Isolation and Illness
We fit the stereotype, the déformation professionelle, of writers.
We keep our distance. Our minds are usually somewhere else. We rarely attend social events. We are close to our families. We stay as close to the Church as our health permits.
We invite our friends, clients, and community to consider us semi-invalids. Many invitations we would like to accept must be declined if we are to be effective.
Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFIDS)¹ is no laughing matter. It came over us both around the time of our marriage (1985). We did not suspect that our energy levels had been drastically and permanently lowered. We spent more than five years assuming that our frustrations had obvious causes and could be overcome. We trusted that what had always worked for us would continue to work for us.
Again and again, our marriage was harmed, our finances were distorted, and everyone was bewildered. (While all this was going on, we were both in graduate school and writing books. We were too ignorant to know that we “couldn’t possibly.”)
In October 1990 we learned that we had been wasting water in a desert without noticing our thirst.
We no longer have an office separate from our residence. For the sake of better design, we moved to a very small house. Climbing stairs, vacuuming rugs, washing dishes—these can never again be routine activities.
We must arrange situations to meet our energy levels.
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Since 2011 Anne Wingate has been recovering from surgeries on both knees.
She often uses an oxygen compressor.
In March 2012 she was diagnosed with mild Parkinson’s.
This reduces our mobility even further.
We both walk with canes. We are impedidos who must make the best of it.
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In April 2013 Anne’s convalescence was brightened by a floral arrangement from her daughters in Texas. The yellow roses are exquisite—and culturally inevitable.
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My husband, when he is feeling literary, calls me “Titania.”
My left knee was successfully replaced in 2011. My right knee was replaced in 2012, 2013, and 2014. The third operation led to an infection from which I seemed likely to die. In 2015 modern medicine slowly slew the infection; modern surgery quickly repaired the leg (but not the knee). A titanium rod now extends from my hip to my ankle.
With professional therapy and the persistence a writer must have, I can now get my unbending leg into a vehicle. I use a walker to move around indoors.
Safety bars have (over the years) been installed all over the house. There are those who call me “Ballerina.”
¹ See Links on website.