Yeah. I’ve been there. Those Tim’s workers have seen me at my worst: pale, crusty, bandages wrapped right around my chest, my mouth weary as it tries to work up enough saliva to get out a raspy “orange juice, please”. They’ve seen me with my chest as bound as I had felt for months. The bleeding I was having was bad, but it only fueled this “what if” and “bad stuff” smoldering that was already choking me from inside. Every complication, every little pain, every big pain, each second-guessed decision, it all melts together into one insurmountable lump in my throat and I swallow it down, but it always comes back up and it grows bigger and bigger and… usually I can control this. I can keep it at bay until I’m alone. But for a long time now, I haven’t been able to. It’s just too big and there’s always more crap being thrown into the fire. It just comes out. I’m that teary girl on the subway, discreetly wiping her eyes like nobody notices. I’m that girl who just stopped and is standing on the corner looking confused and broken because she just can’t decide which way to go. I’m that girl who is staring and blocking everyone’s carts because I simply cannot decide which specific apples to get. And I leave empty-handed. Yes, sometimes I’m the asshole in everyb0dy’s way. And I’ve had just about enough of it.
I want to be that girl who takes it all in stride, and for the most part I kind of am. But it builds up, you know? Like, holy shit, this is big. Like, they’re going to take out my fucking liver big. Like, I could seriously die big. Like, it’s going to get worse before it gets better big. Like, it might never get better big. It’s a way different big than, say, the fact that I could also get hit by a bus at any time or make some stupid, autopilot mistake and end up with a Darwin award. Those are all true, but they don’t feel like it. I don’t live in terror of getting hit by a bus… yet. If this lump becomes a mountain, I know I will end fearing breathing, because each breath could be my last. That’s not really living, not cherishing life, that’s just waiting to die.
But the thing is, I’m not sure when normal, healthy reactions to terrifying circumstances become pathological. When sliding down from shit scared to choosing-the-wrong-apple-will-kill-me, I’ve never noticed a signpost that read: “Attention, you are now entering Full On Flapjack Banananana Fo Fack She Shack Shellac Dack Oh Hiya Mack Boogie On Down Crazy Town. Proceed with caution.” No one gave me a tourist map with a clearly marked highway out of town. So I just keep sliding.
Anyway, I have to leave now for Toronto Western Hospital. And one thing that will surely give me a little more traction and maybe slow me down is my most favourite of infographics in all of the TWH Liver Clinic: