Wednesday, February 16, 2011


IsolationNo, not the blood and body fluid kind you used to see in the hospital. [Sidebar: Back in “the day” at my first job, there were different types of isolation that we had to deal with when going up to the floors and doing phlebotomy. Heck if I can remember them all now. I recall a blood and body fluids precaution for when a patient had hepatitis or AIDS; there was a strict isolation for a patient with Creutzfeld-Jakob; I honestly can’t remember any of the others. That’s because a few years after I started working, we went to universal precautions, in which every patient and every specimen was treated as potentially infectious of any ol’ thing. So you had to wear gloves with everyone. When I started, you only had to wear gloves for phlebotomy if the patient was in isolation. I find that so hard to believe now. End sidebar.]

What was I saying? Oh yes. Isolation. When I find myself in times of trouble, isolation comes to me. I can function well on the surface, be around people, and do what needs to get done, but I get very withdrawn. I try not to be mean, but I can be at times, and I regret that. However, after 48 years, I don’t see that changing anytime soon. I’ve come to realize that it’s my coping mechanism. I don’t know if it’s the right thing to do, but if anyone were to tell me that I should open up more and be more vocal about my feelings, I’d probably tell them to mind their own damn business and get out of mine. I’ll deal with things in my own time and my own way; it’s different for everyone, as I wrote about recently. I really don’t see anything wrong with that, as long as it’s not permanent. My self-imposed isolation is never permanent.

I’m very much an introvert, and can live quite happily in my own head. I realized some time ago that it’s not entirely healthy to do that, and I’ve learned to adjust. But in times of duress, I tend to return to shut-down mode in order to get my brain around something and let myself heal. I’m very much the same way when I’m physically ill; I appreciate well-wishes and concern, but I just want to be left alone and not fussed over. If I have to barf, I’ll hold my own hair back, thank you very much.

I’m at a bit of a low ebb right now due to the illness of a family member. I think I’m kind of having flashbacks after visiting them in the hospital today (thinking about my Dad). I’ll rebound pretty quickly, because I know what is going on in my head and why. In the meantime, I’m just riding the storm out. My family is a pretty stoic bunch. We’re effusive when it comes to laughter, but when it comes to strong negative emotions, we tend to keep a lot of that in until we can deal with it on our own terms and in privacy. Is it the right thing to do? I don’t know. But like Tommy Roe says, I jam up and jelly tight, baby.


  1. I realized a long time ago, working as a hospice care volunteer, that you cannot judge anyone else for their reactions to any situation.
    We all grieve, laugh, worry, fret, rant, kvetch and moan in our own way.

  2. Sorry you're going through a hard time. I know what you mean, I tend to withdraw when I'm stressed or down too.

  3. Which is why I actually tell people to, "Keep your problems to yourself kid, I got my own".

    I was reading somewhere about Kubler-Ross and her 'stages of grief' and how they were actually for crap. More that they were misunderstood to be concrete when really the grieving process was more complicated than that.

    I miss things and people in my life. I miss being able to think about broad issues and narrow them down to a tight point that no one else may have been aware of. No, I am FAR from sharp as I once was, but the way that I cope has allowed me to live and continue to be active in my chase of whatever rabbit is ahead of me.

    One of the things that I learned as a child is to never apologize for something that works for you and does not disrupt anyone else from their living. My Dad is a stoic (but of course, he has mellowed quite a bit FOR HIM) and that is a part of my character as well. I think of myself as a person who hunkers down when life brings a storm and high winds as I walk my walk, but as Winnie the Prime Minister said, "When one is going through hell, it is best that one keeps going."

    What I have found is that troubles attract people who are drawn for THEIR reasons. It is rare that a person comes offering true comfort for the sake of the one who may or may not be in need of commiseration, and to help them find THEIR way through whatever may be troubling them.

    In the end, people who are comfortable with who they are DO actually know best how to deal with their grief in the various forms it takes. When I think of traditional grieving situations I have been a part of (loss of a loved one, job, love) and I am sorry (sort of... NOT!) that I
    don't have the dramatic and catharic emotional release that many have been trained to expect.

    That is why when I have my moments, I tell 'em to 'Keep their problems to themselves'...

  4. Keeping you in my thoughts AND concerns. Introvert or not, no man (or woman) is an island.

    I'm sorry to hear about your family member and understand completely how our thoughts can wander to other events of our lives.

    Keep your chin up, my dear friend!

  5. Hang in there ... everyone handles illness of a loved one in their own way and who's to say that any particular approach -- introverted or extroverted -- is 'right' or 'wrong,' so long as it's not causing the person any pain ...?

  6. Troubled times zap our strength, but tomorrow is another day, and then another...


I'm funny how, I mean funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you?