Mr. Doesn’t Deserve a Name

Mr. Doesn’t Deserve a Name

  • FROM THE ARCHIVES Written in 2014

2nd date with a man I previously never mentioned was tonight.  We agreed to meet at Chipotle and then I got to pick the movie afterwards.  I’m not really sure what he does for a living, which is odd because I usually try to get that information just after I get their name.  I am sure he is a blue -collar type which, I realize, is not my typical crush.  I realize though as I am aging, I may need to relax my standards.

Reasonably attractive, somewhat introverted, and blue collar early 30’s no name man finished ordering his burrito while I pulled out my debit card and paid for dinner.  I also normally NEVER pay.  The plan was burritos then a movie, I got to pick.

I started a new medication a few days ago.  It’s called the Tobi Podhaler and it is a way of getting an antibiotic into my lungs in a faster way than a nebulizer by crushing a pill of the medication and inhaling it.  However, the first few days, it always makes my voice raspy.  It would be sexy actually- if not for the fact I’m flirting over a $7 burrito.  We were laughing and getting along actually great!

He then asked, “so why are you sick today?”  I had two choices.  Girl up and tell him I have Cystic Fibrosis or just say “allergies”.  I figured I would be upfront.  “Well it’s a genetic condition, not is NOT contagious.  Every few months I go on new medications and they weaken my vocal cords”.

He asked what the disease was and a few questions like: symptoms (cough), can you die (everybody can), and how long I’ve had it (forever).  I watched his face as I answered the questions. He abruptly finished eating and then stood up to drop off his tray in the trash.  I wasn’t finished but followed suit.

We were rather silent on way to movies, but I figured he would come around.  Not a bit.  We stopped at Target to get snacks where he abruptly commented “get your own snacks because I don’t share”…  Um…no thank you.

After he got himself an assortment of butterfingers, twizzlers, and m&ms, we found ourselves standing outside the movie.  He bought his ticket and then I bought mine (this time I was surprised he didn’t even offer).

We walked in and I followed as he walked to the top seat.  All of the stairs and I started to cough.  I hid it for the most part but there were a few dry heaves.  Overall, I was excited for the movie and the back row- because I envisioned him putting at least his arm around me and whispering, “do you like the show?”…. jerk or not, I still liked the idea of an arm around me.

As previews started, he turned his body away slightly to gorge himself into a mini-diabetic coma.  After resurfacing, his body faced the screen and his shoulders stayed tilted away.  I couldn’t figure out what adjective described his mannerisms..and then- it  hit me.

Repulsion.  Genuine repulsion.  Body language tilted away, wrinkle on his nose, distant look.

And sweetly, I looked at my candy, offered him to have it because he was clearly hungry.

Got up, walked out.

Went to the restroom to look at the face of the warrior in the mirror, trying to convince myself I was worthy of love.  I wasn’t even born worthy of breathing, how could I ever find love?  Acceptance?

I don’t know how or where it came from, but the voice in my head pleaded with me to change that narrative.

The tears welled up and I started to break down.  I went to the handicapped stall for privacy and wadded toilet paper up under my eyes, to catch the tears that freely fell as I listened to my mind tell me how all of my insecurities are worth it.

After exhausting myself, I had the thought, “maybe just maybe, he wasn’t repulsed by me or what it means to date someone who is ill, maybe just maybe, he’s grappling with his own insecurities and the reality that he isn’t the kind of man who is strong enough to take this battle on.”

And I stood up, flushed the tissues, put on a fresh coat of lipgloss, and drove myself to a country bar.  Strong enough to start again.  Strong enough to know I deserve more and I will never allow myself to be treated like that again.

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Why Dating a Woman With a Chronic Illness Is the Best Decision Your Heart Can Make

I can have a conversation with you about your stressful day while infusing antibiotics straight into my heart through a port-o-cath. I pay attention to your every word when nausea kicks in, asking intelligent follow-up questions, and when you’re relaxed after your stressful day, just ask that you hold my hand. Bonus points if you can bring me a Starbucks en route to the hospital.

I am 32 years old and have been hospitalized 67 times, ranging in length from one day to six months. The diagnosis is cystic fibrosis and diabetes. The prognosis? Nobody really knows.

