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 The Parke County Covered bridge festival ends this weekend. Even though I have lived in Indiana for three years, I have not actually been to this event. Normally, I avoided it because it’s a crowded, over-priced affair designed to separate tourists from their money. I avoided local festivals for the same reason back in Pennsylvania.  I did feel, however, that I should go see it one of these years just for the sake of seeing it. The housemate, who feels much the same way I do about these festivals, asked if I wanted to go see it. Much to her surprise, I said yes.  After she asked the sentence and heard the response, she realized her mistake and looked quickly for a way out of it.

Fortunately for her, a quick limp into the kitchen provided her with the answer she sought. “Okay. We’ll go. But you do understand that you’ll have to walk a lot, won’t you?  If I see any indication that you’re not able to walk long distances, we’re staying home.”

Now, I did not have a good response to this at the time, but now I think I do. Many such festivals have taken the leads of stores and provided mobility scooters and wheelchairs for people with mobility issues to use. I think I’ll just suggest that we rent one to her if she balks about going.  After all, she doesn’t mind spending extra time in the store when she can see I’m in pain if it will save a few cents.

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 The doctor rattled off that he was prescribing two things for fibromyalgia over a year ago today. (I will have been Lara legally for 2 years in 28 more days.) It seems I’ve marked the anniversary by recovering from yesterday’s flare-up.  The  phone also rang twice for me this morning. One was the rheumatologist’s office calling to tell me my Vitamin D levels were normal, and the second was the Hamilton Center calling to ask me to come in for an interview with their job placement program. (I have misgivings about these programs, and Indiana’s “work first” model doesn’t work well for people with disabilities, but regardless of my misgivings there are things I need besides food.)  As I sit here, trying not to fall asleep as I type this, I’m wondering if the phone will ring again today.

The dental appointment went well, although it left some questions about things Anthem has told me about the coverage.  No new wisdom teeth.  I went to pick up prescriptions from Sam’s Club  later and I must have remained standing for too long.  I went into a flare, and managed to moan and groan in the rheumatologist’s office, and nearly screamed when the phlebotomist tried to draw blood for the Vitamin D levels test.  I’ve never had a blood draw hurt this month. Otherwise, I’ll be going back to physical therapy and I’m supposed to be referred to a podiatrist to see if I need ankle braces, while suggesting I continue to go for daily walks to strengthen them.  The podiatrist she mentioned – the same one who did the surgery on my bone spurs – is one I was hoping to never see again. It’s not that he was a bad guy. It’s just that he gave me the impression he should be getting ready for retirement.

Fortunately, yesterday is in the past and whatever fallout that has yet to occur is in the future. Today, despite the itchiness that always occurs after a flare for me, I’m calm and relaxed. There may even be pizza or fried chicken for dinner tonight.  There are two live action games this weekend, and I’ll have gotten paid from freelancing two weeks in a row now. Not to mention there’s a possibility of a steady paycheck in the future.

Sure, things are not great right now, but they seem to be picking up after months of just generally being crappy.  

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I chatted with an old supervisor at Sam’s Club today.  Such a conversation would have been quickly forgotten under most circumstances, had she not brought up a new employee who called off due to foot and leg pain. The former supervisor quickly speculated that the new employee was too young to have such pains.  She probably didn’t catch the look in my eye until I reminded her that she might want to be careful before continuing this conversation.  The former lead tried to brush it off by saying I had a medical reason for the pain.

I have never met the employee in question. I also understand that supervisory staff tends to be suspicious of new employees calling off for any reason.  However, the core assumption was that someone has to be older than their late 30s or early 40s to experience that kind of pain.  If I’ve only learned one lesson from my own experiences, it’s that people who are my age certainly can experience chronic pain conditions.  People who are much younger than I am have fibromyalgia, and more severe conditions like Lupus, and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Not a single one of these conditions cares about someone’s age, although middle-aged women are more likely to suffer from them than people of other demographic groups.

It seems that I am at the awkward stage of life where I am both too young to have the problems I am having, and I’m having the same problems because I’m getting older.  Some of these pronouncements have come within a few days of each other.  Either I have a great idea for a new Chronic Illness cat meme, or people really need to make up their minds.


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