30 September 2011

Oh Dear.

I have problems with my hips, knees and ankles.
Nothing major but joint problems that can crap at times but I count myself among the lucky ones because it could be a lot worse. Some days I have to accept that rest is the only way to beat things and other days, I think 'sod it' and make my legs accept that there is a life I want to live and to belt up with their whingeing :-P

I was round my mum and stepdad's the other day for the evening and there was a family friend staying as well. This family friend is lovely and is pretty much a family member which is why I didn't blow my top when she came out with what she did.

The conversation came round to the boyfriend and how things were going quite well when this friend piped up with the following comment.

"Before you two started seeing each other it crossed my mind to introduce you to this lovely guy I know. He's got a lovely personality and the other thing is, he's thalidomide so you'd have something in common too and get on."

It was a 'did I just hear that right?' moment for me and I was a bit blindsided. This friend had had a couple of glasses of wine so maybe it makes sense to a person who is a bit tipsy but I have to say, even in my tipsy moments I've never thought "I know, the next person I meet needs to have issues too because then we'll get on!"

My reply was basically "Yes. If things don't work out then all I'll have to do is find somebody who also has joint issues and everything will be just dandy" *raised eyebrow*.

My issues don't define me. I am me and they are they are in the background rather than them being me with my personality in the background.
I don't bring it up unless people ask. I don't play on it. I don't miss out on things I know I can do and least of all do I consider myself disabled in the true sense of the word.

I've been told not to wear heels because the wear on my joints is not good.
I'm not going to stop wearing heels once in a while just because I'm a bit sore in my ankles the next day.

I've been told riding is a risk I should not take.
Crossing the road is a risk, it doesn't mean I don't do it.

I've been told that dancing the night away with my sister and stumbling in giggly and slightly drunk at 6am the next morning is not the wisest idea.
Not making the most of life is not the wisest idea so guess what? My late nights and early morning taxi rides home will continue until I reach the age where it is no longer acceptable.
Then I'll be a lady who lunches and enjoys sophisticated bars :-D.

I've been told that by the age of 18, I'd be wheelchair bound and to accept it.
Errr, no.
For as long as there is breath in my body that won't happen and no matter how many operations I need to prevent it, that will not change.

Life will not pass me by for the sake of a bit of pain here and there and the odd lecture from my consultant. He can lecture me all he likes, until he tells me that there could be serious consequences I will not change.
I'm not stupid, I don't take massively unecessary risks but I am buggered if I am going to look back on my life and think "I could have done more and enjoyed myself more. Why did I not do it?".

To anyone walking past me in the street it is not noticeable that I have problems which I am very thankful for because I refuse to be defined as 'the girl with the dodgy joints. Poor thing' but more 'the girl who is a bit of a muppet but does as she pleases and makes the most of life'.

By this friend's rationale then all black people should be together so they have something in common.
All short people should only be with other short people so they understand each other.
All blind people should only date other blind people because then they'll be sure to agree on everything.
Possibly a point when it comes to tea-drinkers, they should all be put in a big box and banished to the ends of the earth with their awful taste in hot beverages thrown after them :-P ;-P.

Possibly one of the best-intentioned but most insulting things I've ever had said to me.


Annette said...

That was a most distressing thing to say to you, I couldn't believe it when I read it.
I,m glad though that you have the courage and strength to lead a normal life as you are.
I,m sorry that you have to be in so much pain at such a young age.

Anonymous said...

I nearly started laughing as I thought your friend was just being crass! Then I thought, bless her I kind of know what she means, but she just articulated it inappropriately!

It also narrows the field a bit if all you're looking for as a thalidomide! :-)

Anyway, sounds like you've had a bit of a battle to get to where you are so well done you, I'm afraid my age and a lifetime spent in Rugby, football, kicking in doors, climbing and kneeling on rooftops, fitness test and skiing are now catching me up all too fast! The aches and pains and the stark realisation I can't hop onto a wall or over a fence like I always have done are all too depressing for words!

Be good and keep well


Hi Annette x

JR said...

Hang on a minute, are you seriously suggesting we gettoise those that like tea? If so let's think about this and see if there are others we can pack in the same box. Those that play their (usually bad) music out loud on the bus perhaps? Or those that are cruel to animals?

I agree wholeheartedly with your attitude of enjoying yourself. If you can't look back on life and say you enjoyed it then what's the point? Don't pay too much heed to the consultant. They are probably just bitter that they have sacrificed family time, social life and general fun to get the job only to realise it isn't all that good after all. Now they're on a mission to stop anyone else having a good time!

Joking aside, you (and others) who don't let adverse circumstances grind them down have my total respect. We could do with a whole lot more of that.


Girl*Next*Door said...

Annette, I know it wasn't meant in any other way than thoughtful but unfortunately it did come out wrong! I am a lot better than I used to be so don't have too much sympathy, I enjoy my life and as I said, there are thousands of others that are far worse off than I will ever be and I am very thankful for that.

TUPC, I know what you mean. At first I was a bit offended but later on that evening and in the following days it has made me laugh because it is just so surreal really.
I would say try wearing heels with dodgy joints but I'm not sure they'd really suit you :-P :-D. I'm glad I can wear them otherwise I'd be thoroughly depressed at having no other way to improve my 5ft height (or lack of!) :-D.

JR, I am indeed seriously suggesting that very thing. Tea is definitely the most disgusting drink ever created :-P.

Exactly. I don't want to look back on my life and feel a sense of grief at what a waste it was but more a sense of 'well, at least I tried it!'. I'd rather regret something I did and tried than something I didn't.
I believe in focusing on what I can do rather than what I can't. I hate it when people wallow in self-pity and demand sympathy. Life is what you make it and I've every intention of making the most of mine. I don't like the sympathy people show me when they find out about my problems. People are surprised when they find out as looking at me, you wouldn't really be able to tell but the sympathy and 'poor you' attitude of a lot of well-meaning people embarrasses me a lot of the time which is why I don't mention my problems unless I have to.