It surprises me, sometimes, the “little” things that make me cry.
Just the other day it was the discovery of a package of panty hose in the back of my dresser drawer. I’m not necessarily sad that I can no longer wear panty hose. (My calf is super sensitive; I can’t wear anything tight around it.) In fact, many women choose not to wear panty hose. But for me, it was more than the panty hose; it was what that panty hose represented — my teaching days. When I was teaching, I either wore slacks or skirts to school, except for field trips and School Spirit Fridays. I found that package of panty hose, and after my initial surprise wore off, I felt the tears running quietly down my face.
A couple of weeks ago I heard Colbie Caillat’s “Bubbly” on the radio. It’s a fun, definitely-not-sad song. But, it’s also the song I remember describing to my husband as he stood next to my hospital bed. This was back in 2010, when I had been admitted into the hospital after spending hours in the Emergency Room with a swollen left calf and without the ability to stand or walk. My husband was trying to distract me with music, and I asked him about the song that had something to do with “toes and nose.” It was a challenge to find the song, but it was a task he could complete. Something we could have an answer to, in terms of the name of the song and the artist, when so much of our life as a family was without answers the longer I stayed in that hospital bed. So while it is a fun song, it has some powerful memories attached to it.
And sometimes it’s the not-so-little things. Like my nightly showers that seem to make me increasingly weak. Or the trips to the grocery store that most times feel more like an endurance test than a regular chore. Or emptying the dishwasher. Or watering my outside plants. Or getting in and out of the car.
Which is all to say that I have been living with this autoimmune disease of mine for almost 13 years.
And it hasn’t gotten any easier.