Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Sister-(and Brother)-hood of the Damaged Goods

First, let me admit to the fact that I’m breaking the rules. I’m supposed to write blogs on Fridays, but.... this needed to be written today.

It seems like everyone is sick. Some are the runny-nose-bring-Kleenex-to-class sick, and some are the really-serious-chronic-illness-sucks sick. It’s not as easy as some of Mom’s chicken noodle soup and a good reality TV show marathon, and it’s not as easy as a “Get better” wish. What do you say when you know how sick someone is, when you intimately know the pain and suffering and loneliness and exhaustion? We know as well as anyone that saying “feel better soon” does nothing to minimize anything, so should we say it anyway?

I vote for saying something different. I vote for telling them that we’re thinking of them, cheering for them, that we’re here night or day to field their venting calls and texts and emotional breakdowns. We’re here for supplying junk food and good movies, and a hand to squeeze at the doctor’s office. It may not heal them any faster than “Get better”, but it’s something tangible and genuine.

In so many ways, we’re at the mercy of other people. Particularly as youth, we haven’t been giving a chance yet to really live and do something - we’re not doctors (yet), we’re not professionals (yet), we haven’t been given an honest opportunity to affect change. I often feel as if my faith in the medical world is misplaced: I have to professionally rely on doctors for my physiological health and future. I want my chance at my life, I want my chance to make an impact, to do something more than just go to class in the morning and vent over this blog. It can make a person with a chronic illness feel helplessness and frustrated, we’re the little game pieces in a very big game.

Maybe the pain of others hurts so much because I know exactly what it feels like. But nonetheless, it’s horrifying to feel helpless on the sidelines watching such good people endure such hardships. It’s one thing to go through it yourself, but for me it always seems more agonizing witnessing it and profoundly understanding the hell of living it.

But that is why I’m breaking the rules and writing this now. Bottom line - a cure is powered by research dollars, which are powered by fundraisers, which are powered by volunteers like us. Even though the journey really is of a gazillion miles, we have to make the steps each day, no matter how cheesy and trivial that sounds. And one day, when there is a cure, I can profess the truth to the ones I care so much for that suffer - I did all of this for them.


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