Welcome back to this month of posts all about special events. This time I want to share with you how I learned that fibromyalgia couldn't stop me from going to a rock concert.
The Ultimate Motivation
A few years ago my all-time favorite band, The Police, organized a reunion tour. I knew I had to go. I never got a chance to see them in concert back in the 80's, so I sure didn't want to miss this special event.
Now it just so happens that they nicknamed their new tour "certifiable." Having disbanded in 1984 because they were all getting along so poorly, they had said they would be crazy to ever get back together again. Which is a real coincidence, since at first I thought I might be a little crazy for trying to attempt going to a rock concert when I had fibromyalgia, chronic pain and chronic fatigue making my life disagreeable.
A Plan for Success
I knew if I really wanted to do this, I had to get super serious about managing the aspects of this event that were within my control.
The first thing I decided was that I needed to rent a mobility scooter. I was already using mobility aids like a cane and a rolling walker, but I knew there was no way I could tackle going to Dodger Stadium with them. I also owned a transport chair, but that required someone to push me around, literally. I decided that wouldn't work either.
I needed wheels I could manage on my own that allowed me to sit so I could conserve as much energy as possible.
Imagine my surprise when at the medical equipment supply store my husband suggest we purchase the scooter instead of rent it. I have to say that this is the best chronic illness related purchase I have made to date, as it truly opened a whole new world of possibilities for me.
Since I was taking a mobility scooter, I would need a disabled seat to park it in. Thankfully the folks at Ticketmaster taught me how to go about purchasing disabled seats when I called them a few days before the concert tickets went on sale. The process was super easy and actually allowed me to purchase better seats than if I had gone through the regular channels with all the other 56,000 fans.
While you don't get a discount on the price when you purchase disabled seats, you do get greater availability (even when a show is almost sold out.)
With the two big concerns taken care of, I turned my focus to the smaller, yet equally important, details.
A week before the show, I eliminated appointments outside the house and drastically cut back on all other activities. I spend lots of time resting and building up my energy reserves.
On the day of the concert, I made plans to arrive as soon as the gates opened to avoid the last minute crowds filing into the stadium. A super early start gave me and my party time to find our seats, get settled and get snacks.
I brought along earplugs to reduce the noise level and help combat auditory over-stimulation.
I brought layers of clothes with me. Since the concert was outside, I need to stay cool in the afternoon and warm after sunset. To beat the afternoon heat, I brought along a small battery powered fan to cool me down.
I attended the concert with my husband and my best friend. With a friendly face on either side of me, I had lots of help if I needed it. Having both of them with me helped me feel safe and secure in a very loud, very crowded and very overstimulating environment.
I had a fabulous time at the concert. Because of all the preparations I made in advance, I was able to relax and enjoy the concert. I felt comfortable and able to manage a very demanding situation because I took advantage of all the ways I could judiciously make the little energy I had last throughout the evening.
As my husband drove us home, I felt both exhilarated and thoroughly exhausted. You would have thought I'd of crashed and fallen asleep the minute we walked in the door. But the weird thing about chronic illness is that sometimes when you are beyond tired, you get so wired you can't sleep!
Luckily I had a plan for that too: I took the follow week off from appointments, errands and activities to rest and re-cooperate from my "certifiable" first concert post-fibromyalgia experience.
I recognize that I don't have the energy to do something like this more than once every year or two. But when I do choose to participate in a special event this big, I know putting plenty of thought and effort into planning translates into enjoyment and memories that can sustaining me until the next time one of my favorite bands comes to town.