wings and things

A stitch in time

on September 28, 2012

Years ago, when I was working as a nurse in Perth, I was walking home one day and I suddenly felt a peculiar pain underneath my left lower rib. It was like a stitch or a slight cramp. It persisted off and on over the next few days until one morning it woke me up. As I got dressed I realized I was shivering even though it was summer and the pain was definitely more than a stitch. I didn’t have a car in those days so I decided to walk to the closest doctor’s surgery which was about two kilometres away. By the time I got there I was actually holding my side in agony, sweating profusely and feeling faint. The doctor immediately sent me to hospital in a taxi and after many hours of waiting and tests I was diagnosed with a severe kidney infection and ended up on a drip and very sick for over a week. After I was better I decided never to forget that kind of strange stitch-like pain, subtle to begin with, but soon agonizing.

Two days ago, during my little blog-breather, I was cleaning out my office when I felt the same stitch-like pain and that night I tossed and turned with the shivers – a fever. This time I didn’t wait and saw the doctor immediately who took samples and, long story short, yes I have a kidney infection again. Thankfully it isn’t as progressed as last time so I am on a course of antibiotics and that should be that.

I might be very good at looking after people who are sick but I am very bad at actually being sick. When I twisted my ankle the other week anyone would have thought I’d had my foot amputated; when the rooster clawed me and gave me a skin infection I limped around for so many days that Ming told me to stop my nonsense; when I then got asthma for a week I allowed google to scare the hell out of me; and now this.

The three things that scare me most about being sick are these: firstly, I am easily scared; secondly, I am needed; and thirdly, my family and friends will say, “you aren’t looking after yourself – you’re run down” which will make me feel guilty for being sick.

How come, when I am no longer working and no longer having to physically look after Anthony, I am run down?  Of course there are logical reasons like not eating healthily enough, not exercising, not getting enough sleep etc. etc. – we all know the drill – but now that I am beginning to admit-to-admit I am a little tired, I think it is simply that I am so sad. No, I don’t mean depressed, although of course that is a factor, I just mean plain old sad – sad about Anthony and his Parkinson’s disease and not being home with us anymore; sad that he is sad; sad that Ming is angry.

Chronic illness sufferers are so much more heroic than ‘come-and-go’ illness wimps like me. I salute them for their courage, determination and wit – and have met many via blogging. They don’t make a fuss about a stitch; they don’t let the sad stuff get the better of them; they soldier on, unfalteringly beautiful, and Anthony is one of these people.

Oh – google has just become my friend again – it says, “It is usually young women who develop kidney infections.” Ah, it’s good when a stitch makes you young again!

45 responses to “A stitch in time

  1. bluebee says:

    Jules, you are way too hard on yourself – grief and sustained stress is very debilitating

  2. Julie–you mother everyone else–you need to be kind to yourself, too 😉

  3. sbcallahan says:

    soldier on?? that is so funny to me. i picture us laying about in our military uniforms, shaking with chills from fever, spouting words of wisdom:) oh does anyone seriously think we are never sad or don’t complain from time to time? as far as google it has been my best resource for what is coming my way. when doing post-grad work, and then teaching, we were advised and i advised students not to look things up and not to start diagnosing their friends and families. most of all we advised them not to diagnose themselves.

    you have every reason to be sad and it is common for someone under your kind of stress to have very illnesses. knowing this has not kept most of us from going through the same thing.

    while you so others as brave and soldiering on i must say you inspire me and i dare say many others!

    • jmgoyder says:

      just rang Ants for second time today and he was so lovely about me being ill – beautiful man – i will see him tomorrow

      I think your comment is more than generous – thank you!

  4. kdkh says:

    I think you’re right. A weariness of spirit can make us sick. For me, the cure was purely spiritual. I’m not sure it mattered what kind of spiritual faith I chose, just that I found that connection with the divine.

  5. dcwisdom says:

    Sounds like a vacation is in order. I despise growing older (only a state of mind???), but I don’t wish a stitch on me. Stitches are no fun. Hope you’re feeling better and younger! 🙂 haha

  6. elizabeth says:

    Aw Julie, sorry you are feeling under the weather and sad. But happy you found some of your youth returned. 🙂

    Feel better soon. You are SO missed when you are not here. (no pressure! )

  7. victoriaaphotography says:

    Gosh, you’re hilarious, Julie.

    I don’t think Chronic Illness Sufferers are necessarily heroic – I think it’s more a case of we are sick & tired of Being Sick & Tired, so we’re given up complaining as it’s getting too boring. We’re looking for a little…… sex, sizzle & perzaz to tickle our funnybones. But mainly…… we’re bored with being unwell all the time. I like a little escapism, fantasy & magic.

    And yes, a nurse probably doesn’t look after herself, just as a painter’s home has peeling paint, and a carpenter’s home needs the woodwork fixing and a chef let’s his partner do the cooking at home.

  8. adinparadise says:

    Hope the infection clears up soon. It can’t be easy caring for someone else when you’re not well yourself.

