I am still recovering from my misadventures in the workplace. I hate being back in a state of chronic symptoms rather than a baseline of good health with exposure related symptoms. Sigh. It’s getting better but I am not back where I was before. It’s all been frustrating and dissapointing. Then just when I needed some counterbalance to my TILT, a lovely unexpected thing happened.
The other day, I got three texts, within an hour of each other warning me, that the little gym where my daughter takes tumbling lessons was too toxic for me to enter. This triggered some tough decision making which I go though for each potential environment for my kids. Do I treat my kids like they have my health problems or like I am trying to make sure they don’t get my health problems or like one of the ignorant mainstream for this occasion? But todays’ post is not about that; it is about how overwhelmingly blessed I am to have such good friends.
Some of these folks are the same ones that are recommending I stop trying to find another tutoring workspace and instead commit to using my home. Their opinion is that a healthy tutor is a better tutor which makes for a better tutored child. This gym air quality alert was further proof of my friends’ level of understanding. They noticed something and thought of me. I cannot expect them to adjust everything for me or think of my limitations in advance for every social situation. If you don’t live with this health problem you can’t really understand the scope of its impact. But they are certainly farther along than I thought any friend would ever be.
I hear from so many fellow MCS patients who struggle with not being understood by their family, friends, neighbors and while I have certainly had my share of that, I do not run into it every day any more. I think some of this can be attributed to the fact that the illness is more prevalent, such that more people know somebody who has some degree of a limitation. I also think awareness of how chemicals can effects us is more widespread. But I also think I have lived in this small town a long time, 14 years, and I have worn them down. Kidding, kinda. To clarify – I am lucky enough to have some flexibility in where I can go, I do not have to be reclusive. I am lucky enough to live in a place where a lot of social functions are outside, so my limitations don’t actually limit me as much as somebody living in an urban situation in a cold climate. I can get out there and let them see me, see that I am just a person with a disability. I have carpooled their kids and hosted playdates and book club nights and volunteered on school and town committees. Once they knew me, from largely safe outside exchanges, we moved onto situations where some awareness or accommodation on their part was required. So yes, I wore them down and broke them in. But mainly, I have been blessed enough to find some truly wonderful human beings as friends. Here are the warm fuzzies in their original text form…
My friend: “We just got to Island Fitness and it smells real strongly of paint. They put in a new floor and it is outgassing. It’s making me feel yucky, so be careful if you come.”
Me: “Oh – thank you so much for heads up! So sweet of you to look out for me. It really makes a big difference. I feel a blog post coming on about good people looking out for me.”
My friend: “It takes a village.” “For all of us, I mean. You don’t need a whole village just for you.”
Look how she used outgassing correctly! And that last bit, what a lovely sentiment. We all need a village!