This blog is part of the series I am writing for the 30 Day Chronic Illness Challenge.   Each day, there is a brand new writing prompt that focuses on the topic of chronic illness and/or living with a chronic illness.  It was created by #cfs_zombie and I learned about it through Tumblr.  I’m writing this one after experiencing really bad allergies for two days in a row.  Let’s see how this turns out!

Day 17: How would things be different if you weren’t ill?

To be honest, I have to admit that I don’t particularly like this topic.  Don’t get me wrong, I feel that the topic is interesting and has the potential to spawn some very insightful writing.  I’m not saying this to criticize the choice made by @cfs_zombie for including this topic in the 30 Day Chronic Illness Challenge.  The topic has value.

Unfortunately, it forces me to dwell on what my life would be like if I were healthy.  That’s not a place I like to spend much time mentally walking around in.  I’m at the point where I have come to accept that I will never be healthy, that things will always be difficult, and that things are likely to get more difficult as I age.  Thinking about the things that I wish I could do – but never will be able to do – is a major bummer.

How would things be different if I wasn’t ill?  Here’s a quick list:

* I would be able to go to any restaurant that interested me, order anything I felt like eating, and be able to consume it without having any kind of allergic reaction.  I would be able to safely try new foods on a whim.

* I would not have to spend as much money as I currently do on medication, doctor’s appointments, air cleaners, allergy covers for pillows, herbal supplements, or anything else.  My total cost for health related stuff would drop.

* I would be able to have a cat or a dog as a pet if I decided that I wanted to live with and care for one (or more).  Of course, I’d have to select one that would get along with our flock of cockatiels.

* I would save money on groceries.  Gluten-free foods are always more expensive than the “regular” versions.  Most (if not all) gluten-free foods come in smaller portion sizes than “regular” foods do.  So, I pay more money for less food (because I can’t eat the cheaper alternatives).

* I would have been more financially stable.  There isn’t any way for me to predict what days I will be too sick to go to work.  I am absolutely certain that I’ve taken more sick days than my healthy co-workers did at every job I’ve ever had.  Most of my employment history included jobs that did not pay for sick days.

The rest only paid for a couple per year (after a person spent more than a year working for the company).  This meant that I missed a lot of work days and lost the pay that I would have been able to earn if I wasn’t ill.  Over the years, this makes a huge impact.

Too sick to go to work = loss of pay for that day = no money to pay for the doctor’s visit and medication = paying for it with a credit card = more debt.

* I also would have more employment opportunities if I wasn’t ill.  My allergies prevent me from working in a pet store, florist, or grocery stores that have a floral department.  I’ve learned (the hard way) that I cannot work in environments that contain a lot of dust.

I can’t work in any retail environment because they all put scented products in their stores starting in October and ending after Christmas.  I can’t work in places that sell perfume, scented candles, or that douse their store environment with scent.  Teaching is hit or miss, because it often requires me to spend time outside (even on days when the pollen count is dangerously high).

(Also, I happen to be dyslexic, and cannot run a cash register or work out calculations that would determine the cost of a custom order for a customer.  So, sales jobs are right out.  But, dyslexia isn’t actually a chronic illness.)

* I would be more productive.  The thing about chronic illness that most healthy people don’t realize is that it takes up a whole lot of time.  You only have so many hours in a day, and when you have to spend many of those hours sleeping, it greatly reduces how much you can get done.

* I would be able to travel more often.  Going outside can be dangerous for me.  Spending a lot of time outside will make me ill.  Walking a lot or being stuck in air conditioning makes my joints ache and stiffen up.

I cannot assume that wherever I’m going will have safe food options for me, so that requires me to bring my own food along and guess how much I will need.  If I try and skip eating all together (to avoid an allergic reaction) my borderline anemia will kick in and make me pass out.  Travel would be so much easier and safer if I wasn’t ill.

TL:DR – Life would be easier and more pleasant (in every way) if I wasn’t ill.

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