You can't look at me and know that I am chronically ill. I think that's why people don't see when I'm struggling. On Thursday I took Mollie a gift card that she earned by filling out the health assessment for our health insurance company. There is a good sum of money on that card and I knew that she needed it. We went to dinner at a restaurant near her dorm room. I am really unfamiliar with that part of town, so I trusted her to guide me. I parked in a lot that was maybe a block and a half from the restaurant, and started to walk there. I started to go one way to the restaurant, but Mollie said that it was the wrong direction and I trusted her. We then proceeded to walk in a two block square around downtown Atlanta, and it was all up a steep incline. When I got winded and had to slow the pace, she turned around and teased "Mom, you aren't that decrepit!" Ummm, yes I am. I snapped at her to cheer up because she shares my crappy genetics. She blew it off, but it's true. I was shocked at how unaware even she is to my limitations. I go to work everyday and I don't look sick, so I must not be. It made me sad that she doesn't understand. When we arrived at the restaurant my heart was beating wildly and I was feeling sick at my stomach as well as misunderstood. The rest of the dinner went equally as badly. She apologized when I dropped her off at her dorm, but I was so disappointed and hurt, I cried all the way home. I know that she doesn't use a filter with me because she feels like I am the only safe person in her world. Still doesn't keep it from hurting when she misjudges me.
Last night T. from church decided to have a singles game night at her house and J. asked me to go. It was kind of weird to go as a couple to a singles function. But I went and took a cheese and meat tray for snacks. The rest of the snacks were predictable, chips, cookies, popcorn and some honey roasted nuts. I ate some of the cheese and sausage from the tray. While we were in-between games N. went to the snack table and grabbed the plate of cookies. She sat them down in front me and said, "Have a cookie, they're good." I just smiled and said "no thank you, I'm fine." Then she said angrily "Oh for Heaven's sake, one cookie isn't going to kill you!" That's when J. angrily told her to back off and T said that it didn't hurt her feelings that I wasn't eating the cookies. But N wouldn't back off and said "If your diet is so good why are you always ill?" I told her that I follow a good diet because I am always ill, and that wasn't going to change. Then J. stood up and told T. that we were having a lovely time, but it was time that we left. Then he turned to N. and said that my diet wasn't anyone else's concern but mine. We went to Waffle House to calm down and talk. But while we were there both T. and N. called to apologize, and I could tell that N. meant it, but that she still doesn't understand chronic illness. I'm sure that T. and J. don't really get it either. I mean, they all have the aches and pains of aging, and a few of them have high blood pressure and pre-diabetes, but they don't take it very seriously. And they certainly don't have to actively work at staying healthy enough to stay out of the hospital. N. at one point in her apology said that the only time she'd ever been in the hospital was when E. was born. To which I could only answer that I was there 18 months ago afraid that I was having a heart attack. All she said was "Well you didn't have one." which I know of course. But the diagnosis still wasn't desirable.
It's hurtful how my close friends and family don't understand and don't support me. I have the same health problems as people who are fifteen to twenty years older than me and mine tend to be not as mild as theirs. I'm just feeling alone here. I think that's why I sometimes feel closer to my online friends than I do the ones I hang out with. They get it. They understand. I wonder if I'd do better starting a chronic group at church.
Sorry about the whine. It seems like all I do here anymore.