Service in this country but it moves at a snail’s pace. I’m still not sure if I’m any further along my path to sorting this all out.
So for the time being I very much focus on the day to day and the long term such as articles for deadlines and novels suffer. I fully expect that, as all the various challenges my ailment presents become more routine, the juggling will become easier and concentration will become easier.
In the meantime, I think I’ll just respond “fine” when people ask how I am and save us all a long conversation.