Don’t worry – we’re not ill or injured in any way. This post is based on a hypothetical conversation I had with my spouse over the weekend.
Imagine that you’ve just been hospitalized. Maybe you won a fight with a polar bear or you found out you were severely allergic to mushrooms the scary way. (I’ll leave it up to your brilliant imaginations to come up with more creative backstories for this scenario if you don’t like the ones I’ve suggested. Ha!)
Either way, you’re in the hospital now. You could be drugged up due to severe pain or recovering from surgery. You are definitely not feeling like your normal self at any rate.
A message appears on your cell phone asking which room you’re staying in. There are a few cars full of people who want to come up and visit. What would you say to them? Will you want to see everyone? Only a few people? No one at all? How do you decide who, if anyone, to invite up?
I’ve never been hospitalized, but I’ve recovered from enough injuries and illnesses at home to know that I wouldn’t want any visitors (other than my husband and possibly my parents) in that scenario. When things are going wrong with my body, I’m incredibly quiet and withdrawn. More than anything, I crave peace and quiet on those days. The last thing I’d want to do under those circumstances is to make small talk or be a cheerful host.
Yes, I know that no reasonable person would expect wittiness or a great hosting experience out of me. I’d still feel pressured to hide how much I was hurting, though, and that’s not a good or healthy thing. Some people heal best when they’re given a lot of privacy, and I’m one of them.
This has nothing to do with how much I love anyone else in my life. My brain simply shuts down when I reach a certain level of discomfort. Socializing isn’t fun for me then. It’s incredibly draining. All I want to do is to sleep, watch Netflix, or read quietly while my body recovers. Depending on what’s bothering me – a throat problem that makes it hard to talk; an injury that reminds me it exists in agonizing ways every time someone accidentally jostles the bed or touches me the wrong way- it could even be physically painful to entertain guests.
Due to this, I’d turn all of my surprise visitors away. The people I’d actually want to see would never show up that way to begin with. My recovery would be quiet, peaceful, and beautifully hidden.
How common is this reaction? Do other people find it soothing to have many guests when they’re very sick or in pain?
Google has answered a lot of offbeat questions for me over the years, but it hasn’t been able to tell me how most people react to this situation. This makes me even more curious to know what my readers think. I’d love to hear your thoughts.