Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Nickeled and Dimed or "Defaced"


Ever feel tired of being you? Today, I'm not referring to depression or low self-esteem; I'm referring to feeling at war with your body. Sometimes when I talk with patients about relationships, I'm not alluding to relationships with other people but to the relationship with one's own body. This relationship is critical to people with eating disorders who lose touch with the natural requirements of their bodies. They sometimes need to be retrained to get in touch with their bodies basic signals, e.g. "I am hungry" or "I am full."
My "issue" if I dare to call it that, is more simple. My body isn't doing what I want it to do which is take no end of abuse and neglect and keep on ticking like a veritable Timex ad or the Energizer Bunny. At what point does getting older start catching up with one? I'm not old by most standards (unless you ask a kid) but middle age is affecting my stamina and nickel and diming me with minor complaints. Some I attribute to the female hormones of middle age (woe is us) and some to simple aging. An achy leg, a little extra moodiness, forgetting a word here and there, the sudden onset of insomnia. Vision changes, bifocals, lactose intolerance. Fun words associated with being older. I can still on occasion get in touch with my "inner teenager" but my body may protest.
Why all this whingeing? Because I have a rash. A silly stupid little rash on my face. Who knows the cause? The dermatologist I saw yesterday didn't. Dermatitis she called it. This means an inflammation of the skin--duh. I didn't need a specialist for that. She gave me a steroid cream which hasn't helped a whit. I'm going insane with itching. I don't look too bad, a little blotchy perhaps. We'll see if today's patients even notice. I hope they will provide a distraction from being irritated.
Yesterday I canceled work because I needed to be sure what I had wasn't infectious and because, to be honest, wanting to rip your eyeballs out with your fingernails can be a little distracting. My spouse kindly told me that at least I don't have to work as hard getting my face done for Halloween. If you feel like a witch and look like a witch, who needs a costume?
Back to relationships. I feel like mine with my body isn't going so hot right now. There is nothing serious wrong with me so I probably have no right to complain. I am one of the healthiest people I know except for hayfever and a propensity to get head colds. But when I feel like this I think more often about retirement than I should. After all I couldn't afford to retire and would probably be bored to death.
All I want is for my body and me to get along. Since marriage counseling isn't an option, do you think I should get a divorce?
By the way, the book Nickel and Dimed is a great read. Very humbling to know how hard it is to live on the paycheck that a lot of Americans bring home. Enough to scare me off retirement just yet!


self taught artist said...

the rash thing sounds like it sucks
i can relate to most of this post...they say that once you get over the menopause hump that you are stronger/healthier/better than ever. I say if I live through it, wonderful. In the meantime, the war is on.

Amishlaw said...

Right after reading your post, I read about Karl Marx's skin lesions. Are you ready to work on Das Kapital II?

Chris in Oxford said...

Nickled and Dimed is a great book - more scary than anything. What's worrying about it is that the income disparity is getting worse and worse in the US>