I am happily engaged to a healthy man. In fact, he’s so healthy I don’t know if in 5 years I’ve seen him eat a vegetable that I didn’t force him into.

And yet, dating was extremely difficult for me as I grappled with questions on when to tell him about my condition, navigating extended hospitalizations, and yes, even losing my bowels without warning one night.

It’s not uncommon for those with chronic illnesses to be shunned from the dating community. Many have given up entirely and left to feel like ‘used goods’.

Even as I researched the article, polling my friends with chronic illnesses, many were reluctant to share their names because if a guy on an app googled them, they would face rejection before they felt it was time to disclose.

And I couldn’t help but remember what it was like for me the moment the hot guy I was getting to know, decided to type my name into Google, and decide if he was up for the adventure.

Our love story lasts and here are 5 other reasons that if you’ve been given the news or been contemplating taking the next step with someone with a chronic condition, to give it a go!

1. She Embraces Change

Every symptom we have we are fully prepared to pack our overnight bag and head to the emergency room. Delicately we balance a full life on the outside, with a meaningful life on the inside of the hospital wards.

I’ve always prided myself on dating men who are spontaneous. There’s nothing like leaving on a trip at the spur of a moment on a Friday afternoon.

Sometimes, that trip is to the hospital.

Many times, that trip is to a place we’ve been talking about visiting.

Don’t get trapped dating a woman who you have to convince to live a little. We’re prepared to change our plans on a dime and have a good time, regardless of where we end up.

2. She’ll enhance your life.

There’s a high probability we won’t want small talk about how the Vikings keep losing. And yet, when you explain the plays to us, we will cheer louder than the die-hard fans because we know what it’s like to root for something as part of a larger piece of life.

“Babe, you don’t even like sports,” I can hear my fiance comment.

“I like winning though,” I retort back.

He teaches me about quarterbacks, I teach him about infusing an IV drip. It’s called teamwork, and it’s the fabric of what has built our relationship during the best of times and the worst of times.

When the wedding day comes, we will know what it means to say “I do” when the pastor asks about sickness and health. We can get through it all, because we have.

3. She Doesn’t Care About The Trivial Things

I will be the first to admit that I have my hairstylist on speed dial. She knows that when I call, she needs to get me in for my extensions because I’m about to travel or I’m getting back from an extended hospital stay.

And yet, I’m not going to talk to my fiance about my hair at length. Or my makeup. Or my patent leather shoes. Or my nails because the polish actually causes the machines to malfunction when reading our oxygenation levels. There is nothing trivial that can detract us from spending intimate moments together, experiencing the journey of life, and having deep conversations about it.

4. She’s Low Maintenance

Chronic illness has forced us to grow up enduring a lot of trauma. We’ve seen our friends buried before us from the same conditions we battle, we have spoken at funerals, and held the hands of the parents as they say “goodbye.”

Nothing rattles us. We don’t care if our hair is perfect or if you’re a few minutes late. We’re strong when times are rough and able to hold your hand too when things get hard. We’ve been through moments in the hospital you can’t even imagine and are fully prepared to be strong for those we love when the time comes.

5. She’ll break you out of your comfort zone.

In the hospital, we are woken up at 5 am for blood draws and encounter dozens of personalities every single day as people arrive with needles, vials, tests, and treatments.

During one type of treatment, a respiratory therapist beats our lungs with a machine and forces us to cough while we simultaneously inhale medicine to keep our airways open.

And we sit there, smiling and having small talk.

We are extroverted AF and know how to turn on the charm at any given moment. We will push you to see a world beyond what you’ve already experienced, teaching you tricks of extroversion to match your introversion. And if you’re extroverted? All of that pent up energy inside of hospitals for months out of every year means we are ready for adventure when we get out, matching your style easily and effortlessly.

Gentlemen, dating chronically ill women is not as scary as you may think. We bring the best out of you and force you to come to terms with how all of our lives are ending. In fact, that realization means you will have the best relationship you ever had. You will learn to love differently, appreciating the small joys as well as cheering on (loudly) the big wins. Try it.