What I am noticing, through this process of being more open about my limitations, is things are working out better for everyone involved.
In the past I would not have told anyone about my mobility issues and would have pushed through with severe pain, or I would have had to cancel. With honesty, comes freedom. I'm not sure why I had never felt comfortable to do so before, but I am glad I'm doing it now.
There are people who judge you for having a chronic condition. Sounds crazy but it's true. There's shame or embarrassment we feel. It is something I have discussed with others and we all seem to feel it. We know it isn't rational, but it is almost a self protective mode not to tell people about our pain.
With that being said. Having an open conversation has meant accommodations are made and I can volunteer once again. I think it is important to ask yourself what you could do if there were some accommodations made for you. It isn't easy to put it out there, but it may be very worthwhile. My pet therapy is not the only example I have. When I started thinking about it there are many, however I did notice I choose carefully who I would ask.
Many years ago we had planned a canoe trip with another family, something that was a part of our lives frequently. As the time got closer it was becoming heartbreakingly evident that I would not be in any condition to be a part of a back woods canoe trip. We could have cancelled. Instead we researched the area in Algonquin Park we wanted to be in. We found they had a drive in site in that area. My husband was willing to revamp the entire trip to make it work for all of us. It meant I wouldn't have to sleep in a tent, we could bring our camper. It also meant the canoeing, which we all loved, could be done as a recreational part of the weekend and not as a means of transportation. Mostly it gave me the choice to stay at the lovely campsite, and read on the beach while they had their adventures. When I did go into the canoe, I sat on a pillow on the floor of the canoe with a make shift back rest. It was one of the most memorable trips we have ever had. It meant a compromise on everyone's part, but one that was so worth it.
Once again when things are done quietly, without the fanfare, it adds a little normalcy to the accommodations and makes it less of a big deal. Being offered a softer chair, when done with care can make a huge difference to how we not only feel physically but mentally as well.
One of my readers said she feels her family thinks that she wants a fuss made over her because of her condition. I think I can safely say that's the last thing we want. We want to be able to do whatever we can with the same consideration of anyone else. When accommodations are made we don't want a fuss or any extra attention. It is quite the opposite. We want to fade into the woodwork, like everyone else and enjoy the moment. So for those of you who do that, thank you for getting it.