August 26, 2016

Chronic Illness Portmanteaux*

There is specialized vocabulary associated with chronic illness. Painsomnia comes immediately to mind: a combination of pain and insomnia. It even has an Urban Dictionary listing. Or when you randomly start itching, those are the histameanies. Histameanies and I go way back and they're the reason I always carry Benadryl.

Maybe you've heard of hangry (hungry-angry) but paingry was new to me. And watch out for hangry paingry! A friend introduced me to the term pain coma. That's where you hurt so much you become non-functional. I lose the ability to make decisions or speak during pain coma, which is bad news if I'm out and about. Chronic illness forces you to learn just how far you can push yourself. I try to always have cash, for example, in case I start to crash and need to pay for my meal or drink and skedaddle.

There's also much discussion of spoons. I have energy spoons, joint spoons, braining spoons, social spoons, talking good with words spoons, and so on. Sometimes I wonder why I'm so fatigued on a particular day. Then I remember that oh yeah, I'm in big pain. Most of the time I forget and can happily go about my life. Happy means the same thing in both the chronic and healthy worlds.

* Why is the word portmanteau so long? Shouldn't it have an abbreviation for itself?


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