Sorry for the silence folks but time off over Christmas is fairly essential with three little ones... what's the point in suffering three times to get them if I'm then too busy to enjoy the little critters eh?
Anyway, they are back to school today so it's time for blogging the cr*p out of hyperemesis gravidarum again...
I was flicking through Facebook before lights out last night (as one does) and I noticed a thread about a woman's conversation with a friend over Christmas. This “friend” (I've “ ” it as I doubt she'll be her friend for much longer) just couldn't appreciate that sickness is on a spectrum and that other women have it more severe than she had during her pregnancies with mild “morning sickness”. She honestly though that women claiming to have it worse than her must just be pathetic or making a fuss.
Well that's a story almost all hyperemesis sufferers will be familiar with! It never ceases to amaze me that people seem incapable of understanding that illness and conditions vary in severity.
In reaction to this woman's bloody minded ignorance I thought I would give a few other examples of “things on a spectrum” so that my readers can have them up their sleeves for when they need them.
A broken bone could be a little hairline fracture, quick to heal and not very painful or the bone could be snapped in half. Almost every type of break conceivable is achievable in between those extremes.
Myopia (short-sightedness) can vary from mild ie. Needing glasses for driving and watching TV, to severe, ie. Virtually blind needing think glasses all the time and experiencing “floaters”.
Diabetes can vary from dietary management to regular insulin injections.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease varies from person to person and also time to time so periods of remission are broken with relapses and severe flare ups.
Depression can be mild and short lived for one person and terminal for another.
Dyslexiacan be mild and frustrating but easily overcome for some. I have moderate dyslexia, which held me back in my education, yet have done well over coming it in adult hood, as demonstrated by my blogs. Yet dyslexia can be so severe that people can find reading and/or writing feel like an impossible task.
The Common Cold (which can feel like the flu but is NOT flu) might induce a mild runny nose for a couple of days or could see you in bed for days with a high temperature, muscle aches, ear ache, headache and so on. So it can feel like mild flu, but it isn't.
The Flu(which is NOT just a bad cold) can feel like a bad cold but can drag on for weeks – or it can be so severe it can be fatal. In fact, the cold/flu analogy is a good example of the "Morning Sickness" - Hyperemesis Gravidarum Spectrum. Morning sickness can feel awful but you get over it quickly and is never fatal - Hyperemesis Gravidarum, which starts where morning sickness leaves off, drags on and on, makes you very poorly and can be fatal.
Measles can simply present as a cold like illness yet the range of severity is wide and for some people it can be very severe and lead to complications such as meningitis and pneumonia. Children and adults can be left with heart, nerve or with brain damage and some die from it.
Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction can vary from mild discomfort to being wheelchair bound and requiring strong analgesia.
Headachesare something that many people have experienced personal spectrum’s of, from mildly annoying to flow blown blinding pain.
Vertigo is a condition which is frequently misunderstood. It is not a fear of heights as many people believe but is a symptom where you feel like you or the environment around you is moving and swaying, like on a boat. It can be mild and barely noticeable or it can be so severe that you can barely move from a lack of balance, are housebound and simple tasks seem impossible.
In fact, almost all illnesses and conditions are on a spectrum and just because one person's experience of something seems worse than your own doesn't mean their experience is made up or wrong, or that they are pathetic or weak or attention seeking. Equally, if someone else finds an experience easier or less severe than your own it doesn't mean they are tougher or stronger than you.
However... if you are an open minded person who can empathise with another person's suffering regardless of personal experience of that particular condition or the severity they are experiencing it, then you are a kinder person than the one who doesn't even try.
I hope that my readers, fellow sufferers of hyperemesis, will use their personal experiences to gain empathy for ALL unpleasant conditions, particularly those which are misunderstood and stigmatised. We don't have a cure for it and it totally sucks that any of us have to suffer it... but suffer it we must, so we may as well try to use it positively for the good of others. Your pregnant friend with symphysis pubis dysfunction and headaches may not get why you are making such a fuss over your "morning sickness" but your empathy will reduce her suffering and that is what friends are for.