Sunday is the day we returned to Nashville from Los Angeles. Have you ever flown to CA from TN or anywhere around it? With Fibromyalgia? After the Saturday that I had at Six Flags I decided I was going to get a wheelchair to help me. Now when you get a wheelchair at the airport people are gonna look at you and wonder what’s wrong with you. I mean, don’t you do that? If you don’t see a cast or a cane don’t you wonder what’s REALLY wrong with them? Don’t you find yourself, whether you have an Invisible Illness or not, wondering what’s so special about them that they get to pass through the security ahead of all of you who have been standing in line forever when they look perfectly fine?
There’s that whole judgmental thing popping up again. I am especially disgusted with myself when I wonder the same thing. Although it doesn’t happen as much as it used to now that I have experienced so much fatigue for the last 8 months or so. But I do find myself being judgmental about a lot of other things – which I hate about myself. Just being honest here, after all this IS my blog and I AM allowed to express myself honestly here. I am not perfect – although I do try to convince Ron otherwise (he doesn’t fall for it – UGH). But I know that Matthew 7:1 warns me that I should not judge others lest I be judged as well.
At any rate, I spend my time rolling through the airport in a wheelchair wondering what someone else is thinking about me. I obviously don’t have on a cast and I don’t carry a cane. I imagine them saying “who does she think she is”. Don’t you wish you could have a sign that says “I have an invisible illness that you have no idea about so stop judging me”? One of my tweeps asked what I do when I see someone roll their eyes at me. I told them honestly that I don’t look at other people. I spent the time trying to notice there were even other people there. Yes, I felt GUILT for having to use a wheelchair in the airport. Is that what it’s come down to for those of us with Invisible Illnesses? Must we see and feel guilt for doing what we need to do to get through something?
I think my feelings were pretty much in line when we finally got to our gate (in the end of the terminal of course – why can’t we ever go somewhere that leaves from a gate at the FRONT of the terminal?) and Lauren mentioned how easy it is to get a wheelchair at an airport because it doesn’t look like anything is wrong with me. BINGO!!! I told her that was “the story of my life”. Just because I look fine doesn’t mean I am!
While in the pre-boarding area I met another “spoonie”. She was lucky enough to have a cane so I’m sure she was easier for others to understand. We began chatting about our flying experiences with our illnesses. I’m not sure what all is wrong with her. I have my suspicions. But we didn’t have a chance to get into all of that. She did ask us what we saw to eat in the terminal. She mentioned she was on a low sodium diet so she and I discussed what her options might be from what we saw. She decided on a salad from McDonald’s. My sweet Lauren offered to go get it for her and bring it to her. I was so proud of her. It even cost more than the money that she gave Lauren and Lauren paid the difference and refused to accept it from her when she returned. She was extremely grateful and said that she was glad I was there to have someone who understood. So, while I might could have eventually gotten to the gate by walking. I’m glad that I was there for her – sitting next to her in matching wheelchairs.
I think my children learned a lot that day at the airport while Mom rode in a wheelchair LOOKING perfectly healthy. I hope that others around me weren’t actually as judgmental as I imagined them to be. I hope that they were sympathetic and understanding. I was doing what I had to do. All I can do is all I can do. If they really thought about it I’m sure they would figure that out as well. That’s what I want to believe.