I Remember

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I remember a vacation in Arizona in March, 1992, when it became exhausing to vacation, when a hot flash (panic attack?) interrupted a Sunday.

I remember a family reunion in June when a softball game and a run to first base was felt for weeks after.

I remember the "flu" in July that would not go away.

I remember a doctor saying "Your tests are all fine" , and another "Get a health club membership" and another suggesting a psychiatrist.

I recall a doctor turning his back on me, ignoring me, and doing his paper work.

I remember my mother saying it was all in my head.

I remember believing I must be losing my mind.

I remember finding a doctor in Milwaukee who listened, who understood, who had a name for my illness.

I remember it was too exhausitng for me to drive to Milwaukee.

I recall telling people I had Epstein-Barr/Chronic Fatigue and they sent cards and gifts and wishes for a speedy recovery in the beginning.

I remember trying to continue working but going home from the office earlier and earlier and finally taking a leave of absence.

I remember the bedside clock saying 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. and my eyelids being so heavy but unable to close.

I recall the muscle spasms that jerked me awake just when rest seemed within reach.

I will never forget the 1992 political campaign, Tonya and Nancy, the O.J. trial.

I remember bizarre talk shows, helping me - for awhile - forget my aches and pains.

I remember countless videos and books but few endings.

I remember craving Good 'N Plenty candy.

I recall forgetting how to write a check and drive a car and doing nothing for a very long time.

I remember being told often, "But you look so good."

I remember putting Preparation H on my toothbrush.

I recall thinking that maybe I shouldn't be living alone.

I remember Claritin and Hismanal, Zoloft and Nortriptyline, Zantec and Xanax, vitamins and ginseng, and various antibiotics.

I recall discovering the soothing sound of classical music.

I remember realizing who my real friends were.

I recall the exhaustion of taking a shower, visiting with friends, preparing a meal.

I will never forget the long aisles of the grocery store which had no chairs to sit on.

I remember applying for disability and being honest and the questioning looks and the denials.

I recall the appeals hearing and the long walk from a parking lot to the federal building.

I won't soon forget the denial letter citing my ability to garden and go to church and my college degree.

I remember going to the bank and knowing that this was the rainy day.

I recall discovering flower catalogs that come in the dead of winter.

I remember stopping to smell the roses -- and plant them.

I remember reading that caffeine, alcohol, and sugar are bad -- and not giving up sugar.

I recall "letting go" of my college-age daughter and the independence that now becomes her.

I remember learning to say no to fmaily, friends, church, and organizations.

I remember nosebleeds, headaches, forgetting addresses, digestive distress, and a pounding heart.

I recall hating myself for feeling resentful toward my sister who had leukemia and got disability and I didn't.

I remember resenting the many who wear red ribbons to bring AIDS to our consciousness when few people even know what Chronic Fatigue is.

I remember that I once was thin and had a flat stomach.

I recall returning to work and finding I had lost my private office.

I remember sharing an office with two people and two phones that was too warm and had a constant hum in the ventilation system which drowned out the one in my head

I remember learning to say no to clients and supervisors.

I remember being amazed that I only occasionally fogot names, dates, or new procedures.

I recall that winter was too cold and summer too hot.

I remember being surprised at the friendliness and dedication of the medical community when I had what was thought to be an abnormal mammogram.

I remember my disappointment when the baseball strike dragged on and on and on.

I recall the thrill of getting a paycheck again.

I remember the satisfaction of sleeping, uninterrupted, for hours at a time.

I remember returning to the pleasure of going to a shopping mall (at non-peak, non-holiday, not-too-early or too-late times).

I recall the satisfaction of sorting a drawer and putting together a photo album and exploring my roots.

I remember writing Ann Landers and Dr. Peter Gott and getting no response.

I remember writing elected officials about Chronic Fatigue and getting polite response.

I remember asking God why.

I remember feeling sad and tired and weak and hopeless and crying - and then knowing this too would pass.

I remember that baseball came back.

I recall the thrill of spring coming again.

I remember realizing that I would need to live my life differently.

I recall that much of what I remember was just yesterday.

Carol