This has been playing on my mind recently and I thought I’d get it down here to see what other people thought, how do you separate you as a patient from you as a person?
When you have a chronic illness, you spend a lot of time as a ‘patient’, from the endless doctor, nurse and hospital appointments to taking medication every day. When you have to consider your health on a daily basis it’s easy to feel like the you that is a patient has taken over the rest of your life.
I suppose I’ve been thinking about it as I’m recovering from an operation and I have been in full patient mode for a couple of weeks. I’ve been taking pain medication, sleeping and resting a lot and needed the care and support of family and friends much more than usual.
All my phone calls and visits have revolved around me, how I feel, how I’m recovering, if I need help. This has been so lovely and the thoughts, support and well wishes have been so heart warming. But it also temporarily changes your relationship with people.
So as I start to feel better and begin to step out of full time patient mode, it feels a little odd to be honest. Is it just me or has anyone else felt this?
My body has been in pain, I’m healing from the op and my husband has been my nurse during this time. He’s obviously seen me naked, but these times have been when he helps me in the bath, sits with me as I change dressings and my ostomy bag and when I’ve been in bed.
Then tonight as he leant over to hug me in bed, I felt myself freeze, I suddenly felt self conscious of my body when I thought about it in a normal way, though he’s seen me nude every day for 2 weeks, the idea of him looking at me with a husbands eyes rather than a nurse or caters eyes made me feel a bit embarrassed.
Its an odd feeling as I’m never usually conscious of my body, and this one tiny new scar has nothing on the other huge scars and my permanent ileostomy. I know he loves me however I look, but stepping out of patient me’s shoes back into every day me felt a little jarring.
I think it’s easy to forget who you are when you are always ill, but it is so important to take time to remember that your illness is just a small part of who you are, it doesn’t define you and shouldn’t be the biggest part of you.
I’d love to hear what you think about this, is it something that bothers you? Do you understand where I’m coming from? Let me know your experiences as I’m a nosy bat and I’d like to know if I’m alone in these feelings!
Love Sam xx