It is traditional in our family to go out for a birthday dinner. We don’t eat out much. Both for financial reasons, and because my son doesn’t enjoy it that much. He has Asperger’s and eating out is not his thing. Nevertheless, birthdays are special. And birthdays are celebrated with something that we don’t do that often – going to a restaurant.
This year I was ‘sensible’ and I decided to stagger the shopping trip and the dinner out. I decided we would shop on her birthday, and then have her birthday dinner the following night. Because I expected to be one bit fat bucket of flare bear on the evening of her birthday, and not really able to go out and enjoy a meal out.
Sounds logical, right?
Except that’s not how it worked out. The night of my daughter’s birthday (yesterday) I was fine. The shopping trip was not EPIC in terms of hours, but it was epic in terms of happiness. My girl was happy and satisfied, and we could easily have gone out to dinner that night.
But I’d arranged dinner the following night with some close family friends, whom I adore, and more importantly, my daughter adores. Funnily enough my son adores them too. All good!
Today we had movies and lunch planned. And I knew before I even tried to sit through a two hour movie that a big fat flare was coming. My ribs contracted so that it was hard to breathe. My jaw ached. Of course my wrists, ankles and knees ached – they always do. That’s normal life for me. My hips had somehow been impaled with knitting needles and my lower back had the usual knives.
And I felt sick. The low grade fever. That fatigue. The nausea.
So the son of a bitch bastard disease outsmarted me again. I tried to plan for when the flare will hit, but of course, you can’t do that. There is no logic. There is no preparing. There is no cause and effect, or predictable time frame. There is no planning. There are no guarantees.
So by afternoon I was a chick with flare. And I was very unhappy. I had plans. There were important plans.
I had a few choices.
Nope. Not happening. Both my son and daughter were excited and looking forward to going out. This NEVER happens! I usually have to be satisfied with one of my kids being enthusiastic about something. They generally tag team to oppose eachother. They do it on purpose. It’s a little game they like to play with me, to mess with my head and see if they can truly drive me nuts.
So not cancelling.
- I could have ordered in, and invited our friends to come to my house.
Just not the same. Not the same as going out. WE ALWAYS order in. Ordering in is not special. Ordering in is ordinary. And our friends would have had to travel further, and settle for take-out at my house, rather than being out at a restaurant. Not the plan. Not the same. Not good enough.
So. Option three. Medicate big time. I have the good drugs. No problem there. Problem lies in not being able to drive safely on the good drugs.
Solutions sometimes breed more problems…
But I drugged up. I called my sister. I asked for a favour. She drove us to the restaurant. There’s a cab rank about 200 metres from the restaurant. We had a great evening. My kids enjoyed being out in the real world. They enjoyed getting to eat out. They enjoyed the company of friends. My daughter, especially, got her birthday dinner and felt very special.
I wasn’t at my most sparkling best. I was probably pretty dull and lousy company. But I was there.
It would have been easy to cancel. I would have disappointed everyone. But I found a way around it. The cab cost me an extra $20. And believe me, $20 makes a difference to my budget. But it’s a very small price to pay for a birthday that was special and went ahead as planned, as opposed to me collapsing on the couch and cancelling. And letting everyone down.
Rheumatoid Arthritis is a bitch. I planned as best as I could, and STILL it all came apart at the seams.
The worst part of RA is probably exactly that. You cannot plan. Logic doesn’t apply. What happened last time, may not happen this time. Mega flares are unpredictable. As it you literally cannot predict how you will feel on any given day. Birthdays are not safe.
I was not at my best tonight. RA reared its ugly head. But it didn’t win. I didn’t give in. I realised that it could be done.
It could be done. It was done. And it was good.