Saturday, September 21, 2013

Rights and Wrongs and In-Betweens

     I honestly do not think I will ever be sure what the right thing to do is in the fuzzy world of disease. Is it right to try to let my body heal itself without medication? Is it right to inject poison into my arms on a weekly basis with no guarantees? Is it right to load myself down with drugs? Is it right to try to "pray it away"? Is it right to keep on disappointing myself by going to doctors?
     I do not know what is right. I do not think I will ever know. I do not think it is possible for someone as ordinary as me to know such large, grand things. I have no problem admitting that in the world of healthcare, I have absolutely no idea what is right and what is wrong.
     However, I have a moral sense of what is right and what is wrong, as well as a physical sense. I instinctively know, as all humans do, that pain is wrong. Pain is wrong and bad and no fun. Feeling good and healthy is right. Healthy is right and sick is wrong.
     What very much bothers me is when people who do not share my experiences criticize me on my choices. Right now, I am medication free. I am not proud to say that, but I am not particularly ashamed either. I know what my doctors want. My doctors want me to be on medication. But last time I checked, they do not have arthritis. So I get a bigger say than they do.
     When someone criticizes my medication choices, it is as if they are saying, "you are not trying to obtain what is morally and physically right by not going the path I would go in". We all see the end result the same way: pain is bad, healthy is good. However, we see different paths to healthy. But heaven forbid I do not choose your path, that would be such a crime!
       Also, if I have gone off of something that is scientifically proven to work, I think it is safe to bet that there is a reason I did it. I like to think of myself as at least a tiny bit intelligent. Intelligent at least enough to not do something completely stupid.
       I do not know what is right and I am willing to admit that. Trying to tell someone what is right in the world of in-betweens is an arrogant thing to do. It comes off as parental and harsh. It is better, when talking to a friend or family member with a chronic illness, to focus on the end goal, the goal of no pain at all. This end goal is often the only thing that unites me with my friends. They might not understand why I am not on any medication, but they do understand that I am "sick and tired of being sick and tired".
       I would not understand me either if I were on the outside of this. I would not understand why someone would quit a medication that seemed to be helping. I would judge me and think of me as not particularly bright. But now, having this terrible disease, I cannot bring myself to judge another person's choices. One of my friends recently stopped seeing doctors and is now on a tea diet to try to cure her arthritis. She has not even tried traditional medications yet. And miraculously, I can understand that. Because at the end of the day, we both want the same thing. We both want to be able to keep up when walking crowds, and never have to ask for help. We want to be able to sleep at night and to run around and to fulfill all of our life goals. We both want to stop hurting. I cannot judge her for wanting desperately to "be ok", because I want the exact same thing. Some people are already ok. And that's great, but you cannot judge those of us who aren't.