When pain slows you down

There are times with Fibromyalgia that I exceed my walking limits. It is actually difficult sometimes because the limit changes. It can be a short distance one day and a decent distance the next.

There was a time when I had to run all over campus to get professors to sign my thesis to get it processed. I ran around everywhere looking for everything. Too much. I was in immense pain. I would sit down for a break but it was difficult to get up from that break. I could only walk with a slow shuffling pace because I had gone so far beyond my limit. I got honked at crossing the street, going as fast as I literally could. Made me feel horrible. I get I looked healthy. But I sure wasn’t feeling like it then. I ended up having to get back to my department because I couldn’t handle more. One prof on my team had to help me out, something I had never asked for before-help. Glad he did, though. There was no way I was getting anywhere at all.

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This has happened before. Many times actually. Once my spouse and I went to go see the fireworks a few blocks from our house was one time it was a short duration flare. Maybe a 20-minute walk. I made it there. But it was a lot of standing to watch the show. So on the way back, my pain increased exponentially and my pace slowed to a crawl. I think it embarrassed my spouse since we were getting a lot of looks. What is wrong with her? She looks fine?  It was an agonizing, and long, walk home for me.

Then there was the time I spontaneously developed a foot problem. It is possible it was plantar fasciitis or something else but caused by FM I have no doubt. It hurt to lift my foot to walk. To press it down with weight. The tendon itself in the bottom of my foot hurt. So I shuffled little shuffling steps for more than a year. I think it lasted 2 years before it went away. Flares up when I wear sandals. Or shoes I shouldn’t. Got a lot of comments on that as well. I couldn’t really walk fast because every step hurt.

Fact is, pain with FM can make us more visible. But when it does it just garners attention. This sort of What is That About? Attention. Because they see no injury. They can’t tell what is wrong. They just look at you funny. Or think you are moving slow on purpose to get in their way or slow traffic.

We, on the other hand, are stuck. Literally stuck wherever we happen to be. With the sole purpose in our minds of a) find a place to stop and rest b) get home as soon as humanly possible. We know we will make it there by inches if we must but it will be painful. And we will ignore the looks. And focus on every single step. Step by step, towards that goal.

Stare all you want. Our mind is on the finish line or at least a bench somewhere where we can rest the pain a bit. I am pretty single-minded when in that much pain. Just get to the car. Just get to the house. Just get to that bench. But I notice the looks. Hard to miss.

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