Patient Politics: They are Everywhere
Patient Politics: It’s natural to compare levels of misfortune.
A few friends have felt lumps in their breasts lately. Perhaps spooked by my recent plunge into the cancer pool, they are doing what conscientious women do and getting checked. Another new friend was diagnosed with breast cancer at 21 weeks into her pregnancy. She delivers her daughter right after Christmas this year after a lumpectomy and five rounds of chemo. Double mastectomies. Reconstructive surgeries. Crohn’s disease. Debilitating depression. Rare Mast Cell disease. One friend from high school reports having endured fourteen surgeries. Another friend’s marriage of twenty years suddenly ending in divorce. I don’t hear any of them whining. And me? I feel lucky having a problem someone can help solve.
It is extremely humbling wandering around the hospital and coming into contact with so many sick people. Really sick people. Amputees. Bandages. Oxygen tanks. Scary thin. Bald women. People with seriously awful mullets. Far, far too many croc sandals. And those are just the ones who have outwardly physical issues. (think of all those mom jeans and velour they could be wearing under their coats). Until my diagnosis in October, each time I would go to the hospital for some routine appointment I would try not to stare at the visibly sick like they were a different species with whom I could not relate. Now I’m one of them, only I don’t look or feel sick yet. You never really know what other people are going through. Seeing each other from the outside only provides a whisper.