At the gym I go to, the time of day I go, I am 15-20 years older than the instructors and 10-20-30 years younger than the [mostly] women in class. And most of them don’t use a cane/walking stick like I do. Getting out of the whirlpool a few weeks ago, I heard behind me, What’s the matter with her? The response: Oh, she’s got a lot of problems, all in her back and more. Then the first one again: Mm-mm-mm, least I was old when I got my problems.
Add to that most of them look at me and think I’m in my 30s.
I hate meeting new or newish people, those who don’t know I’m sick, who haven’t seen the cane or my posts or who last heard I was tenure track and writing and and and and and. It’s not the first but the second or third, “Yes, but what do you do?” that makes me ready to go home. It’s too much to explain:
- I hurt too badly to think the way working/non-chronically ill people do without effort.
- I hurt too badly to even imagine thinking my way through the simplest problem or an interaction that goes on long enough for one of my pain centers, or 3, to go off like fireworks.
- I have to sit down. Now I have to stand up. Now I need to sit. Now I need to lie down. Where’s the bathroom? Are there stairs? How many? How long is the drive? When can I get back home to put on my pajamas and play mental games to feel like a human and not a raw nerve wrapped in deteriorating joints and inflamed tendons and muscle spasms that have, and will again, soon I’m sure, make me cry?
I have so little of the life I used to have, that I wanted, that I actually needed and worked so hard for.
Even I hate that. It’s not embarrassment. It’s disgust. But if I walked around fully and flamingly disgusted with myself all the time, I wouldn’t be walking around at all.
So what do I do? Make it from hour 1 to hour 6 to hour 10 and do it again the next day. And next week. And next year.
2460 days and counting.
You don’t want the details. You wouldn’t understand anyway.