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All That I Am - Part 5

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(cont. from Part 4)


Vanity! What on earth is that all about? Vanity went out with my 20's and never came back. Some say it's marriage that causes it to leave -- I say it's scleroderma. You see my first Raynauds attack happened when I was just 19. It was one of those defining moments you kind of remember with such clarity. There are not many things in life that you recall as being your very first occasion, but I remember that day alright! At 19 you either live for clothes, boyfriends or life itself. What kind of 19 year old should have to worry about how to dress sensibly and by that I mean clothes your gran always said you should wear! That day certainly changed my path in life.


My job as a print finisher was only 3 years into training. There were 8 other girls in the factory and myself and another girl were the youngest. It all began on a Tuesday -- I know that because it was market day and one hour for lunch meant that I could easily wander around the shops and buy things that young people do -- clothes! This day in particular was slightly different. I promised my mum I'd pick up some veg which meant that my bags would be slightly heavier than normal. On my return to work -- nearly always on the last minute I might add -- I dropped my bags on the table and couldn't believe my eyes. Two of my fingers had turned completely white and felt totally numb.


"I'm having a heart attack" I screamed! My friends all gathered round in disbelief as they grabbed my hand and ageed it must be my heart.


"Go home" They said! "Go to the doctor, it's not right -- never seen anything like that before!"


My fingers began to tingle, turn blue and then felt really hot when they eventually turned red. My friends told my boss who insrtucted me to go home, but I didn't! I told my mum when I got home explaining that I'd had a funny turn with my fingers. She thought I was being dramatic and it was nothing, so with that I put it to the back of my mind. It didn't happen again for a long time and it wasn't an issue in my life -- until winter that is! It was a freezing cold day. The heating at work wasn't working too well and all the staff were complaining and putting on extra layers. I was working near some double doors which constantly swung open as paper was delivered. I touched a very cold pile of paper and to my horror --- It was happening again! The same two fingers, dead, white and I could barely move them.


"Oooh you're not right," said one of my friends. "I should get that checked out if I was you!"


I remember some days later going to see my general practitioner and what followed was a classic situation of doctor ignorance. "You have Raynaud's dear!" He swung back on his chair and told me so. "Nothing to worry about -- lot's of people suffer from this. Not life threatening, you'll have to put up with it I'm afraid."


I spent the whole time walking home trying to remember the word Ray something. Was it Rain-hards or Ray-nodes? Or did I hear it wrong? I looked at my fingers -- Whatever it is I ain't seen anyone with this before and my friends certainly didn't have it! Common -- huh? Who is he kidding?

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