Tuesday, August 19, 2008

#14 Medical Terminology 101

I have a disease. It's called "early-itis" and part of it's underlying cause may have something do to with another disease called "control-pathy". I know for a fact that my early-itis is genetic. My mother has it big time and my dad actually shows signs of it too, but I'm not sure if he had the disease prior to meeting my mom or caught it from her. My sister HAD it, but it was cured when she married a man who has "late-itis". However, her underlying "control-pathy" is still there and like mine, can manifest itself as something close to frustration-megaly and at it's most lethal, angry-oma. My brother isn't as badly infected as we are, but he does show signs of on-time-ogia. How do I know this? We share the same genetic make-up. I've tried treating the early-itis by changing clocks, driving slower, sticking an extra errand in before I need to be somewhere, but for me, this seems to be an incurable disease. The control-pathy, luckily, has a better cure rate and when it flairs up, I've been able to find the right treatment. I'll never know what its like to be late and I've pretty much given up on making the grand entrance. As for my control-pathy, the symptoms are mostly in remission, but I'll be honest, under duress I do have flare-ups.

I think my first really dangerous bout with control-pathy was when I was pregnant with my first child. I was lying in bed about a week after his birth trying to read without giving into my exhaustion when my husband came into the room and sat down. He looked at me, took my hand and told me that he was very unhappy. He went on to say that all I do from the minute he walks in the door is boss him around. He was right. As I sat listening to him I realized that my control-pathy was out of control. It was at this time that I learned an important lesson about myself. The more out of control I felt, the more I tried to control my surroundings and the people around me. As menial as house cleanliness and organization may sound, I had felt in control of my life [such that it was]. When that was taken away, the only thing I thought I could control was my sweet, overworked husband. Luckily, he was brave enough to approach me in my postpartum hormonal haze and thankfully I was able to hear him.

My wedding day was way more stressful than any wedding day should be because of my need to control. The vision for our wedding party was to have the guests enter a romantic candlelit ballroom and to be greeted with butlered glasses of champagne. Alarmingly, as the first to arrive, there were no "butlers" standing there to greet us, the bride and groom. We were even more horrified when we walked into the room. Nearly half the tables weren't set, none of the 200 candles were lit, the bar was still being set up and on and on I could go. I panicked, with a capital P!!!!! Because I had wanted total control of my wedding I hadn't hired a party planner and because of this, there was no one in the room to take charge. As guests started to arrive, I realized that I needed help and when I saw a good friend walk in I pulled her aside. I told her what was going and what needed to be done. I then walked away turning control over to her. Since I hadn't shared my vision for our party, no one realized that things were amiss. I danced the night away and had a wonderful Cinderella wedding. Major lesson learned: Hiring or asking for help doesn't mean that you lose control - your voice is still heard.

Just recently, my control-pathy almost stopped me from having a wonderful summer vacation experience. My husband and I have never traveled with friends nor relatives mostly because of me. A vacation should be relaxing, but if I have to wait for others or rush for others then I get stressed. Stress and frustration or worse yet, squelched stress and frustration induce another disease of mine, emotional eating. I was scared that this would happen if we went on a bike trip with 7 other couples. However, my husband really wanted to go and told me not to worry, but I was worried. In the spring, the country was chosen and our deposit was made. The day finally came and we all met up in Prague outside the hotel. As I sat in the bus and listened to our escort describe the week to come, I realized that for the next 5 days and nights, nothing was going to be in my control - except the number of miles I chose to ride each day. I remember sitting there and gladly letting go of the reigns. And let me say that I had a fantastic, wonderful and truly memorable time. Everyone did their part to be respectful of the schedule and each other. At the end, I felt so lucky to have experienced this amazing trip with my friends. Without having to worry about hotels, renting cars, hiring tour guides, etc. it was actually one of the most relaxing and stress-free vacations I've had in a long time.

If I went to a clinic for help with my control-pathy, I believe the doctor would scribble out the following prescription: Take 2 'enjoy life and take it easy' pills twice daily and swish with 'relax and go with the flow' elixir every evening before bed. Repeat everyday for the rest of your life.

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