(Introduction) This isn’t in any way a moan, more of a consideration of perspective. I think sometimes we are actually too hard on ourselves. We see all our frailties and failings, well, some of us do, and we overlook out successes and achievements.
(Get-out clause) If you don’t want to read rubbish about me and my introspection, it’s probably best not to read on.
(Inspiration) The other day, creakily moving around after doing some reasonably physical task (possibly ironing) I found myself bemoaning getting older and wishing I’d appreciated my physical well being (you know the energy and lack of aches and pains that you take for granted when you are young). Then I realised that the window when I was adult and physically fit was actually quite small. Today I read a blog from someone with ulcerative colitis and found myself being grateful that I was as well as I am now.
(Background) I have Crohn’s Disease. You can read about it here if you are so inclined. To summarise it’s an inflammatory disease of the gut, with a fair amount of pain and lots of other unpleasant effects. It first developed in (I think) when I was 25. I had just got married. My GP initially treated me for irritable bowel and sent me to A&E several times for them to check for appendicitis. Finally, he got sick of my whinging (after I lost well over a stone in weight in a couple of months) and got me an outpatient appointment. The doctor who saw me there has my undying gratitude. He examined me and told me he didn’t know what was wrong with me but he could see that I was very ill and he was admitting me for tests. To cut a long story short, after ruling out conditions like typhoid (yes, I know, I had never even considered that), I had a diagnosis and treatment.
(Information) The main effects of Crohn’s is abdominal pain (cramps like extremely bad period pains or the first stage of labour), tiredness, because you aren’t absorbing nutrients well, and a need to know where the nearest loo is at all times. Other effects include joint pain, osteoporosis and reduced fertility. Some people are very, very ill with it. I am one of the lucky ones.
(More background and more information) My symptoms were bad for about eight or nine years, pretty much until I became pregnant in fact. Getting pregnant is not always easy with Crohn’s. There is a possibility of reduced fertility due to inflammation and scarring of the fallopian tubes, and the incidence of pain, reduces somewhat the …..erm…. opportunities to conceive. However, having become pregnant I started to feel better than I had for years. The improvement has persisted since and my primary symptoms of pain (and yes, weight loss) have mostly remained dormant. I am being treated for osteoporosis and I do have regular problems with back pain. This is, I believe, due to inflammation of ligaments and so is mostly where my pelvis and shoulders are attached to my spine.
(Conclusion) So, in short, those wonderful days when I was adult, solvent, fit and healthy didn’t really last all that long, though I did enjoy them.
(Admission) I sometimes feel down when I consider my professional life. I never seem to have progressed much above the bottom rung of any ladder I have started on, I have changed career at three times so far and have now abandoned teaching as well. On more than one occasion, my reason for leaving has been that I have no respect for the person I am reporting to. I look around and see people who I know are no more able or hard-working than I am who are rising through the ranks and I feel I have failed.
(Warning, sob story bit now) But, though much of this is down to poor decisions on my part, I also think some is because I was ill at the time people are usually making the most progress in their career, following which I was working part time bringing up two children.
(Bigging myself up) What I have done is hold down a decent job pretty much since I graduated and managed to bring up two children to adulthood. I am still (reasonably) healthy if ever more creaky and (more or less) sane, though that was questionable last year. I’ve had very little time off work sick before my problem with stress (about a week over the ten years I was employed there).
(The dénouement) In case you hadn’t guessed, I’m writing this mostly to convince myself I can still find a rewarding responsible job, that won’t bore me stupid and will pay the bills, in spite of the best efforts of the current government.