Thursday, June 23, 2011

Just Since July

   I am doing summer camp now.
   Soon after I got to camp, I made friends. One girl quickly became close with me, and we enjoyed talking to each other even though we were just going over the basics. It is nice to make new friends even though I adore my "old" ones. I haven't had that feeling in a while.
   I very much enjoyed being around her, though she was part of one of the camps that would be leaving for three days to canoe and camp out. I was somewhat disappointed because I wouldn't see her until Friday, but I am excited for her. She is not new to the camp and was able to give me a lot of information.
   We pretty much hung out with each other all day. Then free-time came. "What are you going to do, Rachel?"
   "Um, I'll probably just read," I replied contently. I just finished a very good book (A Bend in the Road, by Nicholas Sparks).
   "Oh. Well do you want to play soccer with us?" She asked. I hadn't told anyone except the camp staff about my arthritis.
   "No thanks," I replied. Later, she came back and sat at the picnic table beside me.
   "Hey, do you want to go play tether ball?" She asked eagerly. I shook my head, using the same response I had for soccer. "Oh." She had a confused, disappointed, and slightly offended look on her face. I could tell she didn't know what to think. She probably thought I was completely avoiding her. She has no idea about the blood draw marks on my arm I struggle to hide (that's why I wore that Aeropostale jacket all year, for those of you who didn't know), the pain in my hips, my frequent visits to the children's hospital, or how much I'd love to play soccer and tether ball. I decided, though, that it was time to tell her.
   "I'm sorry I can't play with you." (Yeah, I know, I sound like I'm five) "I have this disease called juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Sort of like arthritis in old people, except my joints have aged early. So basically, it hurts to move. Oh my gosh, that sounds awful." I laughed and she did too. A look of understanding crossed her face, even though she obviously wasn't very educated on the disease. Then again, she didn't need to be.
   "I'm sorry. For you, I mean. That must suck." She said it in a matter-of-fact way that made me smile.
   "Well, I guess you could say that. But it's okay. I'm used to it." After that, we carried on as normal.
   These are the kind of moments where I look around, from the poppy green of the summer trees to the kids burying their feet in the sand of the volleyball court, and smile. I realize just how marvelous the world is.
   I was attempting to do a high ropes challenge course earlier this week (yeah, a little ambitious for me, but I have to push myself). I got all clipped up to wires and ropes and climbed up staples in a tree. Finally, I was at the top, but my hip felt so very crushed. I realized that I wasn't going to make it. "I need to come down!" I shouted to my camp counselor.
   "Why?" he shouted back in reply.
   "My hip hurts!" I replied. This particular counselor did not know about my arthritis.
   "Can you climb back down, or would that make it hurt more?" he asked kindly. I replied that it would hurt more and so he had me let go of the tree and swing so very high up as he lowered me down forty feet or so. I was in tears, and horribly embarrassed. "Is your hip okay? What happened?" he asked, concerned.
   "I'm okay. I have arthritis in my hip." I wiped away tears. He unhooked me.
   "How long have you had arthritis?" he asked tenderly, "All your life?"
   "No," I responded through tears, "Just since July,"
   After that I walked over to the bench and took a break, frustrated with myself. I was able to zipline later that day however. I am having lots of fun at camp despite my troubles. I even got a, "Don't only old people get arthritis?" when it came up with another girl that I am affected by arthritic troubles.
   I wish I could have done the high ropes course. I wish people would understand. Maybe I just need to lower my expectations.



  1. Hey rachel! You know what, even though trying the high ropes course hurt I am so glad you tried! I know with my elbow I try to do things I should not do because I don't want pain to stop me from doing what I want to do. Just let me tell you one thing keep trying new things but be sure to know you limits!
    I love you Rach!
    -Amanda your longtime friend!

  2. Rachel your inputs are so insightful! And I always wondered why you wore that jacket! I'm glad you did the course too. Haha did anyone tell you not to so you did anyways like when we were at the pool and you jumped it.. Just know I'm always there for you! :)

  3. what camp do u go too?

    love ya and have fun on the cruise,


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