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All That I Am - Part 6

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(cont. from Part 5)


Common complaint -- I don't think so! My friends don't have it and they don't know anyone who has it either. What was that doctor thinking of, telling me it was nothing to worry about? It wasn't him suffering, I'm only 19.


Back then it was considered Barbara's party trick. My friends honestly thought I could turn my fingers white on demand. During the winter months -- I could! But you can only do it so many times before you begin to wonder what was really going on? I was never without a cough or a sniffle and whilst others suffered colds and then recovered, mine seemed to linger for weeks. I wasn't soft, far from it, and I hated to say it but my colds always seemed much worse. My closest friend once said to me, "You're a hypochondriac, I'm sure." And there were times I thought so too.


My 20's were wild to say the least. There I was, newly qualified as a print finisher and loads of dosh in my pocket. I lived and breathed for Friday -- my night out with the girls. Even then something wasn't right, but I was young and didn't care. We'd be in a club, my fingers wrapped around a glass of something intoxicating, when one of the gang would suddenly point to my hand and shout over the music, "Your fingers are at it again!" The music was so loud it's a wonder that I didn't suffer from deafness as well as dead fingers. They looked fluorescent under those lights like one of those luminous skeletons you find in the joke shop.


I wore gloves most of the time in winter and then kept them on through spring and sometimes summer too. I was 22, looked like my gran and felt 62. My friends fell about laughing as I once turned up like Nanook Of The North during a night out one cold December. I remember it well and my friends never let me forget it either. Fact was, the pain in my fingers was getting worse and I now had it in my toes. Whilst they wore skimpy dresses and sling back shoes, I wore jumpers, jeans and boots. "You're such a wimp," they'd say. Perhaps at the time I felt the same but I was sure that I was no wimp.


When I look back there were times when I could have said, "Hey this is not right, why me?" I had plenty of cause to say that, as over the years I suffered such dreadful bouts of illness. Not common at all I'd say.

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