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Love And Other Drugs

Okay, people. I am feeling SO MUCH better.

Thank you everyone, for all of the well wishes.

First, I’d like to say there were plenty of good things about being laid up, and sick in bed all week, with a sinus infection and bronchitis. I played on Facebook. A lot. I read and commented on all of your blogs. And, of course I got all caught up with my favorite Television Series.

I managed to watch Every.Single.Episode of Season One, Two, and Three of ‘Breaking Bad‘, along with a new show The Killing‘ on AMC. Now, I may  have mentioned before that I do NOT like to watch anything scary. But apparently, I DO enjoy watching all things disturbing. Oh, and I also finished watching every episode of the new series on Showtime, Shameless, along with an old favorite Nurse Jackie.

However, the bad things about being laid up, and sick in bed all week, with a sinus infection and bronchitis, was feeling useless. And worthless. I was unable to exercise, or write, or accomplish anything substantial on any of my To Do Lists. I had way too much time on my hands to over-think everything little thing. And being stuck inside my own head is NEVER a good place for me. Plus, I was supposed to take a ‘Road Trip’ up to ‘New Hampshire’ to visit with my best girlfriend, Leslie, of 25+ years. Obviously, much to my disappointment, I had to cancel those plans. Of course that just inevitably sent me into one of those good old fashioned downward spirals filled with all that glorious self-pity. So, it’s only fair to warn you that this post isn’t all rainbows and unicorns. If you’re looking for something short, sweet, and funny to read, you might want to come back later this week.

Anyway, just when I was feeling completely miserable, and after watching one too many television shows, I figured a really good movie might lift my spirits. And even though I heard really mixed reviews, I decided to go ahead and rent the movie ‘Love And Other Drugs’.

All I can say is, “Wow, wow, wow, and wow.” And not just because I *love* Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway. And, not just because I think the two of them should be the new ‘Tom Hanks’ and ‘Meg Ryan’ for all of Hollywood’s Romantic Comedies.

But because it was a movie that really spoke to me on a very personal level.

About the movie:

Maggie (Hathaway) is an alluring free spirit who won’t let anyone – or anything – tie her down. But she meets her match in Jamie (Gyllenhaal), whose relentless and nearly infallible charm serve him well with the ladies and in the cutthroat world of pharmaceutical sales. Early-onset Parkinson’s adds to Maggie’s mistrust of attachments. Jamie starts to fall for her about the time Viagra hits the market and makes him a sales superstar. When he becomes her knight errant in quest of a cure, she makes it clear that pity, entangling alliances, and being defined by her disease are off the table. Maggie and Jamie’s evolving relationship takes them both by surprise, as they find themselves under the influence of the ultimate drug: love.

[For those of you who have not seen the movie, don’t worry, I am not going to give away any spoilers in this blog post *insert pinky swear*.]

Moving along…

As I was watched the movie, I completely identified with the lead character Maggie. I understood the way she thought, I understood the way she felt, and I understood why she behaved the way she did. I saw a lot of myself in that character. When the movie ended I began thinking about my own dating life [or lack thereof]. And then I thought a lot about illnesses, mostly because of my own ‘Annoying Medical Conditions’.

I like to say that I am single because I am not interested in dating. And for the most part, that’s true. I mean, I really have no desire to put on ‘Real Pants’ or ‘Make Up’ just to sit through that uncomfortable silence that is the awkwardness that comes with any ‘First Date’. And I also don’t want to wait around for six months for that person to finally reveal their true colors. Because, let’s be honest here, no one acts like themselves in the beginning.

I have been pretty great, single. Happy even. It’s been nice with no one else demanding, wanting or needing things from me. When I am not writing, I’d much rather hang out with my girlfriends, spend time at my county club, or play golf. And it’s positively agreeable that any man in my life could become a major distraction from reaching my goals.

