Monday, December 6, 2010

Joshland Question: "How Are You Feeling?"

I'M ASKED THIS QUESTION EVERY DAY.

The funny thing is, the answer that I give is never good enough for everyone. What do I mean?

If I give the super positive answer like this,...

'Everything thing is good, a little bumpy right now, but a couple a drugs, a little nap, and some hot chocolate and I'll be good to go."

...then people are frustrated because they want to know more. They want to know specifics for educational, supportive, and empathetic reasons. Those are all valid reasons, but they're still not enough for me to pour my proverbial heart out. If I do that, people tend become overly concerned. I appreciate it, don't get me wrong, but my health is something I tend to deal with privately rather than publicly....particularly in the bloggy world of Welcome to Joshland. I'll give you little tidbits or I'll write about things after the fact, (case in point, my hemoptysis episode from last spring/summer), but more often than not I don't want to talk about the most intricate facets of my health online.

THEN AGAIN...

If I give a honest, somewhat negative sounding answer like...

"I'm okay, I'm plugged up here, here, and here (as I point to my chest). It hurts like hell to breathe today. My belly is doing loop-a-tee loops thanks to the antibiotics I'm on and I'm really tired of the grind. Otherwise I'm peachy keen, jelly bean."

..., then I've had some of my closest friends and family say (in a partially joking/partially serious way):

"Josh...when I ask you that question can you do me a favor? Just tell me you're doing well, that everything is great, and I don't have to worry about you."

My response (in a partially joking/partially serious way): "So you want me to bullshit you? Listen...If you ask me a question like that, then I'm going to give you an honest answer because that's the kind of answer I'd want to hear from you. I don't think my answer was an "Oh-poor-me" answer, but it certainly wasn't all "candy canes and puppy dogs" either."

It's not my job to protect you from the truth. My life is my life. I'm not looking for sympathy. There are plenty of other people in the world and probably in your own lives that are going down that path with you. I'm not one of them. If I'm that blunt in my reply, then there must be a good reason for it. If I ask you for help, then it must be at a time when I need it the most. If I say "I can't do this today", it's the truth 99% of the time. I can't afford to be as nonchalant about my health as I was when I was younger. I ain't dying, but I'm much more conscious of how precious life and time is, especially after being as engrossed into the lives the CF Community as I am now. There is so much positivity and happiness combined with so much pain and death at all ages out there. It's a big reason why I don't waste my time on bullshit anymore.

It reminds me of the song "Garden Party" by Ricky Nelson. One of my favorite songs of all time, the chorus rings so true:

"But it's all right now, I've learned my lesson well. You see, you can't please everyone, so you've got to please yourself..."



(Click here to read the true Wikipedia-Story of the song "Garden Party")

Lately, when people ask me how I am, I reply with this little gem:

"I'm livin' the dream, kid. Livin' the dream."

It's a dream that's filled with smiles, hugs, hope, optimism, love, laughter, and peace. It's also filled with mucus, antibiotics, frustration, pain, guilt, and sadness. I think the best stories have a little bit of everything in them.

Now that I've gotten that off my chest, how do I feel about it?

I'm living the dream, readers. Livin' the dream. :-)

Peaceful Things,

Josh

6 comments:

  1. Is it best if from now on I ask the question in a silly voice, like Joey from friends? "Hey Josh! How you doooing?" :) Good thoughts my friend! Xoxo

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  2. You are loved! It is so wonderful to have people care so much, and that is mostly what we all want YOU to know when we ask. The details of what you must endure everyday are incomprehensible to most of us, including your mother. To know you is to love you, Joshy, and we all do.
    Love, Mom xoxox

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  3. That is why I love you. You are awesome. (And I am not just saying that, you really are ;)). So now Kaleb is hooked on Muppets. Hahahaha. He wants us to go get the DVD's.

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  4. I totally know how you feel. It's like, when someone ask how you are, and you tell the truth, that you are feeling pretty crappy and X, Y, and Z, you look like you are complaining and that you do not appreciate the life you were given/have. I usually just give a sheepish "fine" and it's like I am holding back the details. When something really goes wrong with my health-like when I got the transplant, friends said that I was so secretive about my health. But when I tell them what is going on, like I am having more problems with rejection, they act really freaked out.
    I totally get you on this, I NEVER know what to say, and I dread when people ask me this.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I totally understand. Ya know when people ask "how are you" you never really know if they just want something to say or if they really want to know..that's why I always respond with "Good, thanks" But i think now I'm gonna go with 'just livin the dream' lol I like that!

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  6. Here I am reading this post almost two years after you posted it and I'm getting the all "duckies and bunnies" feeling inside. :-)This was an absolutely incredible post, Josh. I think you are so genuine and talented, the CF community is so lucky to have you, heck any community is lucky to have you. I can appreciate that as CF patients and in sharing our stories we definitely have different styles and aims sometimes, but I must tell you, "DUDE, YOU ROCK!!!!"

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Peaceful Things ~ Josh
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