Tuesday, December 2, 2008

OCD - optimistic compulsive disorder

I've had a crappy few weeks - at least from a health perspective. Here's the run down:
  • 4 weeks ago: 2 days of stomach flu. The violent, toilet-bowl hugging kind.
  • Went straight to congestion without even passing Go or collecting $200.
  • Congestion moved to my ears. Got so bad that I've literally fallen down from vertigo on 3 separate occasions after blowing my nose. No joke.
  • The phlegm kept traveling south. It's now firmly settled in my chest, where I'm coughing so badly and frequently I've damaged a rib.
  • And now - for the (hopefully final) cherry on top - both boys have pink eye. And so do I.

I finally got myself to a doctor today. I waited in a throng of other hacking, coughing, snotty patients only to be told I was the worst he's seen this season and handed a prescription for the WMD of antibiotics.
Needless to say, there was a lot of head shaking and finger wagging. "You take better care of your boys than you do of yourself." He said. "I can't believe it took you a month to see me," He said. "You just can't treat yourself this way."

OK, so fine. I have toxic, germ-magnet toddlers. I can't remember what my real voice sounds like. And I'm currently lying in bed, listening to my boys giggle in the living room because the medicine has made me too nauseous to get up and play. But despite how this reads, I'm not actually trying to complain here. Nor am I gunning for martyr of the year. I swear.

OK, so maybe I am worse off than most at this moment - but I know I'm not alone. The majority of new parents spend the first years going through tissues at such a clip I have to believe we collectively represent a significant chunk of the Kleenex market.

What struck me today, as I teetered on my too-tall heels to the pharmacy counter at Target, is that fact that I've barely written about all of this. It simply hasn't felt 'blog-worthy.' Instead I'm talking about balloons. And the one time I did write about it, I focused on the joy I found in my unexpected moment for contemplation.

It struck me today that I am addicted to optimism.

I think that might be one of the ways I 'do what I do.' After all, If I don't wax on about the crappy parts, they diminish in importance. Hacking up gobs of phlegm? Who cares. A giant, inflatable Smurf coupled with the kindness of strangers? That's worth sharing.

Still like all addictions, it can have some pretty scary side-effects. Not acknowledging the crappy crap to the rest of the world? Not necessarily important. Not acknowledging it to myself? That's a problem. And one I've encountered on more than one occasion. Like when I didn't go to a doctor for a month. Or when I couldn't admit I was in a dead-end relationship (not this one, thank goodness). Or when I couldn't acknowledge that I was no longer in love with my job. (Again, not this one, thank goodness.)

So tonight, as I follow doctor's orders to swill my cocktail of codeine and antibiotics and let hubby deal with the night-terrors, vomit, coughing or what-ever the God of small twins throws our way, I'll think about those side-effects. And I'll think about how to temper my optimism with a little more common sense.

But not too much.


Angie said...

A dangerous side-effect of over-optimism in the office... When you *do* let out a pessimistic comment, the people who work for you will run for the hills and fear the sky is falling. Then you have to do damage control, explain you didn't mean that 2000 people getting laid off between Viacom and NBC is something that should cause fear in those of us in the cable business, and hope to god they believe you. *sigh*

I Do Know How She Does It said...

And THEN it really hits the fan.... and you look like you've lied. Been there. SUCKS. For everyone.
chin up... :)

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