Being a Botoxed 80 Year Old

This week I had my regular check up with my GP and like all other appointments, she was shocked at my blood work, all of which is fine, more than fine, my vitamin levels are cloud high. My B12 soaringly so.

I should be bouncing from my couch, not stuck to it.

Thankfully, as I’ve said before, my GP understands the murkiness of ME and while all my blood work continue to baffle her, she understands how limited I am.

Asking about new symptoms since our last visit, I told her of my left arms annoyance at suddenly falling dead. It doesn’t hurt or tingle when it does this thing, it just suddenly feels dead and carrying it against my side is such an effort. It can hit during any time of the day and when it hits, it can last anything from a few hours to two days. Like all other symptoms I’ve grown used to and ride it out, until it eventually passes.

Taking a look at my shoulder movement, she advised I’m now suffering from slight ligamentitis in both shoulders, suggesting I add some shoulder movements to my nightly stretching routine.

Moving on, we discussed my increasingly slowing pace and the increased effort it takes me to lift my legs to walk. Prodding my thighs, I pointed out the muscle wastage, telling her I’m now a 34 year old living in an 80 year olds botoxed body.

Agreeing we are dealing with ME and deconditioning as a result of ME, she thought for a few moments and decided I should try a pedal exerciser, the sort stroke victims use to regain mobility. Suggesting I purchase one and use it a few minutes a day.

Yesterday during my weekly outing with my husband, I stepped into a medical store and tried out this gadget. Unlike an exercise bike, this is used while sitting in a chair, it only uses the leg muscles and because it moves slowly, it doesn’t increase heart rate and is more akin to someone kneeling on the ground moving your legs gently for you.

Sitting like an elderly lady in a padded chair, I tried a few pedal strokes and the shop assistant quickly came to me, asking if my purchase was for myself.

Explaining I have ME, I shared my GP’s thoughts that this machine might help my weakening legs.

Her response shocked me.

I expected her to dismiss my illness, knowing she deals with much more limited people than me. Instead, she said “Oh no, I’m so sorry. A friend of mine has suffered with ME for years. It’s the most debilitating illness I know.”

With that, my short trip turned into the longest conversation I’ve ever had with a stranger about ME and what it means to me and my husband and how it impacts our lives.

I stepped into this medical supply shop expecting to buy a pedal exerciser but left with so much more. Empathy.

Random acts of kindness, are indeed incredibly kind.