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Can you see the Real Me?

Can you see the Real Me?

This morning in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, a guy started chatting me up. It was weird.

Somehow or other, he and I and a little old 87 year old lady started complaining about our arthritis at the same time. Neither one of them wanted to believe that I have arthritis.

“You probably don’t have osteoarthritis. That’s what I have,” said the little old lady. “You’re too young.”

“I do too have arthritis! Look at my hideous hands! I can’t even wear my rings!” I whined.

“What kind of rings? Wait, are you married? Wait, how old are you?” said the guy.

That’s when it dawned on me that he wasn’t just being a right nice NewHavener. He was looking for a date.

People! This guy had a huge beer belly! He was wearing jean cargo shorts and some kind of logo/basketball t-shirt, he had a bunch of earrings and a cheesy tattoo! He’s never traveled out of the country, and thought moving from NH to West Haven was culture shock!

What possessed him to think I might even be remotely interested in dating someone like him? Because we both have arthritis? Because we both made appointments with our primary care doctors on the same day, at around the same time? Because I was polite and was talking to him? Men are so weird.

“You look at least 10 years younger than that,” he said. “I bet you blend right in at Yale. You look like a student. Do they card you when you go to bars?”

Little old lady chimed in, “What? That can’t be. You look like a teenager. I can’t believe it.”

“I don’t know what my secret is, but if I could bottle it, I would,” is the new statement I use once people recover from the shock of my real age vs my perceived age. “It’s probably my parents. They’ve got good genes. They’re in their 70s and are very active and youthful.”

“You’re lucky, child,” said the old lady.

“Your boyfriend’s a lucky guy,” said the guy.

“Aww, thanks guys.”

The West Indian nurse even added her two cents,”I don’t know why she’s here every two weeks. She’s the healthiest girl here! She’s got perfect blood pressure!”

It’s funny that I still consider myself to be healthy even though I’ve been dealt a cruel physiological hand. I don’t look sick, and I don’t sound sick.

I have decided that this is how I’m going to beat this stupid rheumatoid arthritis: I’m going to stay positive, take my drugs, reintroduce yoga into my life once the doctor gives me the ok, eat my normal diet, travel, hang out with friends, work and just do what I normally do. It’s a little challenging right now because I don’t yet feel myself and my joints are swollen and achy, but every week I feel a little better, a little more me.

3:02 p.m. - 2005-05-09



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