Thursday, June 16, 2016

All In A Name

One of William Shakespeare's most frequently uttered quotes, "A rose by any other name would sound as sweet," spoken by the love-struck Juliette in reference to her beau Romeo and his unfortunate last name, makes me think of the name of my own disease Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome. After my diagnoses three years ago this August, I accepted that people would have to know (and picture) that I puke a lot.

I'm not particularly keen on people visualizing me during an episode. And visualize me puking my brains out is something I'm pretty sure happens.

When I worked at summer camps I received quite possibly the best advice when it came to taking care of kids. Don't ever say don't. The reason you don't, is that whenever you say don't, that puts into the recipient of the don't the idea to "do." Still confused? OK. Don't picture pink fluffy elephants. See, you just pictured a pink elephant.

Therefore, when I inform people I have cyclic vomiting syndrome. I know. I just know. They are visualizing me puke. Imagine if you had a disease called Spinning Explosive Diarrhea. You had to tell everyone that you had epic spells of diarrhea. That would kind of suck, huh?

Perhaps I'm too sensitive. When I was pregnant I didn't even tell anyone until I was eight months along.  I couldn't handle people visualizing the biological means that causes someone to get pregnant. Everyone just thought I was getting weirdly fat.

Names. They are important. We are given a name when we are born. We name our pets. We name streams. We name oceans. Everything we as humans see or touch has a name.  I spent three decades not really understanding I had a condition that had a name. I thought I was more prone than others at getting the stomach flu. I knew that most people weren't hospitalized for the flu. I knew that most people didn't vomit six times per hour. I knew there was something different about my illness. So I gave my illness a name. I called it The Evil Monkey Flu From Hell. Long name, huh? Still, a little more poetic than Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome.

For those of us suffering with this illness and suffering with telling people the name of your illness, hang in there. Those of us who regularly work with kids give up saying "don't" for one day and try instead giving them constructive things to do. You might be surprised. Or you might not. Kids are pretty unpredictable--especially that stubborn rebellious Juliette.  I mean, her entire family told her do not date Romeo. Look what she did. And what happened?

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