Apparently Only Old People Get Sick
Last updated: May 2018
After a long day at work, I got on the bus recently and took a seat at the front of the bus. Several other people got on after me and did the same thing.
A few stops later, a woman with a walker got on the bus.
And someone who was sitting in a seat larger than mine, that had room to accommodate the walker, got up and moved for her.
After this occurred, I heard a few women who were sitting a bit farther back talking about how appalled they were and disgusted that so few people made a move to give this woman a seat.
Ultimately, if no one would have gotten up for her, I certainly would have given the woman my seat.
But she was able to get a seat, so I stayed put in mine.
But I was so tempted to get up and tell these women that they can’t tell everything by simply looking at a person. And before they jump to conclusions, maybe they should consider what someone else’s story might be.
I get it. I’m young and I don’t look sick. That’s two strikes against me.
But I couldn’t believe that they had such a strong negative reaction when a) the woman did get a seat, and b) they were passing very strong judgments on total strangers.
I really wanted to go over to them and tell them to shut up, that I have arthritis and not only old people get sick, and that I had every right to be in a seat.
Honestly, there’s a part of me that felt that if I had to stand up, I might just collapse. I was exhausted and in pain.
As much as it’s sometimes hard to deal with the expectations of people we know, it’s doubly difficult to deal with the expectations of strangers.
And we have to pick our battles. So I stayed seated and tried to ignore their ongoing conversation about the rudeness of people (obviously they weren’t considering themselves in that category, albeit for a different reason).
But I was genuinely hurt by the things that these two women were saying.
There were seats available when I got on the bus, so I took one. And if I would have been forced to stand, I’m not sure what would have happened.
And I resent the implication that only old people get sick.
The big myth that many people think is that arthritis is only a disease of old people. And it’s one that as a community, we have to battle and combat everyday.
And this interaction on the bus is proof that many people think that only old people get sick, not just from arthritis, but in general.
Obviously, that’s not true. I’m living proof of that.
Did you know rheumatologist Dr. Donica Baker is answering community questions?
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