View from the Back Seat

[Content Disclosure: Existential Angst 67%; Illness 9%]

The most compelling metaphor I have ever heard about illness was told to me by my best friend Tom. This was in his sixth or seventh month of being sick and tired every day. He told me that being around the rest of the family was like viewing the world from the back seat of a car. While we were all up in front having a life, enjoying the day or not. He was stuck in the back, unable to engage with the world without his "illness filter". He was already always the sick person. The world was up there and he was always in the back.

What struck him most profoundly about this view was not how others treated him. They were entitled to their own reactions and fears. No, what haunted him to the very core was that this was indeed this reality. His world was a world of illness and deprivation and that was not going to change. I remember just a week or so later, he told me that he would give anything to just have one more normal day. Twenty-four hours without pain, fatigue or side effects. He was willing to trade days, even weeks for that singularly normal day.

He never got it. Think about it the next time you have a couple of lousy days in a row. You know you have another plain, old every day just around the corner. At least I hope you do. I hope we all do.