The Fibromyalgia Fall And Flicker

NYC - MoMA: Andrew Wyeth's Christina's World

Image by wallyg via Flickrfter

On one of those freezing days we suffered through recently I forced myself to do a couple of errands even though with Fibromyalgia, the 50 mph winds and cold temperatures are not my friends. I was proud after I did my first errand but then I fell on a step, hard. I found myself sprawled and hurt in front of a store.  I landed heavily on my left wrist and right knee. I had to wiggle my body closer so I could tap my nails on their door. A few times. I felt like Christina, in Andrew Wyeth’s  famous painting, Christina’s World. Finally, two women came out looking at me like I was a drug addict, alcoholic, or homeless person that  decided to crash there for a good time. The women opened the door a few inches. I said “I fell, I’m hurt,  I can’t move, can you help me up ?”” I can still see their suspicious faces as if I had hit them up for some heroin.  Finally, a man came running from the back of the store and moved the bitches, I mean women, aside. “What happened,” he cried “are you hurt? Let me help you.”  I was so thankful to hear kind words I could have cried. He came over, pulled me up, then made me come in to the store to sit down and asked if I wanted some cold water. This man became my prince for the day.

Driving home was excruciatingly painful but I had no choice. When I arrived, I sat down on our faded, green living room couch, put my head down and stayed there, not moving.  A few minutes later my husband came in, looked at my face and said “What’s wrong?”  I said ‘I fell’ and then told him the story. My wrist was incredibly painful. Knowing my history with loose bones and plenty of breaks and sprains, my daughter drove me to the doctor’s office. She’s 16 and a half, has her junior license and she sailed through the streets remaining  calm, kind and mature.

An x-ray was taken and I returned to his office for the results. I was thrilled that it was not broken or sprained but also incredulous because of the pain, I couldn’t move my hand.  He asked me for a list of medications that I took and I said Synthroid and Savella. His eyebrows furrowed, his voice became louder and firmer and he asked “what do you take Savella for?”  I answered “Fibromyalgia” and then I saw it. The flicker of suspicion in his eyes and the dismissive nod of his head. I then asked him what I should take for the excruciating pain and he snapped like the arrogant lizard he was and said “Motrin, that’s it.”  He shut my file loudly and ushered me quickly out the door. Fibromyalgia is still, for some people, a mystery and a question mark. I hadn’t seen that flicker of hostility and disbelief in a long time; I will never see it from THIS  ignorant doctor again.

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“Because I Am”

Black balloons

Image by stvno via Flickr

Tonight I am having a pity party for one; I am the guest of honor. You are welcome to join me but motivational speeches and happy clichés are not allowed. I’ve learned that the sun will probably not come out tomorrow, it will be cold, dark and windy just like the last few weeks. Some of my friends with chronic illnesses seem to be feeling the same way: Is it the weather?  Seasonal Affective Disorder? Pain and unhappiness? Other friends that don’t have chronic illnesses are also fed up and feeling down. I’m wallowing in self-pity and I am allowing myself to do so. Wallowing and venting are the main attractions in my self-imposed symposium.

1) Both my husband and I have been very discouraged because of the job market; he has been unemployed for a long time. He is always the best candidate, the one they love, the one they want. We get excited, euphoric even, and then the final news hits us like a tsunami: “We would love to have him but there is no funding approved for this job now” or “There’s a hiring freeze that just  started.” We plummet, like rapidly deflating black balloons.

2) I need to protect myself from future painful disappointments. While, in the past, I have tried to feel positive and hopeful,  I am now keeping my defenses up because it is too damn painful to feel excited and then let down over and over again.I am tired of feeling bad and blue and not having anything to look forward to. Yes, I have tried to be positive, I count my blessings and I list the things that I am grateful for: nothing works. A good friend of mine told me she was depressed last week and I asked her “why?”  “Because I am” she said. I now understand that completely.

4) Physically, I have no energy. I’ve been over-eating and sleeping way too much these past two weeks. I’m trying to sleep straight through to May but the chances of that are pretty slim. I stopped taking the autoimmune drug that was helping my energy level because it made my legs ache continuously and I wanted to rid myself of extra pain. This is what happens when I try to rid myself of drugs and toxins in my body. I end up asleep. I made the wrong decision.

5) The holiday season is not joyful for me. After my father died, the holiday spirit died with him. We go through the motions for the children. I’ve accepted this but each year after his birthday in November things start to go downhill fast, straight through to New Year’s Eve, the night he passed away. Why can’t I prepare myself? Why is it only familiar when it is happening again? Think of it as a long, a really long extended period of situational depression.

6) I’m having a default Thanksgiving in my house this year. My mom broke her wrist and I just couldn’t let her have it in her house. She is also depressed because of her broken bone and pain and having to be dependent on others, this affects me too. I feel bad for her. I can’t begin to talk about my self-involved sister, there is too much to say and at the same time, nothing to say. Thanksgiving is in one week, I have nothing prepared and I am both overwhelmed and underwhelmed.  I will rally for the holidays because I have to; it’s a necessity not a choice.

Let me tell you directly what I want:  Accept how I feel and allow me to have the emotions I do have. Don’t analyze, debate or criticize me. Try active listening. Help out during Thanksgiving and be kind to one another. I would truly be grateful if you could do just that.