Last Tuesday, following all the weekend excitement–out-of-town company, crying at the Pride Parade, visiting with friends, and perhaps a bit of the flu thrown in for good measure–I felt crummy. I had the kind of day I call a Leukemia Day, where I’m acutely aware that I have cancer. On a scale of 1-10 of general unwellness, I was a 10.
But I’ve told you before that 1-10 scales don’t really work for me. Either I feel sick or I don’t. I’m concrete and I can’t distinguish fine gradations easily. Am I a 4 or 5 or 6 today? I have no idea. And I can’t compare how I feel today with how I felt yesterday. I was a 4 yesterday and I’m a 6 today? Beats me.
But I get annoyed by people who complain about things and don’t come up with a solution. So, in order to practice what I preach, I created my own wellness scale that I thought would better capture how I’m feeling day to day. I’m speaking of global wellness here, which may include fatigue, pain, mood, and whatever other factors make a person feel unwell.
Because I prefer pictures to numbers, I decided to use trucks as reference points, hence the Truck Scale. This scale is based on the size of truck that has hit me that day. (For you to accept this premise, you’ll have to suspend concerns about my bruising or even getting killed when the truck hits me. If I can, you can.)
There are rare days when I don’t get hit by any truck at all. No sleeping drivers send me flying, no zombie-like Annie walking out into the road without looking both ways. Those days are the best, and are lowest on the scale. I don’t have tons of days like these.
Next on this scale are the days I get hit by a Tonka truck or maybe one of those electric vehicles parents buy their overindulged preschoolers. Those days aren’t too bad, but I’m still aware I’m not quite myself. Maybe I’ll forget to do up my fly or lose my wallet or some such half-awake thing.
Getting hit by an F150 would fall somewhere in the middle because F150s are built Ford tough. I imagine it wouldn’t feel great if a truck this size took me down. And imagine how I might describe my unwellness that day: Sorry if I seem a bit out of it, honey, but I was RAMmed by an F150.
On the worst days, I feel like an 18-wheeler with a full and heavy load has taken me down. Recall Tuesday. I felt crummy all day, napped hard in the afternoon, and got very little accomplished. I hate those days. I also get frustrated when I wake up feeling okay (smaller truck day), and crash later (18-wheeler appears out of nowhere).
Wednesday wasn’t much improved, perhaps an F150 day. Come to think of it, I’ve been up and down the Truck Scale all week. During those 18-wheeler days (a.k.a., Leukemia Days), I remind myself that those days don’t occur that often. That helps.