Fixed in our ways
Sunday February 22nd 2015, 10:11 pm
Filed under: Crohn's flare,Family,Friends,Life,Lupus

Let me say upfront that it’s nearly impossible to rile my husband. He’s calm, steady, seeks for understanding, he’s my rock. So I can’t imagine that he was anything but matter-of-fact in his statement. Me, on the other hand, I think I struggle a little harder at staying charitable when someone hits me right where I live. Literally. Even if we tell them they don’t know, they can’t possibly know, we remind ourselves, only those who live it can.

Although, the doctors and nurses at Stanford Hospital certainly do a good job of it. Good people. Yeah… That, “Oh I remember you!”

Our ward shares its church building with another ward and at the beginning of every year we flip which one has mornings and which the afternoons, whose toddlers get their nap time, who gets to sleep in.

There is an elderly woman in the other ward who–and this is the first year she’s done this–has decided she didn’t want to make that switch so she would just join ours. She probably has her favorite seat that her ward knows all about and she always goes there unless someone beats her to it, and that’s fine. We do too, going for where I’m most likely to hear, assuming no one else is there yet.

Two weeks ago she sat down right behind us (we always get there a little early, she, a little late) and started coughing hard. I apologized but got up and moved as far away as I reasonably could without making a scene (scoot down that bench…) Our ward knows. She had no idea, so we explained after the meeting was over and hoped that was that.

Last week someone beat her there–he was from out of town, visiting his grandkids. Directly behind us, clearly sick, coughing deeply. Given how fast and how hard that same cough would hit me a few days later, I can understand why getting ready for church he’d probably thought it wasn’t much. And I can certainly understand wanting to spend every minute with your grandkids you can (this being why I’ve been wearing face masks to church since Madison was born–I don’t want to be limited in when we can go see ours. But last week I forgot to bring one and there you go.)

The brainstem lupus had me fainting in the shower this morning, saved by the shower chair a dear friend dropped off last night when she heard. The tyranny of the ileostomy is that it does not care that you’re too sick to deal with changing the dressing every third day, you absolutely must and you must do every step right because one four-month staph infection is enough.

Hopefully all of this will be very short-term. I prefer my Crohn’s flares being in the past tense–and for the most part, they are, this is nothing compared to those two big ones: when my life was saved by an experimental med, when my life was saved by major surgery.

Michelle’s idea is that we should ask permission to place a box of face masks at the entryway for all who might need one to help themselves to. I think I should have one and a spare in my purse as it is.

Richard went off to church this morning. That same elderly lady sat down behind him after he got there.

And again she was coughing. A lot. While asking after me.

A short and sweet, “My wife is very ill. Someone was coughing right behind her last week.”

We bought plane tickets before all this started to go see our grandkids and to celebrate a birthday. Assuming we’re healthy.


P.S. Rereading this I’m thinking, can you tell I’m ready to be done with this? And remembering the nurse I once apologized to at Stanford who comforted me with, and I’ll never forget the kindness of her words, “It’s okay to be grumpy: when our patients feel well enough to be grumpy it means they’re getting better and they want to go home.”

10 Comments so far
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I’d sit somewhere else. She is just as entitled to sit where she pleases as you are and if sitting in front of her is worrisome, sit somewhere else.

Comment by Jane 02.22.15 @ 10:49 pm

Yup. Exactly.

Comment by AlisonH 02.22.15 @ 10:50 pm

Alison, I hope this clears really quickly. Regardless of where you sit , you probably need a mask. I hope you use the high quality ones which keep out nasties down to very small size. The usual sort down here is worn by tourists, mainly Asian, Japanese and Korean especially. The mesh is large in these and is practically useless for keeping germs out. I know you probably know this with a history like yours, but I mention it because it is new to many people.

Comment by Jan 02.23.15 @ 3:51 am

Oh, bless Richard for being his straightforward self! I wonder if the dear lady gets it, even now?

Glad you’re feeling a bit better, although fainting in the shower is worrisome. Michelle has a good idea – for the benefit of everyone. I don’t have underlying health complications, but I sure don’t want to get sick from someone else’s coughs, either!

Continued good thoughts for health and healing to you, dear friend. May the OJ and chicken soup continue!

Comment by Pegi 02.23.15 @ 6:51 am

Thanks for this post, and its helpful explanations.

I’m so glad Richard said what he did. And I’m so sorry people don’t seem to realize that they have something contagious and what it would mean to someone who catches what they have.

Comment by RobinM 02.23.15 @ 7:41 am

The one thing we brought back from AZ was the awful cough that my niece’s m-I-l had–constant and right out where the rest of us were, for the whole time. At least we have not taken it to church.

Comment by sherry in idaho 02.23.15 @ 9:18 am

We have hand sanitizer by the doors into the sanctuary and near the steps up to communion at our church. Since that happens after we pass the peace, it does get a lot of use. I would think a box of masks would be a good idea for your ward (and an extra or two in your purse/ knitting bag is a great idea).

Comment by Barbara S. 02.23.15 @ 1:56 pm

Feel better! People are just clueless about how their germs affect others. I think speaking up is the way to go–along with getting away from whomever is coughing nearby. You have every right to stay away from sick people and try to stay healthy. Offering masks and inviting people to use them during flu season from the pulpit is a great idea. All they have to do is mention all the infants, seniors, and immune-compromised people we love and want to keep healthy…I bet people will take the hint.

Yes, being grumpy is a good sign. Keep it up!

Comment by joanne 02.23.15 @ 4:20 pm

Longer posts mean more energy. Or are you pushing yourself?

Thank you for all the context you add to the situations you describe, specially regarding your health.

I pray you get to use the plane tickets!

Comment by Suzanne from Montreal 02.23.15 @ 6:01 pm

Have you considered asking your ward to put a note in the newsletter? Something about “There is a member of our congregation who is immune compromised and can become very sick from what would be a minor illness for most of us. In the interest of the health of all of us, please use a mask provided if you are coughing (even an allergic cough), sneezing, running a slight fever or have been around someone who is. Let’s keep this time safe for all of us.” And then a sign by the masks?

Comment by Mary 02.24.15 @ 10:07 am

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