Friday, October 23, 2015
Check Out My Sick Bruise
Bruises from needles is something I got very used to the first time I was sick. I had 300 million blood tests and 4 times out of five there would be a bruise. Once or twice the phlebotomist would make a real mess of sticking a needle in me - they would dig around for minutes trying to strike a vein. It was uncomfortable when it happened, but the bruising afterwards was incredible. The worst time was a draw from the crook of my elbow and, well, you know how messed up Jared Leto's arm was by the end of Requiem for a Dream?
Ok, it wasn't actually that bad. But I did have lots of bruises from blood tests and from infusions of various kinds. That's just kind of what happens.
I don't remember having a bruise quite like this one though. I don't know if you can really see it, but right at the very top there's a little red dot at the top of the bruise. That's where the IV actually went in my arm. So the rest of the bruise actually follows my vein. I think it's fascinating. And, like I said, I don't remember having a bruise quite like it before.
I dug this drawing up for comparison. This is something I drew in high school, probably when I was home being very sick. I don't remember if I was in an art class at the time... actually, I guess if I think about it, I can confidently say that I was not. After doing my time in the hospital I dropped all but 3 of my classes. So by the time I drew this, I was just taking AP Calc, Advanced Creative Writing and... something else.
Anyway, it's a self portrait of my hand. I was kind of obsessively painting my nails at the time, and they were really long because a) I wasn't well enough for any kind of activity that would cause a person to break a nail and b) prednisone seems to make them grow fast and strong for some reason. I think that bruise was from an IV, but I can't be sure.
I also used to play connect the dots on the back of my hands with all the scars from various needles.
I like these bruises and scars. Granulomatosis with Polyangitis is one of those illnesses that is pretty much completely invisible. Having those marks, and even, I guess my weird collapsed nose, make me feel... validated? They remind me that I really am very very sick, that my body is not functioning at full capacity and that I really truly can't do things; I'm not just being incredibly lazy. Strangely enough, this is a reminder that I really do need.
The thing is, when I spend the day doing basically nothing, I feel pretty normal. Granted, I can't breathe very well, but I've gotten pretty used to that. So I have this feeling like I'm ok, so I try to do something - shopping or cleaning or something else pretty basic - and then I crash like a ton of bricks and remember that I really am very very sick and I can't do things. Then the cycle starts all over: I take it easy until I start to think that I can get stuff done, and I push myself just a little, and I crash. And then you get in to the whole balancing act where I try to do just enough that I won't suffer for days because I decided to clean the kitchen, but some days I have a kitchen cleanings worth of spoons, and some days I have just enough spoons to take a shower but drying my hair is beyond me.
Posted by Cassie The Great at 9:09 PM