*Note: This is Posting #2 in a series of posts. If you haven’t read these before, start here.
It had been weeks and I could no longer walk any distance without assistance. Forget about driving. I just didn’t trust myself. The exhaustion was nearly overwhelming, and my body ached all over. But that wasn’t the worst. I remember seeing a friend I’d known for over a decade. My mind groped for a name to match this face I recognized. “Hi…you,” I said awkwardly. What the fuck was wrong with me? This would be forgettable if it were a rare occurrence, but it had become part of my every day life, and scared the hell out of me.
I kept it to myself as much as possible, downplaying my symptoms while I searched for answers. Doctors, specialists, blood work, tests. No one knew what was wrong with me, and all of my test results indicated that I was the picture of health. Except that I wasn’t. Not even kind of.
Just before I left, my husband and I were walking from the car; he supported me as we slowly made our way to the door. The look of worry was plain on his face. “It’s okay, it isn’t anything life threatening,” I said, trying to sound reassuring. For an instant I saw a look of terror in his eyes; he’d been pretending that he was okay, too. “How can you know that,” he said. “You don’t even know what’s wrong.” And I could see that he was frightened. Fuck. He was right. I didn’t know. I had no idea. What’s worse is that we’d lost friends and watched friends lose spouses over the years. Each time it happened, we held each other a little tighter; kept each other a little closer. We’d talked about what it must be like for them. He’d get that haunted look, and that was the end of the discussion. It was just too gruesome to consider. After twenty four years, you get used to having someone there. The idea of losing that person is unimaginable. Yet, there I was, clearly not at all okay.
But we’d found a doctor. He was in California, but he could help me. That’s how I ended up in NorCal (Northern California for those unfamiliar).