Thursday, August 03, 2006

Maybe I need business cards?

Today I managed to scare two shop assistants, one in town at Marks and Spencers and one at my local Co-Op.

By "scare" I don't mean they just asked if I was alright - I mean they were asking if I wanted to sit down or if I wanted somebody to get me a drink of water or if they could telephone someone for me. The young lady at the Co-Op even offered to walk me back to my flat to make sure I was alright.

Thing is, I wasn't feeling that awful! A bit of a headache, the usual dizziness, more muscle pain perhaps (I'm attributing that to the physical exertion of those fits, which incidentally haven't recurred since Tuesday night) but nothing incredibly spectacular. Although I must admit that my definition of "a bit" of pain is a very different thing to what it was two years ago and, I must therefore assume, quite different to the "normal" definitions.

Anyway, according to both these ladies, I seemed a bit confused and then went incredibly pale.

Now please don't get me wrong. It's good that people are concerned about each other. It's nice that they were looking out for me. I thanked both of them profusely and I hope they continue to show consideration and concern to their customers.

But I'd like some way of reassuring people when this sort of thing happens that they don't need to worry or fret or call an ambulance or make a song and dance of it. If I need to sit down, I promise to say "I'd like to sit down, please," and if I need a taxi to go home in I will say "could you call a taxi for me please?" but if I say I am okay, that means I am okay, honestly!

By the same token, however (Moon On A Stick Alert!) I don't especially want to get drawn into an in-depth discussion of my illness with every stranger who happens to see me go a bit pale. Nor do I want to be rude, though. And when I'm feeling groggy, I'm not really together enough to be properly firm and assertive or to think my way through a conversation properly.

Any ideas?


Anonymous said...

I don't think there's anyway round it. You'd be very upset if you were just ignored if you were feeling rougher than normal so I think you just have to grin and bare it when people are over caring. Then again I'm healthy so I don't have to worry about these things and have never experienced these things. I've noticed that some of the other people who post to your blog have experience of what you're going through so maybe they found a way to cope. It's nice that they cared though

Mary said...

It is nice that they cared, and I did thank them lots.

Anonymous said...

Through reading your blog I'm learning loads about your problem which I hope will enable me to treat people fairly and without causing offence. But your post has confused me a bit. If I see someone going pale and looking confused, am I supposed to ask if they are OK or not? And if they say they are OK, but seem to me to be confused, do I walk away hoping they'll be OK, or do I check? I understand that folk persisting on checking might be not what you want at the time, but you have to admit, it's a bit of a tightrope for us on the "outside". I hope I can manage to hit the right point between overbearing and helpful sympathy. Hopefully your blog will help me tell the difference. I admire your courage and hope you always come through smiling. All the best.

Mary said...

Anonymous, that's always a tricky line and I would definitely prefer that people were MORE concerned than necessary than LESS concerned.

The reply to this turned into a bit of an essay so I'm making it into a post in its own right which will hopefully be ready to put up later today.