Since getting my feeding tube, my time spent in hospitals has reduced dramatically. While I’m beyond grateful for the opportunity to live my life outside of institutions, the time away has left room for unease to develop. Situations that were once routine now again feel unfamiliar; sparking moments of fear and anxiety that are only compounded by past negative experiences.

I wasn’t prepared for the feeling of living a double life that would come with improved function. Most days, to anyone passing me on the street, tube aside, I would look relatively healthy and “normal”. On plenty of days, I feel pretty close to that as well. However, occasional appointments and problems still arise. With said occasional appointments, procedures, and problems, comes doctors’ visits and hospital trips, and visits to a life that I once lived constantly. Visits to a routine that I once thought might never end. Having been given a taste of the most healthy life I have led since middle school, taking back the “sick person” identity, if only for a moment, feels fundamentally uncomfortable. Explaining to people who haven’t known “sick me” that I still struggle is equally difficult.

Space from the medical system has provided space for some degree of fear and discomfort to redevelop (not that I’ll ever admit that out loud). After all of my negative experiences within those walls, in my ideal world I would never have to return. Truthfully, even in this world, I want to never return. I suppose that my next adjustment challenge is trying to find my balance walking the line between two worlds, and, just like all other challenges, I’ll figure it out in the end. For now, I’ll acknowledge my discomfort, and simply sit with it as needed.

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