Part of the struggle of moving home is interacting with my family, especially as I recover.   Like many people, almost everyone in my family expects me to have become okay.  To stop being broken.  In their world a person is either sick or healthy.  Surgery happened because I was “sick” and had the goal of making me “healthy” again.  Surgery was suppose to fix what was broken.  Because of who the people in my family are, I tend to think they are a little more prone to this either/or thinking.  That may be more of me and less of them.  Part of it is also that they want, deeply and desperately, for me to be healthy.  For me not to need all of the doctors and visits and tests and surgeries.  But some of it is still that a person is either sick or healthy in their worlds, they don’t have a concept of gray space there. 

Of course, as with so many other things, sick and healthy aren’t binary states.  They are part of a spectrum.  I can be healthier while still needing treatment for ongoing conditions or complaints.  This is called chronic illness.  I also call this normal.  I even call it healthy.  I live in a world where I am both healthy (as healthy as I can be) and sick (by almost anyone else’s measure).  In this world ‘healthy’ and ‘sick’ are relative terms.  I’m not broken because if I was just broken someone could fix me.  I’m different.  My health history is complicated.  But I’m whole, not broken.  Which means that when I come home I watch my family watch me struggle with things like sleeping well (which I usually don’t) or headaches or exhaustion or any of the many other components of my chronic condiditons or post-surgery life and I see them ignore the forest for the trees. 

They see the individual problems, but they never seem to understand the cumulative effect.  So the problems always remain small in their minds.  Things I should handle better than I sometimes do. 

And they never see how this becomes one more problem for me.  One more way in which my health isolates me.

Eventually I will learn how to tell them this truth.  Eventually I will have the words and the strength to try to explain how my world works.

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