}

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Inadvertent concern making


One of the worst things about social media is how easy is it to offend people without meaning to. Similarly, it’s easy to confuse people without realising you’re doing it. The Instagram post above is an example of the second one.

Yesterday I had to go to Pukekohe to get my car its annual Warrant of Fitness inspection. This is a safety inspection to make sure a vehicle—any vehicle used on New Zealand roads—is road worthy. I’ve written about this several times before, usually with some kind of resigned-to-my-fate sort of humour. Which is what I did in the caption to the photo.

However, when I began it with “Been sick for several days”, and mentioning being sick again later, I accidentally created the impression I’d had something bad or unusual. It was neither, but it’s been inconvenient.

I had a gout attack because of something that happened last week that upset me, because stress is my major trigger of gout attacks. I first noticed it on Thursday when I took my mother-in-law home after her visit with us. It began as a little soreness in my left ankle, something that’s happened before and it usually goes away in a day or three without becoming an actual attack. This one didn’t work out that way.

My ankle got sorer as the days passed, and by Sunday night I felt pretty miserable. It wasn’t pain, it was the flu-like feelings I get with an attack. Those symptoms are sometimes really bad, and this was one of those times.

I got up Monday morning like usual, but then went back to bed for a couple hours more sleep. Taking paracetamol helped with the symptoms, but I still felt like I had a fever (I didn’t), and, well, like I had “the flu”. So, I rested all day.

I went to bed Monday night still feeling terrible, and wondering how I would cope going to get the warrant the next day. I woke up in the night feeling terrible, took some more paracetamol and wondered again how I’d cope the next day.

Even when I woke up in the morning I was dubious, but my ankle felt reasonably okay, if still very sore, and I didn’t feel so flu-like. So, I went, and made the post to Instagram. The reason I didn’t say I had gout was that I’m much more restricted in why I say on that platform. It’s public, like this blog, but the audience is very different; people who spend a lot of time on Instagram don’t usually read blogs or vice versa. So, the things I say there are always a bit more restricted than what I say here. And that was the whole reason I wasn’t clearer in my post, which then concerned some people when they saw it on Facebook.

In general, my gout is well controlled now, with little more than the occasional soreness in a joint, almost always my left ankle. It never lasts for more than a few days, and isn’t particularly painful. This one has been a bit worse, and has been going on for about a week now.

This all happened, though, against the backdrop of the prescription drugs they have me on which have caused terrible fatigue and memory problems, along with a feeling that’s a bit like an existential shrug of the shoulders: I often can’t work up the energy to do things (like blog), or the motivation, or both. Shrug. “Maybe tomorrow I’ll feel like it,” I tell myself. A lot.

As it happens, I got a phone call today from the facility where I’m due to have a consultation with the cardiologists. They had a cancellation tomorrow and wondered if I wanted the time slot. I snapped it up immediately. I hadn’t yet been offered an appointment, so I have no idea when they’d have gotten round to me otherwise, so it was prudent to grab the opportunity. Plus, I’m not happy about what these prescriptions are doing to me and I’m hoping they can make changes. More on that, I hope, after the appointment tomorrow.

All of that—the fact I was really talking about a gout attack, combined with the real underlying issues that also can make me feel miserable, meant I felt a little, well, embarrassed, I guess, about inadvertently making people concerned. I also felt that right then it was all a little too complicated to explain when the reality, and shorter version, was that I just felt yucky. Shrug.

One way or another, all of this will soon be getting better. Whether I’ll feel up to anything approaching regular blogging again will depend in large part (I think) on what happens tomorrow. If that appointment doesn’t lead to any changes, though, I’ll still have to find ways forward.

This story isn’t over yet. I must try harder, though, to not do any more inadvertent concern making.

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