Wednesday, June 1, 2011

I See You, Baby

     My husband and I were sitting on the couch last night, watching season 4 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and something happened to me which I thought was a phenomenon exclusive to my husband - I looked at one of the characters on the show and thought, "Marfan's?" Wait, what? I said it out loud, too, "That guy's hand make him look like he could have Marfan's." My husband took this in stride and just commented, "Yeah, it definitely seems possible," but I've been thinking about it ever since. It's the first time I've ever even had that thought about someone else based solely on their physical appearance and I don't quite know what it means, as far as the workings in my head go.

     The episode we were watching, "Hush", is one I've seen a dozen times before. I own all seven seasons of Buffy (I know you're jealous) and this isn't the first time I've watched them, obviously. That particular episode is one I remember watching when the show was originally on the air, because it's such a good one. (Really, if you haven't seen it, you should. There's a reason it won an Emmy.) I only mention my familiarity with the episode because I want it to be very clear how much differently I view certain things now without even realizing it.

     Before my husband, having never heard of Marfan's Syndrome, those actors portraying the villains of the piece, the "Gentlemen", would've registered in my head as just being tall and skinny, IF that characteristic even registered at all. Now, though, because it's such a presence in our lives, I guess it's wormed its way into my subconscious and pops out when I least expect it. Is that a good thing, that I'm apparently more aware of the disorder and those like it? Maybe. Perhaps that means I can see things, just a little, as my husband sometimes does. I know he can spot potential Marfs in the wild more easily than I can, probably because he's so much more aware of the physical characteristics than me. So maybe this means that I'm becoming a little more sensitive to the physicality of his disorder, the obvious presentations.

     Or maybe this is an indicator that I'm becoming overly sensitive to the issue, which is SO not who I want to be. I like to take the most practical approach I can to "sensitive" matters. I don't agree with the mindset of brushing things off and under the emotional carpet, never to be dealt with, but neither do I hold with making every.little.thing about the issue. I can't stand it when people let themselves become defined by what is truly one aspect of their lives, however large that aspect may be. In my case, yes, my husband has Marfan's Syndrome, but no, I am not going to dedicate my life to educating everyone and their brother about the intricacies of the disorder. There is much more to me, much more to him, and much more to us to allow it that large a role.

     That being said, I'm no closer to figuring out where I stand on my newfound awareness than I was when I started. I think, for me, it's more of a curiosity and an, "A-ha! There are more! I found someone else who's like my husband!" than anything else. It's a feeling not so much of solidarity as being not as alone and that's always kind of nice. It is for me, anyway; my husband is still very uncomfortable when a stranger recognizes him for what he is and the one time he saw another Marfan's patient in the wild, he was a little wigged out. I suspect it's because it's not fun looking in a mirror when the reflection is jacked up.

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