This piece may resonate with some of you out there and I hope it gives pause to some others who might be contemplating a similar situation…
I am referring to the fact that my fiancé and I had just moved to a new city when my ongoing health issues decided crash land me into Autoimmune hell. We knew absolutely no one. We had no close friends and family around us and no familiarity with our new geography. We didn’t even know where the doctors were!
Being sick in a strange place is hard. Very hard!
Try to picture an episode of survivor and then imagine things are 100 times worse.
Today it has become a matter of just pushing on and coping on our own, but that was not easy for either of us. Besides me, my husband had no help whatsoever or offers of help.
We are lucky that we eventually located a few services, medical practitioners, made some local contacts and some online support groups to help us through, but it took years to discover all this and years more to acclimatize.
Would I recommend this to other chronic people? No.
Sometimes it can be important to be around some supportive groups and connections when these life events happen, especially at the beginning. However I realize everyone is different.
If I knew then what I know now I would not have wanted to be a stranger with an debilitating illness, trying to navigate everything. It can be so overwhelming.
Finding your feet can take years. Even though the odds are that you face losing a lot of friends and family support anyway, you may benefit from their availability in the beginning. Especially if there are work / life factors involved. Moral support in the early stages is a blessing If it’s administered properly and respectfully.
On the flip side it could also mean you will start this new phase exactly how you will end up… on your own. You become accustom to coping and improvising. It really just depends on what skills and strengths you may have. What past experiences you may have in your favour.
Personally we found complete strangers just as, if not more, understanding and encouraging and this was a revelation indeed.
Knowing where you are and what is around you is definitely an advantage because no matter who you are or how clever you may think you are having a very challenging health situation is like landing on Mars! You can’t know what you will face until in happens and everywhere you turn is a huge challenge.
If you are in a supportive and familiar place then I would encourage you not to rush into a move or relocation lightly. There is some truth in the saying better the devil you know… Of course there is always exceptions to the rule.
I have played the what if game many times over the past decade but in our case being sick in a strange land has not damaged our relationship or coping. We have worked damn hard to make it and it has really highlighted what is important in life and who is important in life. I feel proud of what we have achieved given the hurdles we faced, especially when I know healthier people who haven’t coped with a fraction of the hurdles we have managed.
Whatever you decide to do when it comes to relocation I truly hope it will be a step in the right direction for you.
4 thoughts on “Sick In A Strange Land…”
I can only imagine how difficult it would be initially but the main thing is that and you had and still have each other and the support of the wonderful online groups. Finding the right doctors, specialists can be a difficult process even if it’s where you were living and fortunately relocating from Townsville to Melbourne gives you a lot more options as far as the medical profession goes. I know having lived in Cairns for 8 years there is minimal choice with those sorts of things so in hindsight it is a positive in that regard. As far as family and friends support in the earlier stages of your illnesses, yes it’s nice to have the support but often it doesn’t last for one reason or another, well that has been my experience. I have very little support here in Melbourne which is where I was born and grew up. My immediate family may as well not exist, I get no support from them at all. The only support and caring/understanding is from and my aunty and uncle from my mothers side of the family and unfortunately I lost my mother over 27 years ago to cancer but do know she would be by my side every step of the way but that’s not the case. So what I’m trying to say is I empathize with you both Trish and Derek and understand how you are feeling xxx ❤ Sending lots of hugs and kisses
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So so true.
It’s lovely to hear your comments and experiences and I do think so many of us do have such overlapping factors.
We actually came down from Sydney to hear but Townsville before Sydney.
We do think that Queensland would be a very difficult climate for us and so we don’t really see returning. Heat and humidity can be cruel on these diseases.
So lovely to have connected with you Annette xxx wishing you all the best my friend
When I was Dx’d with RA, Sheryl and I decided almost immediately that we needed to sell the big house and downsize. It was the best thing ever. Nothing like a declining standard of living to improve mine.
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It’s really interesting that you say that because we are looking at the same option and moving into the country. This larger home had been hard for husband to manage and the care of me.
I think we are better placed to handle a change since we have faced it already xxx
I am so glad it was the right thing for you my friend. They aren’t easy choices. X