Parking Problems

Last Friday I got a parking ticket. At the grocery store.

I went to a school program to cheer on my son. I made an effort to look like I’m not “sick”. Fixed my hair, makeup, wore nice clothes. I sat on hard, metal folding chairs for the duration of the program so I was extremely uncomfortable by the end. I waddled out to my Jeep which was parked in a handicapped spot near the front doors. I looked at my parking tag hanging on my mirror and thought “I’ll just leave it since the store is not that far.”

I needed to run by the grocery store for what was probably the fourth time that week. It was early in the day so I parked in a handicapped spot and ran in for the four items I needed. I was probably there for 15 minutes at the most.

As I returned to my parking space there was a man putting something on my windshield. It didn’t register right at first what he was doing. I honestly thought he was putting some kind of flyer under the wiper. Then it hit me.

“Why are you giving me a parking ticket? My hang tag is right…” I stopped talking because there was no tag hanging from the mirror.

I found the tag in the door pocket where I keep it while driving. The tag swings around and is most annoying if left to hang while driving. Plus, it says “Remove Before Driving” right on the tag. The weird part is I don’t even remember taking it down.

The officer was cordial enough but said I sure didn’t look like I needed to park there. But if the tag is mine I could go over to the station and there would be a 50/50 chance they would let it go. I guess that’s what I get for making an effort to not look sick.

Fortunately and thankfully I took my paperwork and tag to the station and they let it go. But I was reminded that if the tag isn’t there, next time they won’t let me off. So now my tag is stuck in the windshield. I hate leaving it there all the time, but it’s not the first time I’ve forgotten to hang it up, so it’s there permanently now.

Funny, the day I got my first tag at the court house the lady that processed it said I sure didn’t look like I needed one. In fact she only gave me one tag instead of two. (You can have two tags here if you have multiple vehicles and don’t have a handicapped plate) This meant that whenever we needed to use my husband’s vehicle, I had to remember my tag or hoof it.

One of the first things my doctor told me when we were working on a diagnosis was to save steps wherever I could. Anything that kept me from tiring faster, or getting too stiff to move was fair to use.

The last big trip to the grocery store my husband went with me. 15 minutes into shopping I was waddling. By the time we finished our shopping, I was shuffling along slowly enough that people were giving me exasperated looks because I was holding up traffic in the grocery aisle.

I’ll admit vanity gets the better of me most of the time. If I’m going out anywhere, I try my best to look like I’m healthy. But sometimes I wonder why. If you don’t “look sick” people just assume you are faking or lazy.

I am not faking. I am not lazy. Yes, I am “too young to have arthritis” but it does not change the fact that I do indeed have this nasty autoimmune disease. It does not change the fact that sometimes the steps I save by parking in a handicapped space means being able to walk through the grocery store without shuffling.

Just because I don’t look sick does not mean I am not sick. Because, I most certainly am. I truly hate using any handicapped advantage. But if it means being a little less miserable, a little more pleasant to be around for my husband and son, then I will be using it to my advantage.

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Average Can Be Extraordinary

This has been a good week I suppose. I’m still vertical. I feel ok. Pain, stiffness, swelling has been at bay. (Translation, I can carry out my normal daily functions with only a little help).

Why write about a mundane, average week? Well, it’s been so long since I have had one that average is really quite extraordinary.

It sounds silly to most people to think that things like buttoning buttons, chopping onions, driving, and grocery shopping is extraordinary. But when it’s something you can’t do most of the time, it’s a pretty big deal. I like having enough strength in my hands to open the jar of spices by myself. I don’t like asking my almost 11 year old son to chop up the potatoes for dinner. (Though I’ll admit he’s really good in the kitchen).

I cherish the most mundane things these days; being able to put on my makeup without needing to rest, spending a day out shopping without having to use a wheelchair or cane; enjoying our small town Christmas parade.

The little things become a very big deal when they are the things that challenge you the most. And while I’ve always enjoyed a challenge, sometimes I can’t meet them head on anymore. So when I can, it makes my day a little brighter.

Everyday Heros

I have a soft spot for firemen. I’ve been blessed to know several through my life. Each one of them are great.

I also have a soft spot for dogs. We have three. They are awesome.

This story touched my heart. Check it out

Lexington Firefighters Pay Vet Bill

These guys are real Heros, even when they are not running into a burning building. Say “thanks” the next time you see a firemen, or any other first responder.

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Some Days are Better Than Others

So today was rough. I’ve been feeling puny all week. My arthritis flared, PMS, the whole package of ick. Last week was good. Felt mostly fine and was able to move ok. I pulled off an excellent Thanksgiving for my family (if I do say so myself).

Such is life when you deal with chronic illness. Especially autoimmune disease. You never know from one day to the next what will happen. To quote Forrest Gump,

“Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

Except instead of chocolates, I get meds and swollen, painful joints.

Chocolate would be better.

Hello world!

Two years ago a doctor told me no more high heels. Why is that significant? Because I love high heels. And flats, flip flops, wedges… You get the point.

Two years ago I was diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis. The disease made me reevaluate my life and all things in it. After enduring different treatments, lifestyle changes and all of the testing that comes with having an autoimmune disease, I’ve finally found the silver lining in sick.

This blog helps me cope and share a little bit about living day to day with illness, life and no high heels.