The essay is very focused upon a social work perspective and that, combined with an exploration of the ethical models of Aristotle or Kant might not be of interest to many people. I wanted to provide context in addition to what I'm writing now though and it is another indication of how different my focus was only one year ago. And yet, how I'm almost wrestling with the reality this very day.
I appreciate this might all seem confusing and opaque so far. My apologies. I mentioned in a previous post that I felt I was standing at a cross-roads in respect of so many things lately. Decisions I make and actions I take will change my path. Returning to values and ethics, I guess 'consequential-ism' is a good word for what I mean. Everything I think and do has a consequence and leads me somewhere (and also leads me farther away from places/people).
The support of the physiotherapist and occupational therapist had given me a boost. A very welcome one. It also creates consequences. My initial enthusiasm about the delivery of the elbow crutches created a faulty sense of what my life would be like from this week onwards. I would be out and about with my crutches, no longer housebound. Well - no. In reality, I still cannot stay standing up for longer than a few minutes. Crutches aren't going to fix that.
I also fear I might become a measure of success for the therapists. Will they be judged on whether they can make me 'better'? Already, one of the therapists has suggested CBT and normalising my sleep and waking hours and activities. Unfortunately, it isn't so simple. I must sleep when I cease functioning (or at least rest by staring into space and laying flat) and that cannot be dictated by a clock. So, dilemma number 1: Am I helping or hindering myself by engaging with a Rehab team? Am I being defeatist and negative by not trying to fit in with 'normality' in terms of rest periods and activity etc?
And now we return to values and ethics (it is all linked, I promise!). What the hell am I to do with my life? This question keeps coming back into my mind again and again. I am struck by there being some wisdom in stopping focusing so much on illness. Yes, I am unwell and, yes, my abilities are much decreased. But is focusing on this so much 'healthy'? Is surrounding myself with others who are focused on their illnesses too 'healthy'? Then there is the opposite side of the argument. The wrestling with ethics. Now I've become aware of the suffering that goes on amongst people I've become close to, now that I've been given glimpses of their everyday struggles, how can I ethically say that I should spend less time focused upon illness? Shouldn't I ethically be spending whatever energy I have in trying to find ways to make a difference in people's lives? So, dilemma number 2: Should I focus less on my own illness and/or the illnesses of others or should I devote more of myself to helping others?
These things are best in threes, apparently, so I'll also mention the next thing I'm toiling with. How do I find a balance between acceptance and trying to get better? I strongly sense (and others have suggested it to me) that acceptance is something I am struggling with. For me, acceptance means giving up and consigning myself to being ill forever. My instinct is to keep researching, keep trying new treatment ideas and keep aiming to protect what function I currently have. Again, there are consequences to this. Life is passing me by. What if I just accepted this is what I'm currently like and tried to carve out some sort of life for myself to work alongside my limitations? So, dilemma number 3: How can I make peace with my current lack of health and still retain a desire to get better?
If you have reached this point, I applaud you. This will not be regarded as one of my more coherent posts. If I have confused you, I apologise. Confusion reigns supreme for me right now and perhaps putting all this 'out there' will bring some form of clarity or elicit some form of sage advice. Worth a try!