Tuesday, July 12, 2011
The "D" Word
Which 'D' word is that, you might ask. There are plenty of words that start with a 'D' both lower and upper case, but I am here only referring to one singular 'D' word. And it isn't Damnation or any variation there of.
No, that 'D' word is..... Dating.
It was bound to come up sometime. I am a reasonably undisfigured 24-year-old female, I have every right to think about dating (so do those reasonably and unreasonably disfigured 24-year-olds for that matter. I don't really care, I actually encourage you!).
Alright, dating isn't really easy on most people. It's can be unpleasant and awkward. You might not know what to say, you might make an idiot of yourself and so many things can go wrong in so many places that it might not ever seem worth it to try again. But, as a social animal we do continue to try, somewhat, it's just the way things go.
So, let's just say that prior to diagnosis I was doing fair in the dating department. Even went out with the same guy more than once (which is somewhat of an anomaly in my dating stats) but things didn't work out. It was more me than him, and I partially blame me getting sick for some of it. You see, around the time he wanted to start picking things up, I was starting to feel really crappy (fatigue, chronic hacking cough, aches, pains, a general lack of walking ability. You know, the sort of things every 90 year-old woman should feel.... wait). I didn't really want to go out and do things, he did. There were other things too, but they aren't relevant here.
That's why I find myself currently single. You might tell me that, 24 is still young, but believe me when I tell you that, in the state of Utah I am an old maid. Social state standards estimate that I have maybe one more year before I should pack it up for good and consider myself undateable/unmarriagable. I should have taken care of this before I was out of high school, what was I thinking, wanting to go to college, that's a man's privilege.
Okay, so it's not really that archaic, but only just barely.
If you are anywhere in a similar situation like me, you've probably looked up online about dating with a chronic illness. You probably also found that their information was terrible and no help! Unfortunately, they are right.
Dating with a chronic illness can be a tricky beast. There are some added worries that can sneak in there. Not only should I be questioning what date I should mention my crazy cat collection on, but I am also having to wonder about when it will be appropriate to mention that, oh yeah, I have this little problem.....
Of course, it is entirely possible that this worry can resolve itself, say, if I happen to sneeze on the date or something. Because for me, sneezing usually makes me bleed and I kind of think that's something my date might notice. I could just say that I have a raging cocaine addiction, but that would open a whole other can of worms. It would also be lying and everyone knows that relationships based on lies never last.
Another thing that a chronically ill person has to consider, depending on if they take medications or not, is when they can go out. I take my pills at night, so I can solve this problem by taking a quick dart into the powder room, that is, if my date drove me. Some medications have stipulations on them that you aren't supposed to drive after taking them, you know, those silly little warnings.
There are also certain activities that I am forced to limit myself too. Long days outside are pretty much out of the question unless I am prepared with sunscreen, an umbrella and better yet, a building to block the suns deadly deadly rays. Fatigue is a big problem too so you have to make sure that you rest up before hand.
It can be hard for the dater, too. You are all expecting fun dates and sometimes this other person just does not want to do anything other than lay about. Sometimes the reaction is to think that this person is lazy, specifically since vasculitis, while debilitating, does not often make a person actually look sick. This is why my illness must be explained, but probably not on the first date. It's a thing that needs to be judged personally. Or maybe tattooed to my forehead, since that would save me a lot of talking.
I decided to attempt dating again, post diagnosis, and that I would decide when to tell whomever it was when it felt right to me. I even went so far as to join one of those dating websites and I got a few hits which were a much needed boost to my self-esteem. One of them even progressed far enough to a date, a coffee date, which I was nervous for. I had so many thoughts in my head: What if we hit it off? When should I tell him about my disease? What if partway through I get sick? Please don't let me eat anything that's going to make me throw-up! What if he wants to go out again? What should I do!?!?!?
None of it mattered, I got stood up. All the anxiety and worry for nothing. Well, nothing except to give me a firmer idea of how I'll handle a future date.
Now, if I were a firm believer in signs, I would have taken the hint, but I am intentionally oblivious to things (note: see the first three posts) so I'm gonna climb back up in that saddle and give it another go!