This is a before and after story about some ladies with bags. But it’s not Extreme Makeover. It’s “Before RA and After RA.”
Before RA, I never accepted help from the baggers at the grocery store. I didn’t need help. (Maybe my mom read the Little Red Hen to me one too many times, but I tried to do everything by myself.)
Well, grocery shopping is one of those things that changes drastically when Rheumatoid Arthritis moves in. I used to also shop at Wal-Mart during odd hours when the stores were empty. Often, I’d go early or late while the kids slept. It was just easier on everybody else.
When I’d back the station wagon into the driveway with my loot, I’d scurry around to the back to pick up all the bags at once. I could set several bags on each arm, starting up near the shoulder. Then, I’d put the heaviest things in my hands. I shut the door with my hip. Within a minute, I was ringing the doorbell with my elbow saying, “Let Momma in.”
Usually, they didn’t have a chance to carry a single bag because I took care of them in a wink. It seemed to me like a waste of time to go back to the car several times. Why not just be uncomfortable for 2 minutes? There is never enough time, so why waste any?
I can hardly hold back the laughter as I picture myself acting out that scene hundreds of times. If I had only known the future - more of my energy as an able-bodied woman should have been spent playing tennis!
What a difference today is from all that! Since the Rheumatoid Arthritis, I do not usually risk going to the store alone. I almost always have helping hands to carry heavy stuff – and bring in the bags. When you think about it, this whole “before and after makeover” thing has affected much more than just me. I have to accept help – and someone has to offer it cheerfully. ; D
Sometimes, I do have to go it alone and it can make for pretty some rough moments. There was a lady just like me at the library recently. She was dragging her bag of loot – books - toward her car. Fortunately for her, my friend Leslie was nearby. She saw her and rushed up to help. She carried her load and struck up a conversation.
My friend called me that night so excited, “I met a woman with RA - at the library.” My friend was so blessed that she had the chance to do one thing to make life with RA a bit easier for that woman at that moment. I don’t know who was blessed more.
But both of them are so beautiful to me. No makeover necessary here. I am the one who taught my friend about RA. However, I know I do not take credit for her being a Good Samaritan.
You see, I met my friend at Sam’s club 10 years ago. I had injured my back trimming my trees and I could not lift the 50 lb. bag of dog food I was buying for Gabriel. She loaded the dog food into my cart. And ten minutes later, into my station wagon. Guess I did accept help before RA after all – at least sometimes.
I just saw this ridiculous new tool on sale on TV. It is a giant plastic ring that you can use to carry all of your grocery bags at once. I laughed out loud. I will be reviewing cool tools on my upcoming website, but you can suspect I won’t recommend that one!
“Look! You don’t have to carry all the bags at once. Let someone help you and then go play tennis together.” I didn’t say that – it was the makeover talking. ; D