  9. I too am easily scared, so I live in denial as much as possible. I am not one of those people who know how to suffer well either–so you and I are in the same boat. I too am a bit sad and weary right now with a particular situation that is taking a long time turning around (a nasty lawsuit that affected us quite seriously financially for now seven years) and find I do not really want to take care of myself because it is just one more thing. As of late I have started to take care of my health and have so far been lucky in not finding anything seriously wrong–but I can identify with you and understand your sadness — it is not easy having to face the things you are facing. (hugs)

  10. Welcome back – I missed you! I’m glad you’re ok. 🙂

  11. Bec Butcher says:

    Thank god your back and well- sorta

  12. Judith Post says:

    Glad you caught your youthful infection quickly this time. I think it’s hard not to let “sad” make you tired. It wears you out. So does worry. My dad was like your Anthony when he was sick, never complained and stayed his beautiful self. But my mom….it about did her in. Take care of yourself. Ming loves you.

  13. Robyn Lee says:

    Oh Julie – please stay on top of your self-care program. I am worried about you. VEry glad you recognized the “stitch” right away this time… Sending healing hugs that the infection clears asap… I got new diagnosis Tuesday on hip condition — still shocked – need 2 more opinions– I’m dysplastic – no coverage of my head of femur — socket is way shallow. I was made worse by last surgery (he shaved socket to eradicate impingement).. Anyway – knew you would want an update — more soon — explains why i am walking around feeling the ball come out of socket all day long — 😦 You rest up – love u!! xo

    • jmgoyder says:

      Oh Robyn – that sounds agonizing and so frightening. Please keep me posted. Wish I could express my concern and love for you better but you know it, Sis. Jx

  14. artsifrtsy says:

    Glad to see you back, take care of yourself. It’s hard work taking care of everyone else.

  15. janechese says:

    I love how you bring in the humour at the end, Julie. I had a kidney infection and remember stepping off the curb and having the impact of the ground reverberate through my body. Ugh! Glad you are recuperating.

  16. terry1954 says:

    I get so tired so easily anymore, and I think it is due to the internal stress that stays with me day and night. if i am sleeping, my ears are straining to hear the baby monitor, if i am awake, i am wiping up urine or thinking of food to fix for Al, or cleaning his bed or something, then of course there is no man here, so i have to keep my yard tidy. for instance, today i went to the shed and lugged in the heavy bags of clothing that will replace summer clothes, picked up items that have been out all summer long and now need to be placed in a safe area from the snow, and when Al is asleep, most of the time i nap. life goes by quickly and yet so slowly, waiting for a miracle

  17. viveka says:

    Julie … what I want to say has been said already here by others. Kidney infection is serious and you have to take it easy – think about number ONE at times. Take it easy now and be good to yourself. Don’t forget to love and care about yourself.

  18. I think you have been sad, you are just getting strong enough to admit it no. Strange when things side line us. So you know Jules, is not always so easy. Again, what I don’t admit to cannot take me down.
    love you Jules & Hugs my friend

  19. Fergiemoto says:

    Sorry to learn about that. Hope you heal up soon. Stress can certainly cause fatigue and you’ve had a lot of stress lately. Adding one more thing to the list can be even more overwhelming sometimes.
    A friend visited us a couple of years ago and he was telling us about his elbow pain. He looked at me, suddenly stopped talking about it and said to me, “here I am complaining about a little elbow pain and it just dawned on me that you have a ton of chronic pain and other health issues – it makes me seem like a wimp.” He was chuckling at himself and said he couldn’t imagine having to live with chronic pain.
    Well, as for me, I don’t judge others pain and experiences, and I don’t compare it to me. I’m not in their shoes.
    Don’t consider yourself a wimp. Pain is pain, emotional or physical, and there are many significant issues you are having to deal with.

    • jmgoyder says:

      It’s weird because I didn’t know anybody with chronic pain until I began blogging and discovered creative blogs like yours. I was drawn into the creativity and only realized gradually what many of these bloggers were suffering. This has really opened my eyes to the courage and resiliance of the human spirit via creativity. I am in awe of you.

  20. Fergiemoto says:

    Hmmm…I left you a lengthier comment here, but it’s not showing up. Maybe it went to your spam.

  21. Yes you are sad I could have told you that, why one earth would you not be sad the love of your life is in a nursing lodge and you have a teenage son who you worry about and sometime life feels like it is kicking you to the curb and you pick yourself up and dust yourself off but you will still have a sad feeling it is normal if you didn’t feel sad we would think something was wrong with you. At some point you should stop feeling sad but no one can say when that will be and you will have some days when things will seem harder then others but that is normal too……just take life one day at a time and remember those of us who know you care………….being sad comes with being strong and I know that doesn’t sound right but I think it is the way it is and you are so strong so of course there will be times when you will feel sad but may not realise it and I know you are thinking how does one not realise they are sad well it is because strong people just push on and try not to think about the sadness and that makes their bodies a little weak and that leads to being unwell……………

  22. Wow, I had no idea a stitch could be a symptom of kidney infection and I’m glad you recognized it faster this time. You’d better drink a lot of water, lady! And take care of yourself, but you already know that, right? 😉

  23. You are run down because you are emotionally drained, I’m guessing.

    Didn’t know that about stitches and kidney infections. Thanks.

  24. FlaHam says:

    I am glad that you recognized the issue, and had the appropriate medical attention. Toughing it out should never be 1st option. You did the right thing. — take care, Bill

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