Friday, October 23, 2015

Check Out My Sick Bruise

This is the bruise on my arm from the IV I had Wednesday.  It might look like my arm is just dirty, but it actually is a long, thin, 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.

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