Thursday, July 28, 2011

Fibromyalgia and Other Fairy Tales

Recently, hubby and our 2 grown daughters whooped it up in Disneyland. Oh, I was invited to tag along but being the token fibromite in the family, I realized I'd be dead weight. I'd slow them down, take frequent rests, complain about the long line-ups. And that's just the airport!

I've hustled my way around Disneyland so many times that I should be awarded with an honorary Goofy Degree. Okay, I'll admit it's a lot of fun.  But is it really the happiest place on earth? I'm gonna have to disagree the Big Mouse on this one. The size of Disneyland is massive. It's overwhelming for many people, including those who don't struggle with disabilities. There is simply no way you can see it in one day (unless you've been sprinkled with some special kind of pixie dust.)

Not everyone is as sure-footed as the Seven Dwarfs. A large percentage of the population have mobility problems that require the use of canes and wheelchairs. One of Disney's newer rides: the ECV, or electric convenience vehicle.  It requires no prior skill to operate, which is evident in the number of foot injuries inflicted on the average pedestrian. My husband was one such victim, trapped between a wall of baby strollers 3-abreast and carts being driven by senior speed-demons. I have no reason to go to Disneyland anymore; I don't do rides. I'm dizzy enough as it is. I don't understand why people pay money to ride on the Whirl 'n' Hurl.  Why would I pay to vomit?  The crowds, the noise and chaos in surround-sound don't fit with a fibromite's idea of a relaxed holiday. Darling, I love you but give me a desert spa retreat with massage-on-demand... now that's a vacation.

Here are my observations regarding the bevy of Disneyland beauties: I believe that many of its lovely princesses showed clear evidence of living with invisible illnesses. Consider;
  • For years, we fable readers have been misled to believe that Sleeping Beauty was 'killed' by an evil spell cast by a really nasty little fairy. Oh really?  She may have slept for 100 years but what person with chronic fatigue syndrome hasn't felt that same need for excessive sleep? You see what I'm saying?
  • What was the real story behind Snow White and that sickly pallor? Allegedly, she ate a bad apple and fell into a stupor. Again, a diet low in folic acid and the B vitamins can cause paleness and lethargy.  Talk about the height of chauvinism to assume the girl merely needed a sloppy kiss from a self-proclaimed 'Prince' to cure her obvious anemia.  You don't need to be Doc to realize that a couple of Vitamin B12 injections - along with a suggestion to eat strictly organic produce - would have smartened her up in no time.
  • Poor Cinderella.  She got her Prince but did she live happily ever after?  With years of stooping in fireplaces, constant stress and childhood abuse, the Princess likely laid down the foundation for developing fibromyalgia in later years.  
  •  Belle of  Beauty and the Beast fame regularly conversed and danced with grandfather clocks, candle sticks and tea cups. Hallucinations can be a common side effect of many medications associated with invisible illnesses. 
  • While Alice in Wonderland was not a Princess, her tragic experience with obvious narcotic addiction bears mentioning here. Alice had a lot of problems.  Better yet, let's not discuss Alice. 
  • And as far as that little red-headed Ariel goes, her ADHD was quite noticeable and anything but invisible.  However, her constant immersion in water could be suggestive of a mobility problem. This became evident on land. The waters likely soothed the stiffness associated with rheumatoid arthritis.   
I offer these observations for your interpretation. Anyway, while my family let loose in Disneyland, I had a nice enough time by myself at home.  I visited a lecture on astrophysics (seriously) and had a manicure in the same afternoon. Talk about galaxies apart... I also had a relaxing therapeutic massage and maybe I slipped into the casino... shhh!  I shopped, I read, I napped, I walked the Diva Doggy and I attempted many times to finish this blog.  All in all, it was a win-win vacation for both sides of our family.  They got the high-energy, fun-packed getaway they wanted and I got to relax and answer to no one ... well, except to the Diva.

If I had one wish, I would wish for no more ills, or medical bills and endless handfuls of our dreaded pills. I would wish for all to receive their Prince or Princess but mostly I'd wish for healthy days spent with no pain, reveling in happiness.

Moral of the blog?  Maybe I had a little too much time on my hands while my family vacationed. And yet we all lived {relatively} happily ever after.

Author's Note:  As a person living with fibromyalgia myself,  it is my belief that taking ourselves too seriously is never a good idea. We mustn't forget how to laugh, especially at ourselves, whether able-bodied or not.  The humor expressed here is not meant to minimize or make light of those living with chronic painful illnesses.     


After writing this blog, I was informed about a special pass that is available for people with disabilities. One of these handy passes is called a fast pass that allows a person with a disability to wait for their turn at the beginning of the line-up. There are restrictions but it is an option that is certainly worth checking out if you're planning a trip to Disneyland. It can make the difference between enjoyment or torture! Click on the link below.



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