One More Disability Disappointment
I’m young! Accepting my disability has been a challenge. Sometimes, I am vastly miserable under the weight of the pain of my disease. Other times, I feel capable. I am a busy grandmother, I remember everyone’s birthday, I am available any time to talk. I go shopping, I clean my house and I write. I understand that I can’t drive very far and that most days I need a nap, but I feel capable.
Well, I’m going to have to take responsibility because I had elective dental surgery. Of course, afterwards, I am immunosuppressed. I became very sick with a stomach flu.
We had been planning our big travel trip since March (it is now August). We had so many discussions, this was our first big trip after my husband’s retirement. How exciting! And yet, whatever I did, that dull flu feeling followed me as I worked to see through the miasma of my illness.
I wanted my illness to be just stomach flu, just a UTI, just, just, just. But I know it wasn’t like that. As we began our journey, the excitement carried me. We got to eat hamburgers and drink milkshakes and dress up every day. I had the greatest new pair of jeans and ditto on a beautiful pair of leggings!
That first day was a 14-hour travel day, by the time we flew and then drove and then checked into the hotel it was 14 hours since we left home. We were exhausted and tried hard to rest and replenish. We were able to go to hot springs and lounge in the mineral rich waters for a while. Then lunch with a friend and back to the hotel for a nap.
Next was our tour: 8 days in Colorado, riding the trains and learning the history of the state. A couple of the tour days were brutal, the first and then one day when we traveled 14 hours (again). However, what a tour; no work at all! We didn’t worry about luggage, or connections, or meals, at all.
It was a dream vacation for a photographer, both Bruce and I love to take pictures. We took hundreds of photos of every scene that we encountered. That was the fun part, the other fun part was finding out that birch trees live in an intertwined community and that they are some of the largest living beings here on Earth. It was amazing.
The miasma of my illness never left me and though I did everything possible to stay healthy, by the eighth day I was in pain again, this time from a UTI. Luckily, we had time to kill before leaving Denver and were able to get to the Walk-in clinic. As we in the Chronic-Pain-Group often talk about, it’s impossible to plan. Your body might be alright, or it may not be alright, and you may be sick. You can be rewarded with the best experience of your life, or you can suffer all the way through your planned days and into your return home.
Boy did we suffer. I thought I was recovering from the UTI when I got hit with some type of flu. My stepdaughter insisted on a Covid test, but it was negative. I stayed sick for 10 days, as I was recovering Bruce became ill with the same thing. Yesterday we went to the doctor, again. All told my illnesses ran from ten days before the trip – throughout the trip – and ten days after the trip.
Now, I feel like I can’t travel. I know that is not true, but it’s hard to see myself going anywhere further than an hour and a half. This feels like one more thing that fibromyalgia and my congenital deformities have taken from me. I’ll never be able to plan successful travel, I will always be tied to my illness through my body. Because of my disability. a new reality is here, and it’s not an easy one.