Thursday 5 February 2015
"It's on my sheet," he apologised, holding out the A4 list of his appointments again. The fourth time since he arrived. And with each showing and each of his apologies I started to feel a wee bit more like a shit person.
I mumbled a pathetic, "If it's on your sheet, it's on your sheet." And started to pull my frayed nerves together to formulate an apology of my own before he practically ran to get away from the scary lady at number 48.
When I asked my youngest if I had really been that bad, he gave me his best, No shit, Sherlock look, complete with an "Ah, yeah!"
And I died a little inside.
I was an arsehole. I knew it. My youngest knew it. The tradie definitely knew it. Given Freya's furtive glance as I let her back inside even she, my ever adoring companion, knew it.
He'd turned up two hours early. Way before I was expecting him. In the morning. Before medications. And sustenance. And showers. And my general working up to people. And I had ripped him a new one.
Well not directly.
I had to hurry to my room to get dressed. And throw Freyja outside. Who had picked up on my less than calm demeanor and taken out a full glass of cordial on the couch with her frantic tail wagging. And in my bedroom as I stumbled around, trying to find a bra and clothes while breathing and standing and taking my meds, I may have dropped a few choice expletives. In our poorly insulated and echoing house.
Because I have inherited a fiery temper and a low threshold for anything these days when I am feeling really poorly or, on that day, in pain.
And because I know I had agreed to a post-lunchtime appointment as I rarely agree to a morning one since I became ill. Had it written in my diary and had planned my usual morning needs to that time. But it was clearly written for a different time on his sheet.
And because I am officially a shit person.
My life has become a tightly wound lesson in logistics. Planning is everything. And spontaneity has become anathema. And woe betide any who should mess with that tightly wound, holding-it-together-by-my-fingernails, plan. Like a young tradie with a different time on his sheet.
And I acted like a shit person.
If I know something is coming up I start planning. I know how long it takes for my medications to kick in, how long I need to recover after a shower or putting on my compression stockings. I plan rest the day before and the day of. I psych myself up to use a set amount of my daily functioning and schedule rest and recovery for the rest of that day. I think about foods to tide me over. That I can potentially stomach enough at that time to keep my blood sugar up without also making me vomit. In between all that I have to negotiate the unexpected symptoms. Is this the morning I wake up with a mouth full of vomit, so must negotiate oppressive nausea whilst also putting on a social face? Do I need heating or cooling? Can I walk to the door or need my cane? Will I need to apologise as I make a sudden departure to the loo to throw up mid sentence? Will my blood pressure to stay up while I clench and unclench the muscles in my legs to remain standing. The mental agility and strength needed to keep my shit together long enough for a visit is hard to explain. The exhaustion of just getting ready can be beyond overwhelming. Especially when you are forced to do it everyday for years on end.
But he didn't know any of that. And shouldn't have to know any of that.
And I am an arsehole.
When he came back a week later for another job I apologised.
Because the reasons don't matter.
And because I acted like a complete arse.
Side-effects of long term illness may include:
Holding a permanent level of stress you don't always realise
Tightly wound emotional hair trigger
Inability to deal with the unexpected, and
Being a first class arsehole to an innocent tradie.