Fibromyalgia flares are ruthless and many times, we do not recognise them as they are our companions. The intensity varies person to person. Many of us are forced to shop online; and those who have carers support get their bits and pieces in. For me, there are things that I cannot just click a button and buy from my local store. I have to see my vegetables, feel my fruit from my local market friend, and choose my lemons!
One would think after 7 years of Fibromyalgia and chronic pain with 3 slips discs, I would have a mobility accessory. “No Sireee, my street cred is too important”. Earlier I had been given crutches and I used one then two; it affected by hips and my wrists and the pain got worse. I could not handle the pain. I had deluded myself that I would be seen as weak. I was caught up in other people’s opinions and suffered as I tried to walk a short distances for meet ups.
It was only mid this year as my mobility got worse did, I surrender. Our pain is not the same, and unfortunately mine is lower back, spine, hip and pelvic and hands. Added on is nerve, connective tissue and muscle pain.
I shared my thought with my two friends and they looked at me with the incredulous “about time”. What most people do not realise a lot of single people or single parents with fibromyalgia are isolated. If it is too hot or cold, the muscles, joints, connective tissue and swollen feet which is excruciating. So, one has to very strategic about their efforts to go walkabout and who they around. I unfortunately suffer from noise sensitivity and when it gets too loud my body gets ready to fight. Due to the ravages of stress and not getting a quick diagnosis the central nervous systems takes a while to reset, if ever. Hypervigilance is another fibromyalgia symptom.
One day, my best friend, LieWah after coffee looked at me and resolutely said, “we are doing this”. “Doing What?” I asked. “You will see!” I muttered and rolled my eyes as we shuffled to our local ASDA. She walked up to security and asked for keys and pointed at my scooter and handed me a key. I looked at her like she had lost her mind.
I was finally there so I decided why not. I had not driven for a long time so I was weary about my coordination. I tentatively put in the key and reversed back in a straight line. I did a lean back one hand 180 turn to get into the aisles. I have an inner gangster! My best friend joined me as she was on crutches and we slowly rolled down the aisles.
No one stared at me, no one asked me questions. The ASDA customers service team and the cashiers who are friends cheered me on. At the end of it was a great experience. It is now 8 weeks, and I am able to use a mobility scooter to pick up my little bits and pieces. It takes a while but I do get there in the end.
I discussed it with my therapist and she asked me if I would consider getting one to enable me to leave the house. She is concerned about my lack of socialisation and depression. I looked at her and shook my head with a smile “Yes”. What I was afraid of I conquered and hopefully next year with her recommendation I will get a scooter to help me to travel a little further from home. May be even one day go to London who knows!
Don’t be afraid – every little thing helps
Picture by Sabine van Erp