If it’s been a long time since I’ve seen my friends, it’s going to be weird.
“I heard you were in the hospital again last week. So, you didn’t die. That’s good,” they say and we laugh, because yes—it is good, and now let’s talk about something else. Except, during this last month of hospitals and doctors and medical paperwork, there really hasn’t been time or energy for much else, and definitely nothing worth talking about.
Which, when I look around at my group of friends drinking alcohol I can’t drink and smoking ciggerates I can’t smoke—it makes me feel so incredibly far away from where they are. I think a large part of that comes from the realization that my friends will drink 9 beers tonight in an EFFORT TO GET nauseated, fatigued, and brain-fogged. Whereas I’ve been prepping my body for this party for two days so I wouldn’t get nauseated, fatigued and brain-fogged.
I want to say to them—Don’t you have any idea what that will do to your body? Why are you trying to make yourself sick? Is it really that much fun when it doesn’t do it on its own?
I try to put myself in the shoes of someone who doesn’t regularly wake up in the morning dry heaving. I try to imagine what it would be like to have two sips of wine without feeling like you’re spinning around the room in the worst possible way. What would it be like to have the audacity to test the limits of my body—to go out with a plan to get completely sh*tfaced and execute it to perfection?
I think about last week and how I was sitting on the floor of my mom’s bathroom trying to find a position that wouldn’t make me start the vicious cycle of dry heaving all over again. My stomach muscles were sore from the last twenty minutes of it and even though I had Zofran dissolving on my tongue, the nausea was still strong enough to make me dizzy.
Maybe the difference is that with drinking, once it clears out of your system—you’re okay. You don’t just dry heave to dry heave with no physical resolution or cause. Maybe the difference is that you expect it and it doesn’t just happen when you’re in the middle of watching The Real Housewives of Orange County. Maybe the difference is just that you choose to be sick, and that you don’t have to
choose it on a daily basis.
Either way, I’m pretty jealous. I know that I’m always going to be the completely sober girl at the party trying to get a high off of cherry soda and knowing that staying up past midnight means a 75% chance of a migraine and a 110% chance of waking up with less spoons than you started with yesterday.
But, these are definitely after-party topics to be blogged about, not something you want to bring up while you catch up. Nobody wants to be that girl at the party. I’d rather be the one who’s being a buzzkill by constantly cleaning up the mess—instead of being the girl who bitches and moans about what a mess the rest of her life is!
Even though it’s awkward getting back into the swing of things with my social life, it’s good to know that I’ve still retained that network, that social group of people in my life. Every friend I keep through a flare is an accomplishment for me. Anyone with a chronic illness knows how much energy and sheer determination it takes to keep relationships alive when you literally have to be self-centered 100% of the time in order to maintain physical chaos. Life with C.I. is a life with rules, curfews, and long—lonely absences from your real life. But even though it takes some getting used to, some serious adjustments on your social expectations of yourself and others—it’s worth every sober minute.
Which is why—yeah, it’s a good thing you didn’t die.