Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Pub chats: Part II

“Hey, how’s the health these days?” asks a mate of mine. “Yeah alright, the tablets have got it all pretty much under control,” I reply, before adding, “Sometimes I feel a bit older than I actually am, with the aches and tiredness and that.” My friend takes a gulp of Strongbow and says, “Ah well I feel like that and all, mate, that’s what happens to us when we’re pushing forty.” I shrug in a ‘guess so’ kind of way. But his comment jars with me. It niggles me. It worms around in my noggin. It irritates me that my ‘aches and tiredness and that’ – my ‘aches and tiredness and that’ caused by ulcerative colitis – have been casually dismissed as mere symptoms of getting older. Symptoms everyone ‘pushing forty’ experience apparently. I know I shouldn’t let his comment bother me. He didn’t mean to be insensitive; he was just being jokey and flippant. If he had responded by giving me a big hug, whilst kissing the top of my head and softly murmuring ‘there, there, there’ that would have been worse. Jokey and flippant I’m fine with. I guess the main thing is he asked how I was. It’s hard not to feel a bit peeved when someone likens your symptoms to something they’ve had or something their sister’s husband had whilst on holiday in Crete, but I suppose you have to remember they’re only trying to be supportive. I can’t expect everyone in my life to be an authority on UC. I can’t even claim to be one and I’ve been living with it for 3 years. Just acknowledging it and asking how I am is enough. But I’ll tell you what really annoyed me though, what really bugged me, what really got under my skin, and right up my nose, and what I do really resent is my mate saying I’m pushing forty. I’m not chuffing well pushing forty! I’m 36. Only just 36 at that. Insensitive twat.