I've had a pretty rough time with health issues over the past eight months or so. I've been in and out of hospital, bounced from specialist to specialist, and have had practically every diagnostic test known to god and man - many of which are unpleasant and painful.
After listening to me woe at him, one of my mates said to me: "You should give yourself a reward every time you have to do something horrible." I thought this was a very good idea. But what kind of reward?
Before I went into hospital for the first time, a friend, whose t-shirts I had admired for a while, told me about shirt.woot. I'd never got around to looking at it, but in hospital I had a lot of time to kill, so I looked up the site and checked out all the shirts. There were half a dozen that I could have bought on the spot, but I didn't, knowing I had to be a little conservative with money. Then I came up with an idea.
From that point on, every time I had to undergo a horrible test or procedure, I gave myself a 'woot token'. Each woot token could be spent on a woot shirt. I hoarded these tokens jealously, carefully considering whether each new day's shirt was worth spending one of my precious tokens.
On some days, when I was miserable, in pain, and had just had enough of it all, the promise of a woot token was all that got me to agree to yet another test. One of my best days was when my partner came to visit unexpectedly early, saying: "You got a woot package in the mail! I had to bring it in straight away!" (And that particular shirt is still my favourite of all time - I cried when I lost it, thinking it had been left at the hospital, and then rejoiced when it turned up in an unexpected place at home.)
When you're chronically ill and pretty depressed, particularly in hospital where you rarely leave your bed, it's very tempting to forgo caring about your appearance. Many patients lie around in their pjs all day. But my woot shirts helped make sure that the ritual of showering and dressing every morning was stuck to. I loved showing off my shirts, and got a real buzz when other patients or medical staff commented on them.
Checking out the daily woot, keeping tabs on the reckoning, and voting in the derby (as well as cheering when designs I liked won, and cursing when they dropped out of the fog, or worse - came fourth place yet again) helped keep me amused through many tedious days of boredom.
I'm at home now, but I've had a really bad week with respect to pain, so I've given myself another couple of woot tokens for sticking it out so far. I'm currently dithering, because there's still half a dozen designs that I want!!!
So after all that, I just wanted to say thanks to everyone involved with woot - all the people who make it possible to provide us with cheap t-shirts with fantastic designs, the code monkeys and admin who manage the website and write such great descriptions, and all the artists who contribute such amazing and amusing artwork. You're all ace, and have helped me through some awful times. Thankyou ^_^