The best part of being this single, besides not having to shave my legs, has been the sheer freedom; to do what I want, when I want, with who I want, and not answering to, or considering anyone else’s needs or feelings. It’s one less person to clean up after. It’s one less load of laundry, and I never ever have to share the remote, or my blankets, or fake interest in sporting events.

Except that sometimes, it’s NOT always super awesome to feel lonely.

And there are days when I feel incredibly lonely.

Painfully. Lonely.

And yet, I am not willing to do anything to change that.

There is a part of me that doesn’t even want to TRY dating – simply because I don’t want to subject anyone else to my brand of crazy.

Let me explain…

Much like the character Maggie, I have some serious health issues.

And much like her, I never want my medical conditions to become someone else’s burdens.

It’s one thing for my family to have to take care of me. That’s their job. They’re screwed.

But I wouldn’t want to put anyone else through this. And just like the character in the movie, I certainly don’t want to be responsible for holding someone else back from achieving their own goals.

There is a scene in the movie that better explains what I am trying to say here. And it goes like this:

Maggie: I’m going need you, more than you need me.
Jamie: That’s okay.
Maggie: [crying] No it’s not. It isn’t fair. I have places to go!
Jamie: You’ll go there. I just may have to carry you.
Maggie: I can’t ask you to do that.
Jamie: You didn’t.

It has taken me YEARS to come to terms with the fact that my ‘Quality Of Life’ has been hijacked as a direct result of my health problems. It’s also taken me VERY along time to accept that I will forever have to live within certain limitations. And I refuse to ask, or remotely expect, ANYONE to take care of me, the way my family does.

You see, I have Crohn’s Disease, Celiac’s Disease, and Two Ulcers. In addition, I also have severe Food Allergies. If I eat the wrong food, I can go into Anaphylactic Shock and die. My most recent tests showed that I am allergic to everything on this list.

Did you read that list?

Good.

Now can you imagine being on a date with me, and trying to order something from a menu?

Or constantly reading labels on food containers in the grocery store?

Or always making sure there is enough Benadryl and Epi-Pens on hand?

Or being forced to drive to the Emergency Room?

And countless doctors appointments?

All. The. Time.

No.

Me either.

But I have to, because that IS my life.

And let’s not forget that I also have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder when it comes to cleanliness. When I am nervous I twirl my hair uncontrollably. I am high-anxiety and high-maintenance. I am self-absorbed and very selfish. I don’t like to share. Anything. I will never be able to hold down a full-time job again, not like I used to. I drive too fast. And, I am loud. In 2007, due to my health issues, I had to move back in with my parents. Oh and did I mention there’s a pretty good possibility that I will eventually end up with Alzheimer’s disease just like the other women in my family?

Any takers?

I didn’t think so.

There’s another scene in the movie, where Maggie says something along the lines of, “I wouldn’t want to date a sick person.”

And I totally got that too.

Seriously, people. I would NOT want to date someone like me, either.

I guess that’s why I spend so much time keeping people at arms length. I’ve built up so many walls in the interest of protecting myself that I doubt I’d be willing to tear those down and allow myself to be truly vulnerable with another person.

Maybe there is some one out there, who will love me unconditionally and all that jazz, just like in the movies. However, I am well aware of the sacrifices my own family has had to make and how much my disease has negatively affected them. Like how worried my mother was when my weight plummeted to under 90lbs. How my son used to refuse to go to school if I was sick, so that he could stay home and take care of his mommy. And all of the times my father’s missed work because he was too busy driving me around to a million doctors.

And I always end up feeling so incredibly guilty.

And, I always end up feeling like I am broken, damaged goods.

So why would I ever want to subject, yet another person – to all of that?

I don’t.

And I guess that’s my point.

And I guess that’s the real reason I don’t want to date anyone right now.

Besides, I don’t handle rejection very well.

Or maybe, I am just hiding behind my medical issues and using them as an excuse so that I never have to get crushed again?

I don’t know.

* So tell me boys and girls, would YOU date and/or marry a really sick person?

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