Over the course of four years, I have learned a few things about myself–primarily about myself as a woman with invisible disabilities. Every fall, my joints have flared up. Every winter, I have braved the Christmas crowds, trusted cane in hand, trying to buy simple groceries for the week.
Every October through December, I have felt the animosity from strangers because I simply couldn’t walk fast enough for them. Never mind the fact that I’ve hated my slow gait. Never mind the fact that I would never have chosen to have chronic knee pain for myself starting at the age of 32.
I wouldn’t have chosen to be a burden on them, because I don’t even want this life for myself.
But, this has been my life for four years, and it will be my life until I die. I’ve become accustomed to it, even though I don’t like it.
Shopping has been the worst experience during my knee flares. I have hauled my trusted Pink Rosie into stores, clutched onto shopping carts with the desperate cling of a drowning man, and battled the strong needs of my child during my deepest moments of pain. Having done this for so long, I can tell you a few things: it sucks, it’s draining, and I cannot cry until I walk into the house, groceries in hand.
I have been growled at, I have been pushed, I have been bumped into, and I have been huffed at, all from strangers who are annoyed at me, my pain, and my inability to move fast.
Out of four years, only one moment was my shining light. It occurred when a man threw himself into streaming Target traffic to make sure I could cross the road with child, cart, and cane. My heart was lightened that day.
But it was only one moment, and most people have not been as wonderful.
Most of the people have been horrible to me.
This has given me undue respect for people in wheelchairs, canes, and walkers. I have been there, even though I am not always there. My pain has typically been manageable, with the exception of ten to twelve days a year. Most days, it’s a click, a pop, an uncomfortable twinge walking up the stairs, or the need for assistance when I stand up. That’s my normal, but it’s not my normal during the winter holidays.
Yesterday, for example, both of my knees flared up. I couldn’t straighten my “good” knee, and I couldn’t straighten my bad knee. At those times, I’ve always wondered, “Is it possible to limp on two legs?”
The answer would be yes. I looked slightly like a person trying to crap themselves, but I managed to limp my way through the work day. I managed, but I wasn’t quite sure that the pain of limping on two legs that were throbbing to the beat of my heart wouldn’t make me vomit all over the pristine, operating room floor.
Still, I walked out of the hospital, sat in my car, and realized–with dread–that there was no milk in the house. Now, I contemplated pizza around this time (and consequently ordered it after finally washing dishes, which took another agonizing thirty minutes of my life), but pizza didn’t solve the problem of milk. The only thing I could think was that I did not want to walk through the grocery store.
Not when I might vomit from the sheer effort of moving.
So, I knew that was not an option. But, I also knew I needed groceries. How, though, could I get them to me, delivered before that night?
Was that even possible?
There have been ads for apps floating around on my Facebook feed for the last few weeks, but I couldn’t remember what any of the services were called. I queried the knowledgeable women at Houston Moms Blog, knowing they have much more knowledge than I do. From them I read a post concerning the various delivery systems available to busy moms.
I knew I wasn’t a busy mom; at least I wasn’t yesterday. I just wanted to not shop on my knees during this time of the year. I’d already done it. I already knew it sucked.
I mean, I only had one option, so I picked that option.
I went with the yearly plan. It seemed more cost effective, even though I might not use it throughout the year. Shipt gave me a $25 coupon for my first visit on that plan, which seemed to make my decision even easier.
Shopping was fun. Yes, I wanted this. No, I didn’t want that. Yes, add that to my cart. Wait, oops, add two.
What I didn’t do, what I’ll do in the future, is recognize can sizes. I meant to buy a 12 oz container of tomato sauce, and I purchased the 8 oz can. That said, I purchased the 16 oz can of petite diced tomatoes–and who needs that?
I bought two.
There’s going to be a lot of spaghetti sauce in my future. Oops!
The woman who purchased my groceries contacted me and asked about a substitution for a facial soap. It wasn’t available, or she couldn’t find it. I told her to skip it, but I didn’t know if it would be subtracted from the cost. Luckily for me, it was!
I didn’t have to buy what wasn’t purchased, so I wasn’t “locked down” in that regard.
She contacted me before she arrived, she was happy and bubbly, and she brought in my groceries. Can I get an AMEN for that? I hate bringing in groceries, and have usually opted for loading up my arms until they’re about to snap off, and walked into the house, screaming, “Get out of my way, Tiny! Out of my way! Mommy’s arms are full! Move, move, move!”
Yes, I should not carry as much in at once, but, no, I won’t do multiple trips.
I loved using Shipt. I’m excited that it’s available, and expect that I’ll use it during all of my knee flare ups during the coming months. I mean, I might even use it when I just don’t want to leave the house.
Shipt might make me a lazier person–much like Amazon Prime has done for Christmas. But, bonus, now I have time to take my lazy bum to the gym! Which has been what my orthopedic surgeon has told me to do on a regular basis, but I can’t, because I work multiple jobs and have to buy groceries.
With Shipt, two of my problems have been solved at once.