Monday, July 19, 2010

You feel like WHAT?

The other day, in the mist of another conversation, Ronnie made the statement, "I know I am carefree and happy, but many days I don't feel great." We continued our actual conversation (what is was about is irrelevant to the story, so I will not bore you...perhaps I'll save that for another Mandi Monday?) but that statement resonated with me.

Now, some of you might be thinking, "DUH!" And I get that that does seem like a "DUH" moment. But for me, the statement didn't sit with me as a "DUH" this time. I "get" CF in general. I get that CF can make you feel bad. I work with CF 40 hours a week and live with it "around" the house 168 hours a week. I feel like I have one of the best handles on CF as a non-CFer because I just see, hear and talk about it what feels like most of the time.

But his statement all of a sudden made me realize I maybe didn't get it as much as I thought I did. I guess I didn't know how it REALLY made people feel, and on top of that, I realized that I really didn't get how Ronnie feels. Ronnie is ALWAYS carefree and happy. I wish that was an exaggeration, but it's not. It's hard to find Ronnie having an emotionally "off" day. As I've said many times before, he's my steady-eddy. So it was hard to imagine that he may actually be feeling bad from time to time. Somehow I knew that people with CF can feel bad, but I guess I thought Ronnie was the exception to the rule.

After letting these words run around in my head for several hours I decided to just ask..."So what do you feel like if you don't feel good?" I'm sure he was a little blind-sided, since I was asking a follow-up question hours after a statement made in the midst of another conversation. "Uhh," he looked at me, initially puzzled where my question came from. "what do you feel like? What do your lungs feel like when you don't feel good." I repeated again. "They feel heavy. Sometimes with shooting pains across them or sometimes it feels like I'm being stabbed. Like right now I feel like I'm being stabbed here and here," he said as he pointed to two places on his lungs. That rocked my world. I guess in all of my talking about CF, I never stopped long enough to get some real details. I must say, I got a little choked up. "I don't like that you feel like that." Ronnie quickly jumped back to his usual self, "well it's not all the time." "I have learned how to not focus on it." "I only really think about it when I think or talk about it." "I don't want you thinking that I feel really bad all the time." "I don't like talking about it because then I think about it and when I really think about it, I can feel pretty bad."

With that, I took my cue and figured I'd stop asking a ton of questions but just said, "Well I like knowing how you feel. I don't like not getting it. I don't like not understanding or being able to feel what you feel. So can you tell me how you're really feeling sometimes so I can kinda get it?" And with a smile and a few kisses (EWWW, lovey dovey newlyweds, I know I know) that was that.

The point of my story? There is none...which Ronnie will tell you is the case with most of my stories. I feel a little silly that in 2.5 years I never thought to ask what it REALLY feels like.