Sunday, July 12, 2009

Question #3: Are my social interactions satisfying?

I took this image myself at the Australia Zoo.Image via Wikipedia

So I'm back on track now and moving on to question number three, Are my social interactions satisfying?, from my post earlier in the week Can Routine Help Me Manage My Fibromyalgia?

The first words that come to mind are, "No, of course not!" Compared to my life before chronic illness, I could do anything social with my family and friends, whenever I wanted and for however long as I wanted. Driving out to the San Fernando Valley to meet up with Cyndie to go to dinner and a movie? No problem! Heading out to Las Vegas for a week of vacation? Let's go! Bowling on Saturday evening then going to Pepy's for dinner? Every week please! Running errands and shopping all da
y Sunday? Bring it on!

Well, not any more for me...

My social life has drastically changed. For starters, I ask my friends to come to my house and when they get here I ask them to drive if we have plans to go somewhere else. Then we chose ONE thing to do: movie, out to eat, shopping, etc. A lot of physical activities, like bowling at Mar Vista Lanes, walking down in Marina del Rey and riding along the bike path at the beach, are no longer are options. Many trips require me to bring along my mobility scooter or cane-seat combination. The closer our destination and the smaller the venue, the better. Long trips in the car, big crowds and loud noise increase the speed with which I become drained and need to return home to rest.

Despite all the challenges, I do go out a few times a month. I am fortunate to have friends who understand and come to me. I have a husband that doesn't mind staying home more. I have gotten used to my hubby leaving me home alone three times a week so he can continue bowling in the leagues and tornaments that before we participated in together. I use the accomodations available for persons with disabilities at theaters and other public venues, which make it a bit easier to enjoy the festivities. I've also learned that if I schedule extra rest before, during and after a social outing, going out with family and friends doesn't always mean a flare-up of my pain and fatigue symptoms.

I wish I could still have the social life I had before I became chronically ill, don't get me wrong. Since that is not possible right now, I employ the techniques of pacing so I can play. I have discovered how to enjoy the limited social interactions I can engage in without adverse physical consequences.

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