If you’ve been around here in the last few months (ohdearlord, it really has been months!), you know that I suffer from WTF Disease (thanks to Traci and MoDis for identifying it as such). Its symptoms are varied and too numerous to mention, but among the most distressing of them are: throat problems — constriction, hoarseness, aching; fatigue, at least a couple of hours each day when I could lie down and die on the spot, lethargy beyond the flu, beyond pneumonia, just unable to function, to speak, to think; and doctors who appear to believe I am, in a word, nuts.
Early Sunday evening, I was hit by the fatigue thing and just sat motionless on the couch for a long while. Then I began to cry, as I sometimes do. Not often, but every now and then, that’s just what I need to do. The phone rang and I shook my head at Jif, to say, “I don’t care who it is, I’m not talking.” So what does he do? “Yea, she’s right here…” and he hands me the phone. I only had the energy to give him a dirty look.
On the phone was Joyce, a beautiful older woman from my church who has really been through some crap. She said that God told her to call me right then. I didn’t even try to pretend I wasn’t crying. Joyce had seen me cry just a couple of weeks ago when I stopped in the church office and she was there volunteering, as she so often does. She had said to me then, out of the blue, “Don’t you give up. I know what it’s like to have doctors look at you like you’re crazy when you tell them how you feel. It took me 13 years for them to find out what’s wrong with me.”
I knew, or thought I knew, that Joyce has M.S. I didn’t know about the 13 years. I said, “It took them 13 years to diagnose your M.S.?”
“I don’t have M.S.! Just last year, they told me I have Paget’s disease.” That pushed my crying button. The thought of going all those years with a mystery illness . . . I said a quick goodbye and left.
So here was this woman, who had been through all of that, and she’s calling me because God told her to. And she’s telling me about her late husband, who died before I met her. I try to stop thinking about me and talk about her instead. I ask her how her husband died. She tells me about years of diabetes and kidney failure. Double leg amputations, blindness, deafness, dialysis, during which she cared for him. And she’s telling me that he often asked her, “How can you go around smiling and laughing, with all that you’re dealing with?” And the short answer was, that’s what she decided to do. She told me about talking to God a lot, asking to be healed a lot, and choosing to live with joy every moment she possibly could.
By the time we ended our conversation, my fatigue spell was passing. I told Jif and LG that I wanted to take a walk. As we walked and talked, LG ratted me out for a fashion faux pas from earlier in the day. She and I had gone to the eye doc in the mall to pick up my new contact lenses. As we took a shortcut through a department store, I realized that my shirt was on backwards. It’s a long-sleeved tee, with a colorful all-over print that looks like a Mediterranean seaside. On the front, though, are a few tiny colored glass beads here and there.
So LG is making fun of me, and I explain to Jif, “Yea, and the only reason I realized it was on backwards is because the tag that belongs in the back was poking me in the neck in the front, and I’m all, ‘oh no, another damned throat thing is happening . . . ‘ so when I reached up to touch my throat, and felt the pokey tag, then I looked down and . . . no beads . . . they must be in the back . . . oh no . . . I’m losin’ it here . . . “
And then it occurs to Jif, “Hey, maybe that’s it! Maybe you’ve just been wearing your clothes backwards all this time!” And we three laughed like we needed to.
I will discuss this with the docs. Wearing your clothes backwards can cause all sorts of ailments. Or, it could be one more symptom to add to the list. I’ll email Dr. B: “I have discovered yet another symptom over the weekend. I put my shirts on backwards now.” Somehow, I don’t think he’ll be surprised.
Public Service Announcement : JUST SAY NO
This is my dining room window.
This is my brain on my dining room window.
file under: &Partial Nudity &Family &Can’t Make This Stuff Up &WTF Disease
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