Life can be pretty stressful at times. Add eye issues to the mix, and I sometimes feel as if I’m dangling precariously off the edge of a jagged cliff in gale-force winds at high tide, hanging on by my fingernails (and I have very short fingernails). People who know me are well aware of how much I struggle each day to battle the ongoing fear, uncertainty, and paranoia caused as a result of multiple retinal detachments. So why is it that some people (and these are people whom I thought knew me pretty well) consistently come out with unhelpful, shallow, and downright stupid remarks? Clearly, their mothers never told them, as mine did, “If you can’t say anything helpful, don’t say anything at all!”.
Anyway… Arnold Wesker famously made the point that “you can’t change people” so instead, I’ve come up with a number of potential solutions for dealing with such people.
- Shoot them.
– Deals directly and permanently with the problem.
– May make a mess.
– Tricky when not in possession of a shotgun.
– May result in prosecution on a murder charge.
- Poke them in the eye or deliver a swift blow to their head in an effort to cause a retinal detachment.
– They will then know exactly what it feels like and will never again make such unhelpful and stupid remarks.
– This action may not lead to a detached retina.
– Could result in an eyeball being empaled on the end of a digit.
– Could cause other unplanned unjuries.
– May result in being prosecuted for GBH.
- Ignore them.
– Where possible, this is an effective solution; e.g. with an acquaintance or ‘friend’, it’s relatively easy to simply stop contacting them.
– Tricky if it’s someone with whom enforced contact is required on a regular basis; e.g. a work colleague or a spouse (although in the case of the latter, I recommend divorce).
- Replace them.
– This means getting to meet a lot of new people. Potentially, understanding people!
– It could be quite tiring having to find new friends / doctors / family members / jobs / spouses.
– In the case of new spouses, it may not be financially viable when taking into account wedding and divorce costs.
- Explain the situation.
– This may result in an epiphany, leading to enlightenment, understanding, and therefore changed behaviour.
– When dealing with more extreme cases of idiocy, this is unfortunately more likely to result in further frustration, leading to a desire to attempt potential solution number 1.
- Grit teeth and say nothing.
– They may give up and go away.
– This may cause a sore jaw, and/or toothache.
– They may think that silence signifies a speech problem as well as an eye problem.
– They may take silence as agreement and reach the conclusion that their foolish comments are perfectly acceptable, in which case they will never learn.
- Employ sarcasm in responding to them.
– This can be quite satisfying.
– As with potential solution number 5, such people are unlikely to understand sarcasm and may instead take it literally, in which case – again – they will never learn.
I’m now almost two years into my RD journey and so far I’ve attempted solutions 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7, with varying degrees of success. I’ll keep you posted on my progress, but if you don’t hear from me for a while it may be that I’ve resorted to solution 1 or 2. In the meantime, should anyone need a handy reminder of unhelpful versus helpful things to say to an RD patient, please read: https://rdramblings.wordpress.com/2015/06/19/im-not-usually-a-violent-person-but/.
Note: Reading and acting on the above blog post could save lives!