Being Sick in America

1

“People of Walmart” isn’t as funny as we think

I hate reading about sick people. They always seem to have a shitload of issues. They’re usually fat, eat a poor diet, lay on their couches at night after a long day at work of sitting in a chair.

I am one of those people that use to be disgusted by big ol’ obese people who slide into a wheelchair and fill their little baskets up with cookies, cakes, and soda while milking the system for free money, food, housing, and more. “Just get off your fat ass and walk around the store!” Yep, that was me. I’m not proud of it; but, it’s how I saw the world. I just didn’t get why people couldn’t or wouldn’t take care of themselves. That is, until it happened to me…

I have Lupus, SLE, to be exact. I also have degenerative disk disease whereas my neck and lower back have crushed disks that are pinching nerves…lots of nerves. But, for years, I had no idea what was wrong with me. 5 years ago, my hips were so painful for walking, moving, doing yoga, that my best friend, Carol, called one of our 4 mile hikes, “Don’t Look at Me Hill” because I didn’t want her to see me unable to walk. After 6 months or so, the pain backed off and life went on.

This is me working on the sportfishing boat, Rampage.

This is me working on the sport-fishing boat, Rampage.

4 years ago, I was rear-ended at 60 MPH by a pickup in my Monte Carlo while I was stopped waiting for a school bus to unload. Sure, I had whiplash in my neck and abs (never knew your abs took such a beating), but I still mowed a 5-acre yard, went razor clam digging, and worked temporary, full-time as an Exec Admin. I sucked it up. After a few months, my right elbow starting hurting and after a few weeks on a sport-fishing boat (I was the deckhand), I couldn’t extend my right arm at all! What. The. Fuck! But wait! Now the left arm is doing the exact same thing! Then the ankles…right, then left side. No doctors are gonna believe this shit!

In those 4 yrs, it took 8 different doctors, including an MRI (that I paid cash for), and $20,000 of my savings to finally be told by my SISTER that I had Lupus. “Here, have some Prednisone.” Doc after doc insisted I was there only or the pain pills.

My point is, I don’t look at those big fat people quite the same way I use to. Now, 4 years into my ‘living hell’ of a life, I’m having a harder and harder time of walking, getting up, sitting, bending and standing. Forget yoga or working on fishing boats…that’s not even on the game plan anymore.

Today, I have a pretty simple part-time job of fixing fishing reels: I go to work when I want, work as long as I want, as long as I get the job done. I don’t qualify for Social Security Disability because I can’t figure out how to remain “Unemployed for a Year” before anyone will take my case (my brain fog is too much for me to do it myself). Who the fuck can remain unemployed for a year???

Now, I’m nauseated. Oh, god, this sucks. Don’t you just hate feeling like you have to puke all the time? I’ve even tried to puke with the hope it would then pass. Nope! Just still pukey.

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