At last week’s appointment I realised that, once again, I’d misunderstood a part of my medical regime. It’s ironic that the system that delivers the lab reports from my blood tests to my inbox prior to meeting my nephrologist is called Patients Know Best. Despite her efforts to learn to interpret up to two dozen readings without a grounding in biochemistry, this patient clearly doesn’t.
I hate feeling passive. And passivity was a mistake when I first presented to my GP. But I have to wonder when due diligence becomes obsession. This disease shouldn’t dominate my life. But I also fear that if I don’t stay vigilant about the things I can control, I could relapse before the next checkup. Last year, there was only a two-week window between my first feeling vaguely unwell and an emergency admission to hospital.
Should I count myself lucky that, relative to some with this condition, especially those undergoing gruelling twelve hours a week dialysis, I’m managing to keep well? But as someone who prizes emotional honesty above positivity, I won’t hide the fact that I feel cheated. Relative to others my age who take regular exercise, follow a healthy diet, don’t smoke, go easy on the alcohol and aren’t overweight, I’ve drawn the short straw. I resent taking immunosuppressant medication. I resent the diet.
I feel self-conscious turning up to choral events in a face mask. It’s tough being both ill and not-ill in the age of Covid, but better – of course – than just being ill. But today I feel as if I’m heading for a higher level of acceptance. I doubt I’ll reach the Buddhist state of nonattachment, but I like the sense that my attitude might be evolving without being forced. So that’s the story behind my response to this week’s flash fiction challenge. The prompt is blanket, but I’ve also taken account of the fact that the accompanying image is a gorgeous flower.
It lurks like an angry cloud, muting all colours, frosting the air. Life dragging on beneath it, she fails to notice that it blocks the sun.
Some days it’s a comfort blanket, a pardon, like a parental note excusing her from games. She cuddles up to its duvet softness and opens her book.
Sometimes she shrinks it to a single thread, blocks it from her mind. Forgets her pills, appointments, diet, not caring if she’ll crash.
Blanket or blank it? Neither works. Somewhere, there’s a garden lush with flowers and weeds. She’ll find it eventually. In her own way.