I’m ever so thankful that I don’t need a cane, or crutches, or a wheelchair. There’s a chance that’s not a permanent situation, so I’ll enjoy the current stage all I can. As frustrating as it can be for people to have no clue what RA is, I like not having my illness sticking out for all to see. Invisibility has some advantages – except when the invisibility cloak starts to slip.
“Are you okay?” the greeter asked, seeing my slow movements.
“I’m a little sore this morning,” I admitted without further explanation.
“Yeah, you look like there’s a little hitch in your giddy-up,” was his reply.
This concluded our conversation, and I limped on into the building.
“You’re moving kinda slow this morning. What happened?” was the next greeting.
A light-hearted, “I was attacked by my immune system,” seemed like a better response than a discussion of the distinction between adjectives and adverbs, but my attempt to be funny went over the person’s head. She looked at me like I was crazy and wandered away.
A little while later a friend mentioned that I looked a little stiff, and again I replied that I was feeling a little sore. “Did you take anything for it?” she asked. That’s one of the many nice thing about real friends instead of acquaintances; they’ll follow up. I laughed, “Yes, I’m a walking pharmacy.” Of all people to ask if I’d taken anything, it was pretty funny that this friend was the one to do so. We roomed together on a retreat. We’ve eaten many meals together. She’s seen my pill box. Yet she didn’t realize. I guess that means I’ve gotten good at taking pills discretely.
The question is how to remain invisible while promoting awareness. I want to remain invisible. That’s part of the reason I blog anonymously. If I ever need to go job hunting, I don’t want a google search of me to yield any hint of a health problem. Currently, a google-search of my IRL name turns up over two million hits, but after scrolling through page after page after page of links, I realize that people aren’t going to find me without dedicating some time to the task. Nobody’s truly invisible on the internet, but I’m mighty hard to find. I’d like to keep it that way.
I want my illness to be invisible, but RA to be as widely recognized as MS or SLE or ALS.