Chronic Disease Emotional Work

Day 168 and Red Queen Running

On a typical week I spend about 8 hours on health care appointments. This doesn’t include basic human maintenance like good nutrition, exercise and sleep. These are straight up hours I spend with health practitioners. It’s a lot.

I feel a little bad complaining about it as most people don’t have the opportunity to pursue some of the things that hold me together. The American medical system is built for those with spare money and time. But I’m envious of people who don’t spend all their spare time and money on healthcare. I cannot even imagine what I would get done if I was as healthy as the average person.

Regular people have the luxury of emotional dramas, personal hobbies and families. I on the other hand get to go to the doctor. I don’t get to stay up all night obsessing over men. I don’t have the capacity to raise children or parent. I don’t get to train for marathons. I’ve written before about the envy I feel for the lives of the fully able.

But mostly I resent that I have to spend so much time on my health just to maintain my progress. I feel like I’m trapped by the Red Queen in like Alice in Through the Looking Glass.

Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place.”

Lewis Carroll

Some might argue that having a disadvantage like this focuses you. I’ve become quite a charmer over the years to offset my physical disabilities. I do more in less time because I have to in order to compete. I’ve found ways to thrive in late stage capitalism. It’s entirely possible I’m not standing still.

There is a whole theory of evolutionary biology that these pressures just to maintain your place in the world are adaptive. In fact, it is called Red Queen theory. I guess just needing to work your ass off just to stand still is pretty normal.