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13 November 2010

If you miss school, you can't go to the dance in the evening.

Growing up, I remember how excited we'd all get for those rare school dances. This started as early as third grade, I think--it wasn't 'til junior prom that I attended dances where people actually danced, but that's another story all together.

In the morning and afternoon announcements the days leading up to the Big Day, a teacher would consistently remind us that if we were absent the day of the dance, we would not be allowed on school property for the evening event. At the time, this rule bugged me a bit, but I couldn't put words to why it didn't seem fair. Always one for specifics, I could think of several different reasons why the school should make exceptions to this rule. (Truth be told, I did this any time there was a blanket, one-size-fits-all rule that was imposed on us.)

Today I feel crappy, plus Jim's doctor reinstated his bed rest prescription. (Jim had a tonsillectomy over a week ago and was on the mend but, after some un-scary bleeding, he had to go back to squishy foods and no exertion. This means I'm his nursemaid.) There's a lot going on in town today, too, things I don't want to miss. My migraine-plus-cold situation means no Indie Craftstravaganza for me, no neighborhood party, and no neighborhood association meeting at 4. Earlier I was feeling too blah to take my Maxalt, worried that maybe this was a "normal" headache associated with my cold and not a migraine (though time has shown that this is indeed a migraine; just have to convince myself to stand up and walk to the bathroom to fetch the meds). Then I thought, "Well, even if the Maxalt does work, I won't be allowed to go to the fundraiser party tonight. If I don't make it to the neighborhood association meeting in the afternoon, I can't go to the party in the evening."

You can see why I thought of my days in school, listening to the teacher as she told us in a scolding voice that missing the day of the dance meant no dance.

Of course I know that, when they work well, migraine-specific medications can wipe out the attack and render the migraineur able to function somewhat normally within hours. That if Maxalt works as it does 65% of the time for me, I could rest at home for a bit and end up at the fundraiser party at 7 in top form.

But my neighbors don't know that. I can't help but think, "What will they say if I email to cancel my participation at the meeting and then show up at a party hours later? They'll think I'm a faker!"

Of course this is an issue that's faced by many chronically ill folks like me. What have your experiences been? I am wary of overexplaining the ins and outs of my illness to people (close friends and strangers alike), but I don't feel comfortable showing up for a social function after having skipped the more boring duties earlier in the day.

1 comment:

prosie posie said...

Thank you for this post! This crosses my mind A LOT. I've found the "school dance rule" is something consistantly applied by my parents (nevermind that I'm 25), family, doctors, most friends, and definitely work. Though I can relate to your frustration, I don't have a solution. I wish I did! My only advice is to be a revolutionary and lead by example. What I mean is that don't feel like you have to apply that rule to yourself when you know that's not how migraines work. In a seriously judgemental world I know that's easier said than done. If it helps, though, know you have a whole community of fellow migraineurs out there- invisible as we may seem- and we support you and are proud of you for not letting migraine (or the expectations it inspires) swallow you whole!

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