“Excuse me ma’am, do you have a cold or asthma?” a black woman with a natural hair do and pink book bag asked as we sat on an NJ Transit train.
“No, actually I got this dry hacking cough after taking prednisone. I take it to deal with my autoimmune condition after all else fails.”
“You might want to try ginger, honey and lemon tea; that helps me when my asthma acts up,” she replied. “Your cough sounded like mine so I wanted to help.”
I was dumbstruck by her concern just as I was when my co-worker Todd asked me if I was feeling better. I told him the truth about my complications and I was pleasantly surprised by his continued support. It made me question why I’d avoided telling people that I wasn’t fine after my latest round of procedures and follow up appointment.
“I’m here for my 12:45,” I said to the admitting nurse.
“Can you go upstairs to the sixth floor to see Niza?”
“Who?” I asked as I pushed the up button at the elevator.
I exited on a nearly empty floor and began looking for the stranger by a name I was unsure of for an unclear purpose.
“I just wanted to make sure you saw your latest bill and will be making a payment,” Niza said.
“Yes, I saw it,” I snapped. “I’m not even healed yet and barely got “service” when my doctor was away but you’ll see I already made a payment on the bill this week.”
“I’ll update the account,” she replied. “Good luck and feel better.”
I was fuming when I got back downstairs and waited an hour after my appointment time to be seen. An exam revealed the weakness on my left side was progressing and the pain that remained after the nerve burning procedures will require another epidural steroid injection.
As I left my annoyance started to dissipate. I realized that despite my chronic pain I’ve been able to work, to take part in a walking challenge and I have people rooting for my health, even through all the setbacks.
#backpain #spoonies #igg4 #happynewyear #autoimmunedisease #invisibleillness #chronicillness #chronicpain #disability #nerveburning #blogger #writinglife #medtwitter #steroidssuck