Illness Project, Six Months In

I have just spent a fun and fascinating week being investigated in hospital. I’m not sure this is how one is supposed to experience hospital, but that was how it was: the food was delicious and I had a view of the Edinburgh Tattoo fireworks. It might have been different had the various tests to rule out serious complications unearthed any new demons, but I appear to be safe. This seems a good moment, six months after the crippling joint pains of what turned out to be Lupus first appeared, to reflect on some of the things I’ve learned from my “illness project” so far…

Give me a broken rock, a little moss…
And I would ask no more; for I would dream
Of greater things associated with these,
Would see a mighty river in my stream,
And, in my rock, a mountain clothed with trees.
John Ruskin
  • The only limit to your horizons is your imagination.
  • Show-offs are naturally cheerful in debility because it’s the only way they can still impress people.
  • It is difficult to do an ECG scan through breasts.
  • Serious misfortune is as necessary as a good education to give a lucky and privileged individual confidence in their convictions.
  • Physiotherapists are magicians.
  • Lupus gets its name from the belief when it was first discovered in the eighteenth century to be caused by a wolf bite. Cool!
  • Anthony Trollope’s Palliser novels are rubbish.
  • The CT scanner is by far the most exciting piece of hospital equipment: like a trip in the Large Hadron Collider.
  • I can still remember almost all the words of Joseph and His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat after thirty years.
  • The staff of the Department for Work and Pensions are in fact quite helpful and sympathetic, and not mere Ian Duncan Smith robots out to meet welfare sanctions targets.
  • If I had to choose between an iron lung or an unhappy marriage, I would choose the former.
  • However often you take paracetamol, it doesn’t get any easier to swallow.
  • It is difficult not to regard the size of the bottle for a 24 hour urine sample as a challenge.
  • If you can’t sing or move your fingers, you can still make music on the swannee whistle.
  • It is difficult to find the spleen on an ultrasound scan.
  • Church folk are hilarious when you are ill. NO I DON’T NEED PRAYED FOR!!
  • Most interesting side effect so far: Tramadol makes your nose cold.
  • Shakespeare’s classical plays are splendid.
  • If you have to have a fasting blood test, it is wise to lie down.
  • The environmental crisis is more important than anything, and should be at the top of everyone’s agenda – not just those lucky enough to have nothing else to worry about.