Bernadette, Deirdre and I went to the store the other day. It's about 4 miles away, but it took us about 20 minutes to get there. No, there wasn't any traffic, and no, we didn't have any car trouble. What we DID have was a 1-year old who is prone to motion sickness.
That's right - little baby Bernadette is a cookie-tosser. She's lost her lunch (or whatever meal she's just eaten) on almost every other trip we've taken...and when I say trip, I mean anything over 15 minutes. Her dad, the motion sickness king, tells me that turning her baby seat around in the car will help, and that while he doesn't remember getting sick at quite that young of an age, he has heard stories, and he was pretty much the same way. (Grandma Gorman - feel free to weigh in on this one. Suggestions are welcome!!)
Truth is, Deirdre's been prone to motion sickness, too, but never on such short trips. Her moments have come on winding, hilly roads - understandable to say the least. And of course, little Bernie's episodes are understandable, too - now that I know what's going on.
So I've been rethinking our routes, attempting to find the straightest path to the grocery store, the fewest number of stops to church, and the least jarring way to the dry cleaner. But no matter what the path, I go it slow. Like, really slow.
Which brings me to my lupus tie-ins: one, don't judge a book by its cover, or rather, a car by its speed, two, embrace the art of punctuality, and three, learn to slow down and relax.
One is obvious - since I've had lupus, I've become a much less judgemental person. Whether it's having experienced the rashes and bruises, the debilitating arthritis, or the significant hair loss, I've learned that you really never know what someone might be up against in their personal life. I'm sure, at various times in my lupus career, people have really wondered about my appearance. And I'm sure they've made judgements about why, when, and how. But thankfully, I no longer do that to others. And now, I'm going to have the chance to apply that methodology to those slow, Sunday drivers that used to drive me absolutely bonkers. From now on, they will no longer be getting the honk, honk, beep, beep from me. No - starting today, I'm going to be the one getting the honks. Maybe I'll have a "Motion Sick Baby on Board" sign made...or maybe not. Maybe I'll just start by blogging about it, so then maybe you'll think twice the next time the gal in front of you eases into a stop sign, and even more slowly eases back on to the gas. If it takes an extra 20 minutes, little Bernie, I've got twenty minutes. For you, anything.
Which brings me to #2 - which is the art of punctuality. If you recall, I'm a self-declared late person. I'm late for everything. I try not to be, but I just end up 15 minutes late to just about every event I go to. For some reason, doctor's appointments and Deirdre's school are above reproach (thankfully), but if it's church, a dinner date, or coffee with a friend, I just can't manage to get there on time. I'm getting better - but I'm far from punctual.
However, the fact that it now takes me an EXTRA 15 minutes to get anywhere has encouraged me to rethink my timing. And if, in fact, I have to build an extra 1/4 of an hour or more into my scheduling procedure, perhaps I'll just learn to factor in a full 1/2 an hour. Maybe, this is a blessing in disguise. Maybe I will become the most punctual person ever.
Okay, so maybe not. That was my optimism talking. But I do think improvement in the late department is possible. I might even say likely.
Now my third point is just proof that life really does come full circle. For years since I was diagnosed, I’ve been touting the importance of slowing down, relaxing, and taking your own sweet time. You have to when you have a chronic illness that inflicts pain and fatigue – being rushed, stressed, or on deadline really aren’t ideal for many lupites. So this slow down thing really isn’t a huge shock to me. It’s a bit unnatural, of course, but it’s an opportunity, right? After all, slow is slow, and sick is sick. If slow prevents sick, then I'm all for it. If rushing from one errand to another doesn't work for my baby girl, then rushing will no longer be. I've officially adopted the slow and steady method of driving - no quick movements - no herky jerky turns. Just relax and enjoy the ride.
…with a bib on, Bernie, if you don't mind.