After the horrendous weekend I've had a visit to my GP cheered me up.
"You are an inspiration."
"A very brave lady."
"I have a lot of respect for you."
I turn around, wondering who this marvellous person is he's referring to.
"Other people, they lose hope, give up and that's when this disease beats them. You are a brave lady, a fighter."
It's all terribly flattering but the reality is somewhat different. In a nutshell, the world doesn't stop because I got sick. There's still a mortgage to pay, debts to clear, utility bills to pay and food to cook. There's still a busy job I need to get to, a house to decorate, housework to do and sick parents to look after.
I'd love to be able to give that all up and stay at home, wallow in my own misery and/or finisih the novel I've been tinkering with for two years, but there's a simple reason why I can't.
It's as simple as that. I'm not brave, I'm not a fighter, I'm not an inspiration. I work because I have to. I'm lucky that my job is mostly interesting and my employers are fairly decent to a point, but I'm under no illusions that the minute I become a financial burden through time off sick I'll be dragged through the capabilitiy procedure and summarily dismissed.
I don't want to go into work in searing pain, half asleep from a head full of codeine or plan my meetings around when I feel well enough to think. I don't want to meet deadlines, targets and wade through incomprehensible policies and procedures. I want to stay at home and let my body heal, take care of myself and adapt my life to this disease, but I can't. Not for at least another ten years.
I'll let my GP keep his fantasy about his strong, bravehearted patient. Maybe, when I'm in pain, crying and wondering what will become of me and the home I love so much, his kind words will keep me going and one day - just one day - I might even believe them.