My phone beeps.
‘I’m starving, can we meet up for lunch? Is there anywhere you can eat?’. Cindy.
I stare down at the text. I am on a strict diet, the Prince Alfred Hospital Elimination Diet. It has taught me that I am intolerant to salicylates, which are in just about everything with any colour or taste. I can’t imagine where we could go.
Anyway I can’t sit up at a table, long enough to eat out.
An image appears in my mind, Cindy and I are smartly dressed, effortlessly cool and chic with sleek shiny hair, sitting at a table covered with a white linen cloth and a myriad of glasses and sparkling cutlery, we lean towards each other and laugh over a shared joke.
People are staring, but we don’t notice them and keep enjoying our lunch, salads flecked with rich cheeses, nuts and sweet roasted vegetables. We are old friends, the conversation flows easily. There is a bottle of white wine on the table and a cool line of condensation shows that most of the wine has been drunk.
I really want to be the girl in that image.
I can’t be the girl in that image.
I feel my abdomen constrict as it always does when I get frustrated, usually just before I do something slightly mad. My forehead tightens, my jaw clenches and I narrow my eyes.
Oh dear. These are all the physiological signs of an attack of the stubbornness. Attacks of the stubbornness can be devastating and often lead to over doing it.
I force myself to relax and release the image of a glamorous healthy me. It’s not a reality I can pretend exists anymore.
I text back,
‘I can eat fish and chips, but need to lay down to eat, so maybe we could pick some lunch up and find a spot on the grass in the sun near the beach?’
She replys ‘okay sounds good cya soon.’
I am still a little worried, I know that even this will push my energy limits a bit too far. My forehead has gotten tight again. ‘Surely body, you can handle laying down in the park’ I mutter to myself.
Then it starts to rain.
Cindy and I (her hair is shiny, mine not so shiny) end up grabbing a takeaway coffee and driving back to my house where she sits and I lay on the daybed outside and we chat about life, boys and her recent holidays.
The next day I am sicker again as Post Exertional Nueroimmune Exhaustion (PENE) sets in. It takes me two days to recover back to my normal level of sickness.
I am glad that I didn’t give into that stubborn feeling and do anything mad like go out for lunch at a restaurant.
I am also glad that it rained.
But most of all I'm glad that I was able to catch up with a good friend.