Friday, April 25, 2014

Through Sickness and In Health

I'd like to take a moment to write about something that's near and dear to me: The Circle of Kvetching.

This article changed my life. Or, at the very least, my worldview. It  was as if someone had distilled the common knowledge of social attitudes toward sickness and pain into one sketchily drawn infograph.


Here's the thing about having a loved one who is ill. There is no downtime. There is no time when you're not worried, or scared, or contemplating the different alternative therapies you're discovered on the internet. (Peach pits to cure cancer! The Anti-inflammatory diet! Sacrificing a live chicken during the full blood moon!)  This is to say that is is FUCKING EXHAUSTING.

So, when your friend/neighbor/overly-intrusive-cubicle-partner begins comparing their hangnail to your husband's painfully progressed sarcoidosis, it's, well, challenging  not to throat-punch them right where they stand.

Compassion IN, dumping OUT. It's an elegantly simple rule for bitching about your life. When someone's issue is bigger than yours, you send compassion IN. When their teensy hangnail is smaller than, say, your loved one's cancer, you have full right to dump outwards onto them. (Literally or metaphorically. Your choice.)

Point being, everyone needs an outlet. And if you're a caregiver or advocate (God bless you, my friend) your life is a giant pressure cooker and kvetching inward is not an option. (Who wants to be the dick who puts more pressure on the sick person?) Your option is to kvetch outward. And so on, and so on.

It's the circle of life, but with matzo balls and chicken soup.

Wishing you and all of yours many years of happiness and health.

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