Monday, February 20, 2012

FIle This Under "No Chit..."

Blisters don't need chemo.

It's almost like a walker's mantra; you'll see it on signs held by walker-cheerleaders, on pink paper stapled to light posts, on t-shirts, and on dozens of walker-blogs.

The first few times I saw it, I agreed; yep, blisters don't need chemo, just some consideration and care.

But after seeing it a hundred times or so...mostly all I think is, "Meh."

And often tacked onto that is, "Yeah, but they freaking suck. And they hurt. And they can get infected. And they HURT."

I know the intent is not to diminish one person's pain over someone else's...but that's pretty much the effect. When you're limping along with the bottom of your foot covered in a blister that has another blister under it, and you have ten more miles to go, seeing one of those signs isn't cute and it isn't encouraging.

It kind of says, "If you stop because of a blister, you're a wuss."

You know the medical crew can red-card you for a bad enough blister? You know an infected blister can lead to all kinds of complications? Sepsis. Amputation.

I've gotten to where I hate seeing this cute little mantra. I don't like its insinuation. I don't like that somewhere in the middle of a 3 Day or an Avon Walk might be someone who sees this and thinks that the searing pain they feel is not reason enough to pack it in for the day.

No, blisters don't need chemo. But they do need attention. They can be serious. They are reason enough to sit down and make an assessment, and they are sometimes enough to stop walking.

I don't know about you, but as much as I believe in the effort that goes into doing these walks to raise money that will hopefully fund the research that finds the cure, I don't believe that anyone should risk too much. Training isn't comfortable; it's ripe for all kinds of pain, but that's fine. That's the necessary effort. You take the risks of potential injury and walk the miles necessary to get ready to walk the "real" walk--but once you are injured, you really need to reassess.

So blisters don't need chemo. Neither do strains, sprains, cuts, abrasions, or broken bones, but no one would suggest to a walk that they keep going if they've snapped their left tibia. No one would blink if someone stopped because they somehow ripped a gash in their thigh and are bleeding enough to need stitches. Yet we champion walking on wounds.

They are wounds.

True, most people will stop when they need to, but in just three walks I've already come across a few people who wouldn't stop even though their feet were practically on fire and covered in fluid-packed blisters. A few who refused to go to the medical tent because it's "just a few blisters," even though what they had were a few huge blisters that were beginning to fill with pus. Because, you know, the pain of that was so much less than someone undergoing breast cancer treatment, suffering through the effects of chemotherapy and radiation.

Can we please stop saying this?

Surely we have enough other cute little motivational sayings. Save Second Base! Fight Like a Girl! DO IT FOR THE BOOBIES!

But not this one. Let's top championing a mindset that has potential--even if remote--for someone to go beyond the point they should.


Sleepypete said...

It's one reason the cricket and rugby players laugh at the footballers over here ...

Rugby players will play on with blood pouring out and cricket players will take the field far too often with broken fingers (I have!).

But the footballers will roll around in agony at the slightest excuse.

I'm with you with thinking the "Blisters don't need chemo" is patronising ... Keeping going through stuff hurting should be seen as being worthy of huge respect, rather than being dismissed as "your hurt isn't as bad as others". It still hurts (except when it's a footballer pretending).

Char said...

What brought this musing on?

Thumper said...

Lack of sleep and then a weird dream about being chased by an old woman trying to whack me with her Blisters sign, I think...

I dunno. It's been bugging me.

Derby, Ducky said...

I haven't done a walk but I agree, if you are hurting your body to the point of its fighting back with blisters etc. Time to get it fixed.