Illness or Injury

Today’s topic for Throwback Thursday is, as Lauren describes it, “Ouchies, owies and boo boos”. In other words, we’re asked to share our experiences of illness or injury when we were growing up. Now is an interesting time for this, as I’ve just recovered from the worst symptoms of COVID. Even though I had a mild case of it, I am tempted to take back my assertion that it’s “just a bad cold” even in my case. I’m still exhausted by 9PM, or at least was yesterday, and today just a walk around the day center had me horribly out of breath. Forget the elliptical, which I told my husband yesterday that I’d try to go onto today. Anyway, that’s as far as my current state of illness is concerned. Now, let me share about my childhood illnesses and injuries.

As a young child, until I had my tonsils and adenoids out as a Kindergartner, I was prone to colds and the flu. I can’t remember whether my parents let me stay home for most of these illnesses. Later though, we clearly had the rule that, if I ran a fever, I was sick and had to stay home. Otherwise, I wasn’t sick and had to go to school. Not that I remember ever “playing sick”.

I don’t think I was ever given medicine, such as painkillers, unless it was obvious from outward signs that I was sick either. I mean, I do remember having to take paracetamol as a child, but not for a headache or toothache. We did have a licorice-flavored cough syrup, but I only took it when my parents directed me to. In fact, it wasn’t until I was in my mid-twenties that I first learned to ask for medication myself. For the brief time that I lived independently and could take over-the-counter medications when I felt like it, I didn’t either unless a support worker directed me to. In fact, I remember buying a talking thermometer back then because I was feeling weak often and, relying on my parents’ rule that you had to have a fever to be sick, I wanted to know my body temp.

Similarly, I wasn’t taken to the doctor for minor illnesses or injuries usually, unless my parents decided they were enough of an outward abnormality to be taken seriously. I remember my father took me to the doctor one day when I was about fourteen because I had bad eczema on my neck. I didn’t see the need, but apparently it was so ugly that my father wanted me to get treated.

When I was about seventeen, I made my first appointment to see my GP by myself. I had a horrible earache, which turned out nothing to be the doctor could do much about, by the way. However, my parents said I also had to ask about getting treatment for my toenail fungus, which I didn’t consider particularly bothersome at the time. To be fair, I do now see they were right to be worried about my toenail fungus, even though it took me fifteen more years to finally get it treated properly. However, overall, I’d had it with their message that my outward appearance alone dictates when I should get help (medical or otherwise) and this was probably my first small act of rebellion. I never quite learned to gauge when I can trust my body’s signals (or my mind’s interpretation of them) and when I can’t. I’m finding that, for this reason, even up till this day, I rely mostly on other people’s judgment.

18 thoughts on “Illness or Injury

  1. Thanks for joining in Astrid. It’s interesting that your parents used outward symptoms as the indicator of needing medical treatment. My mom used the thermometer as her barometer of truth. It’s interesting that you recognize the fact that you don’t typically know how to gauge your body’s signals. I have a dear person in my life who is the opposite and at every turn she thinks the world is ending over a simple symptom. I am a sexagenarian (60s) and since my teens have been pretty good at knowing when something is serious or not.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so happy for you that you are good at knowing when something is really wrong or not. In a sense, it’s really difficult that I need to rely on other people to make this judgment, because, you know, it’s a combination of internal symptoms and outward signs that can signal something serious.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It is interesting the acts that children decide to rebel against. Sending a message that outward appearance is so important can be a dangerous message. It sounds like you were pretty level headed. I am so sorry to read you had Covid, but I am glad to see you are recovering even if slowly. Thanks for joining in today.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. I don’t think I consciously rebelled at the time, but the earache was really bothering me and I wanted it treated, even if my parents couldn’t see it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Astrid. Its hard sometimes to trust your own body. And if you weren’t used to it, then I can see how even now, you mostly rely on others judgement. Being sick triggers me a lot, so I can understand where your coming from.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a rather interesting comparison you make between cancer and toenail fungus, or was that a typeo? I mean I do understand both are particularly hard to get rid of completely, but cancer is much more serious than toenail fungus. I’m so sorry that after you got the tonsillectomy, you started experiencing ear and sinus problems.


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