**Sorry for the typos – I wrote my post on the WordPress app, using the hunt and peck method, mostly, on my ipad, to fix Siri typos**
I am not writing for sympathy as much as for awareness. I know I lost “followers,” with my last post. This could offend others. But, I write for awareness. If you don’t want to be aware, I understand. Life is more comfortable when you can say something nice here or there and then live a full life. Checking in on your family may be all you can do, so you know about this and don’t want to read about it. I get it. I wish I didn’t 🙂
If you blog, you know Facebook doesn’t share a lot anymore. This was too long for Twitter, but I did want to share it. I once read (I would link if I could find it) that illnesses without a definite endpoint makes people uncomfortable. Things that don’t have a cure make them really anxious to be near.
Hell, I have them and they make me uncomfortable. Not just physically, either, but emotionally. I would rather have something that would end. People don’t bring dinner to people with an indefinite illness. Even families have to move on with their lives and ask you to take Uber or a Taxi, if you aren’t feeling well enough to drive. I understand because people shouldn’t put their lives on hold for something that will never end or could be years before a resolution takes shape.
However, while I wait on another final (and by final diagnosis, I mean even that first appointment since I’m still waiting. I thought it was the obvious thing – an injury, but I am deteriorating faster than I can be treated. I am in pain that doesn’t match the “obvious.” I am frustrated, but healthcare is trial and error sometimes. Now that my doctors realize that something is not right, I get to wait. And wait some more. Fights of screaming in agony apparently didn’t tip them off.
Today was my first full day using a walker outside of my home. The first time I left the house with it and used it in the store, while my husband really did the shopping. I just needed to leave my prison… I mean house. We needed to pick up something for me to work on my own extra Physical Therapy.
It is already uncomfortable enough to have to use a walker (or wheelchair for some) when you’re young, so when the wife of a minister I respected saw me with my spouse, and she recognized me, did a double take while she was on her phone (so it’s not like I would have even waved hi to embarrass her) and hauled it back to the side of the store she came from it hurts. I am honestly not sure how I stopped my tears from flowing.
Every fear I had about using it came true. Will I ever attend a service again? People who know me could see me and be uncomfortable. Do I want to be the source of that? I try to discuss the lives of the people around me. I try to remember what they like, so I can tell them about a new movie I saw that will be coming out that will fit their interests or if their favorite author is releasing a book. I ask about their race times. Since my husband will be at work, I’ll sit alone. A walker isn’t a friend. I wish it were.
In a culture where health, wealth, beauty, athleticism, and things that are not conveyed by a walker, it makes me hesitant to use it. Yes, it can provide relief to certain body parts. But the emotional toll is huge. I can hurt physically or emotionally. Which is worse? I can’t change anyone’s perceptions. So, do I stay at home?
If I was older, it wouldn’t be so horrifying. It would be an accepted part of getting older. Instead, I’m a social pariah, despite my best attempts. I don’t want special treatment. I just want normal treatment. It’s hard to ignore walking aids, but it’s easy not to run away.
Faith and illness can be fragile, so don’t take any chances. Don’t be unnecessarily hurtful.
People who are horrified by my mere existence as a 27 year old using a walker probably don’t even remember for more than a few minute, but I’ll have to work really hard to forget it along with all of the other pain. I will work on on it, because it is part of getting well. However, I hope that I’ve never done most of the things that leave me crying, although I am sure I have. No one is perfect, but happy Public Service Announcement!