A dear friend of mine has just had his one year anniversary of being disabled. In his case, I don’t think there was ever a time he thought he would be better in short order. For others though, the initial injury or illness seems like it will last just a little while. As we said yesterday, the patient gets put on a bus of sorts, going through tests and treatments in a particular order. Depending on what you’re battling, you may think that the first drug, the routine at physical therapy, or the surgery will work. When it doesn’t, you start to realize that what you thought was just a sprint to better health, is a marathon of being disabled.
Running a sprint is completely different from running a marathon. If you try and run the latter like a sprint, you’ll die out long before the others have just hit their stride. What happens when a patient goes from acute to chronic is very much the same thing. Your winded, not thinking straight, hurting, like having that stitch in your side. It can be confusing, hard to comprehend. How did this happen? I thought it was just a “enter short-term condition”. The initial thought can also trigger the five stages of grief as outlined by the famous Kubler-Ross. Briefly, Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross was able to outline different stages that people go through when faced with loss. Whether you’ve lost a family member, or your own body, you can go through these four stages before the final one.
- Denial and Isolation
Do not be surprised if you, or the person you’re caring for, goes through these either in a different order or goes back and forth with them before getting to number five. In fact, sometimes acceptance can be so elusive, some people unfortunately never get there. Please, don’t let that be you. How about you? When did you realize you were in a marathon? Are you going through the stages of grief, or have you been blessed with acceptance?