Everyone sees the bright smiley part of me, but let me tell you what happens behind closed doors. Last night, I fell asleep with my face in a blue plastic bag because I was horribly nauseous. I cried myself to sleep because of some unnecessary drama in my life that I didn’t even bring on myself. I winced in pain as my back violently spasmed and forced me into an unnatural arched position. I worried about this week’s admission and round of testing and procedures for my undiagnosed neuromuscular disease. I prayed that sleep would come. I was lucky this time, as I did manage to get two hours of sleep. Most times, I am not so luckhese days quite a few movies and TV shows feature individuals with long term illnesses. Most of the films and television shows that I have seen center around cancer. Now, I don't know what it's like to have cancer, but I do know what it is like to live with several chronic illnesses. After 23 hospital admissions and counting, hundreds of doctor’s appointments, thousands of needle sticks, and more procedures than most people will go through in their life, I think I can explain what it's really like to spend an extended amount of time in an ill, in an extreme amount of pain and in the hospital.
Illness is often portrayed in the media and entertainment as "glamorous". I'm here to tell you that this is far from the real world. Think about the things I described in the first paragraph. Is the anything “glamorous” about the struggles I have described? I don’t think so.
In several shows, such as the "Red Band Society", the teens are free to roam the hallways at all hours, hide on the hospital roof with other patients, and skateboard through the hallways. They evade the doctors and nurses like it is a game of hide and seek. These shenanigans would never be permitted in a hospital. When you are sick, many people usually have a drop in energy. Have you ever been so fatigued and sleep-deprived for so long that you can’t even push the button on your pain pump to give yourself a slight bit of relief?
Did I mention the boredom? Sure, magazines, video games, books, or Netflix can be very entertaining for a little while, but when the hours turn to days and the days turn to weeks or longer. There is only so much you can do to entertain yourself
These shows don't accurately show the pain that patients face while being treated for their various conditions. It is not all sunshine and rainbows. In addition, consider the fear when we are faced with another surgical procedure or a risky new treatment that may help or further harm us. You can’t always see the scars from dozens of needle sticks, surgeries, and central lines that cover our bodies.
Don’t fool yourselves. Hospitals are not the playgrounds that the media portrays them to be.
In today’s media, people fighting illnesses are considered “inspirational” and their fights are embellished, with unrealistic portrayals of what occurs in hospitals in the media. Somehow, this “embellishment” is supposed to make the battle easier, but the reality of it is, that portrayal of a hospital environment is far from the reality.