Sunday, January 16, 2011

0 to 70 in Less Than 60 Seconds

Imagine walking into a local cafe, you order your meal and sit at a table waiting for the server to bring you your lunch. As your waiting you overhear a conversation of two woman at the next table.

Gurtie: "Agnes, how are you feeling today?"

Agnes: "Oh Gurtie, just getting out of bed is a chore."

Gurtie: "I know what you mean. When I finally get enough energy to pull myself out of bed, I have to use the wall to balance myself to keep from falling."

Agnes: "That's awful Gurtie, I have the same problem every morning, my dogs
actually make a run for it when I head down the hall."

Gurtie: "It's so frustrating, I tried to take a shower without my shower chair today and almost passed out! I can't even take a shower without a shower chair!"

Agnes: "I'm so glad I don't need one of those yet, though bathing is still a huge challenge, my biggest fear is someone finding me passed out in my birthday suit on the shower floor."

Gurtie: "So, what did you order for lunch?"

Agnes: "Not much, just soup. Never sure what my stomach can handle. Nausea every day gets old Gurtie."

Gurtie:" I hear ya, I've always boasted of having a stomach like a steel trap, now I'm gluten free, lactose intolerant and veggies send my system to a tail spin."

Agnes: "How'd that shopping trip go with your daughter last week, I know you were a bit worried about it?"

Gurtie: "Took the wheelchair, didn't run into too many people. But it is hard not to always be able to get at what you want. It was nice to go shopping
without getting too pooped out!"

Agnes: "Yeah the last shopping trip I made took days to recover."

Gurtie: "How are the migraines, any relief?"

Agnes: "A bit better since the doctor prescribed"

Gurtie: "So frustrating when you can't remember the next word, happens to me all the time."

Agnes: Yawn...."Getting tired, should head for home and take a nap."

Gurtie: "Yup, pretty tired myself a nap sounds great!"

Both ladies get up, one grabs the table to steady herself and they both head slowly out the door.

You might be thinking that this conversation is coming from a couple sweet retired ladies struggling with the plagues of old age. But this could easily come from a pair of ladies suffering with dysautonomia. Switch the names to Amy, Ashley, Bethani, Carol, Cathy, Cyndi, Donna, Geney, Kristen, Lyla, Marilyn, Michele, Miranda, Stacy, Tracy or Vi. Instead of the pains of a 70 year old, it could be the pains of twenty, thirty, forty or fifty year old. Way too early for these kinds of problems.

Dysautonomia makes me feel like I'm seventy. When I was younger I promised myself "when I get old I'm never going to be one of "those people" who sit around complaining about their ailments". I'm realizing that when you wake up feeling awful 24/7 and feeling bad plagues every minute of the day, sometimes you just can't get away from it. Feeling ill in the foreground of your thoughts sometimes makes you speak of your illness more than you'd like too. It takes a quite bit to not complain. I'm getting better at giving the pat answer of "I'm fine" to those who are just going through the motions of social etiquette, and being honest with those who really care and want to know.

Feeling like Gurtie with Michele on the inside.

2 Cor. 12:10
Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.


  1. It was bitter sweet reading that. reminds me of the beginning of my conversations with my best potsy pal! We talk of everything going on, but we first always check in on the regular symptoms of the moment making they're big impact on our bodies, or the latest meds we're trying in hopes to have a good enough day to shower and make a meal all in the same day. I always sad I would never be a complainer either, but it is very difficult not to. I feel as though we either don't open up to people at all how we're feeling, or we're feeling as though all we're doing is talking about it. Hard to find a balance!

  2. I think I had that conversation today with my bestie who has MS. We went out to the movies, struggled up the stairs like a pair of grannies flopped down in our seats and did the health talk while the ads rolled. (sigh). We did console ourselves with 2hrs of Johnny Depp (The Tourist) after though.

    I tell people I am "fantastic" now when they ask. The majority don't really want to know.

  3. Even to those who care, I find myself cringing when I hear myself talk about health issues... if I weren't going through them, I would swear I was making my symptoms up. I don't think the friend who was worried about my insomnia and heart problems (the only ones I mentioned to him) really knew I was completely serious when I mentioned that wasn't the half of it. I didn't mention how both dizzy and lightheaded I was (vertigo and dysautonomia rearing their heads), and how much I was afraid I would throw up right now.

    I use many mental reservations... so if I say I'm fine, I'm thinking, "fine for someone who feels like she's 80... and has the bones of an 80". Even to those who care about me, I find myself holding back.

    Oh, and I LOVE that scripture passage... It is one of my favorite, right along with the passage of St. Paul's second epistle to the Corinthians, in chapter 12: "'My grace is sufficient for thee; for power is made perfect in infirmity'. Gladly therefore will I glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may dwell in me."

  4. Thanks for that scripture. :)

  5. Boy, did I relate to this post. I never wanted to be one of 'those' old people, either, and here I am, still pretty young and blogging about my daily crap. Oy. Who would have thought? I have to laugh about it or I'll throw a pity party, and who likes soggy tissue confetti?