Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Jumping Through Hoops for My Friends

Magic Lantern Slide of a dog jumping through a...Image by National Media Museum via Flickr
Yesterday I had plans to spend time with a friend of mine.

She was really eager to see me since we haven't seen each other for months. I was encouraged by her enthusiasm, since getting together means she needs to come to me. She lives well outside my comfortable driving distance, so driving to her, or even meeting her half-way, isn't doable for me.

Now any visit with family or friends is always fraught with uncertainty. After all, even when I am consistently living inside my energy envelope, something like a change in the weather, allergies, a cold, a bad night's sleep or doing too much the day before can mean I have to cancel my plans. For me, making a date is a real exercise in optimism.

Plus for this particular visit, in addition to scheduling extra rest before and after our date, I knew I needed to run an errand to be able to make this happen.

You see, the last time we got together, I was so short on cash my friend had to pay for everything. She paid for brunch, she left the tip and she literally bailed me out of the parking lot. I was so embarrassed. Unfortunately, being short of cash sometimes is what happens when you are disabled and living off Social Security.

So this time, I wanted to pay her back. That meant asking my hubs to help me with a trip to the recycling center to take in the bottles and cans piling up in our backyard. Not a lot of money there, but just enough to pick up the check if we decided to head over to our favorite restaurant.

The trip Saturday to the recycling center wore me out! I crashed when we got back and slept for 3 hours on the couch. Then I worried on Sunday that I might have to cancel when I woke up extra tired and took another 3 hour nap. Remembering my friend's insistence that we make this work and her enthusiasm to see me, I managed to pull myself together Sunday night and made sure extra rest would see me through Monday.

In a surprising twist of fate, it was my friend who canceled at the last minute on Monday. She left me a message that a guy she met at Starbucks around New Year's had called her and asked her out for lunch. She hoped I didn't mind.

It's funny, because I am not quite sure how I feel about this.

I've canceled on her several times because I wasn't up to getting together like we planned, so on the one hand I figured that I shouldn't complain. But on the other hand, I was really looking forward to seeing her and was disappointed.

Plus there was all that preparation on my part just to get ready for our date. It's a lot of work for me to get together with someone, which is something that really hit home with me yesterday. I don't really think she or any other of my "healthy" friends and family truly understands this.

I know this will get worked out and we will reschedule. But in the meantime, I find myself pondering the question, "Should I expect my "healthy" friends be more reliable that I am?' That and I am once again amazed at how many hoops chronic illness makes me jump through just to spend some time with my friends.

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Felicia Fibro said...

*hugs* This is a tough choice and I'm sure many of us living with chronic illness make different decisions. Personally, I never say anything to or hold a grudge against someone I have cancelled on (who has been understanding) if they cancel on me. That doesn't mean that I am not disappointed and even hurt by their cancellation though.

I agree, I don't think that those without chronic illness fully understand how much energy it takes for us to have plans to meet up - especially the preparatory energy that we use. This is something I hope, as I become closer friends to someone, they understand more and more.

Jamie Valendy said...

This post definitely hit home with me. It makes me wonder if I might be holding my healthy friends to higher expectations. Unfortunately, many of my friends have been unable to adjust and have mostly disappeared with the onset and worsening of the illness. I don't think that others can understand this because it's not something they've ever had to encounter. They don't have to prepare and then pay dearly just to go out and have a cup of coffee and a chat with a friend. It's just one more thing... It's hard not to get disappointed, though...