Friday, July 22, 2011

The Price Of Technology

Apologies for not posting on Thursday. Blogspot was misbehaving...

Does anyone here remember dial-up internet? And how slowly the information would load? Yet how amazingly fast it was compared to looking in a dictionary or encyclopedia, driving to the library or a store. But once this high-speed thing came out, dial-up paled in comparison. And slowly but surely, one by one, most have transitioned over to fast internet access. I am sure there are still a few Earthlink subscribers out there that haven't the want or need to upgrade. Slowly watching their web clicks upload, their hair inching out of their scalp at the same speed. And it popped into my head that we, my Fibro friends, are dial-up in today's high-speed world. We still try with all our might to get the job done. Sure its a little slower, okay a lot. And quite a bit of chaos and disorganization, no seamless transitions from activity to activity. We need to rest before we launch the next charge! There may be painful "half-days" when we are between loading large tasks like a highly pixelated picture. And you have to sit there and watch our incompleteness drive us crazy to distraction. There is a lot of waiting around for us to be ready. Asking us to do something does not mean we start it the second we are asked. It means it goes in the circular file that exists above all our heads, a forever to-do list rotating and intermittently remembered, loading just as slow as the third frustrated click of the "back" button does in that dial-up world.

I remember a time before technology ruled our lives. When the only phone number a teenager had was their home phone number. When you had to make plans before you left the house, and actually seek out the people you are meeting at a specific destination. There was no "We are in front of the Gap" quick text on the cell phone to guide you. Getting directions, remembering where you parked your car? There weren't any GPS navigation guides or key fobs stimulating a beeping horn with each press, guiding you to your automobile as a dolphin glides through the midnight waters, sonar detection leading the way. Remember when every person you knew did not have immediate access to you at any given time? Then we got cell phones and ended that. How about when a vacation from work actually consisted of a vacation? Not a mandatory morning check of your email to avoid imminent disaster upon your return from a well deserved rest. And then our cell phones started getting our email. And social networking "apps". And every single person we knew, be it real life or virtual, could now get in touch with us at any given time, day or night, anywhere in the world. And they actually expect this, too!

There are many advantages we are lucky enough to experience living in the eye of this technological revolution. Hell, I could not even write this blog without Google, many many searches discovering information, confirming or correcting it so I don't come off like a bumbling idiot with no knowledge of the world at large (I hope). But we have given up a lot as well. The lines between work and personal time are horribly blurred. Privacy, really, need I even go there? Instant accessibility makes the rest of the world, the natural order of things, unpleasant and slow. Our society has become impatient and terse, always on the go, fast fast fast. I recall my "career" days and how I would be walking from place to place, fuming because I did not have time to be walking! I needed to be THERE! NOW! There are so many patients with Fibromyalgia, and just in living with this illness we have touched the lives of a great many others. And given them a taste of that slowed down lifestyle long forgotten. It is annoying and inconvenient. We are judged and left out, confronted for our "laziness" and whispered about behind our backs. So please my dear friends, remember, you are confined in a body that is sick. But you still have everything you ever did to offer. We are not going the way of the dinosaur or dial-up internet. We are actually making the world slow down and examine its flaws, the flaws that knocked us flat on our asses and made us so sick. Oh yes, we still have plenty to offer. It just may come a whole lot slower, which I actually don't think is the most terrible thing in the world.

Thanks for joining,


  1. Leah, thank you so much for your blog. Your posts always hit home with me as if I were writing it myself. Although, I wish I had the ability to write the way you do. It's amazing how this ugly Fibro world actually manages to teach us the true meaning of life. Sometimes I wish folks realized how much they truly are missing by being in such a "rush" all the time. Yes, we'd like to be able to move about in a slightly faster mode but there are advantages of being inside this body. I think we appreciate the "small" things in life more than the average, healthy person does. It's so empowering when we are able to complete a task. A task that normally would take a healthy person a few minutes to do that will take us hours to finish. I rejoice in the small accomplishments in life. Things that we took for granted before we became sick. Wow, when was that time in our life? Can I even remember how long ago it was? I'm so thankful for the days I am able to function without the pain screaming at me. When the pain is down to a dull roar, I consider it a good day. On those days we might choose to venture out to run an errand or to meet a friend for lunch, etc. Therefore, the world sees us on those days and think "hmmm, she must not be "very" sick. Just why can't she do more? Why can't she come out more often?" We all know those comments that folks make behind our backs. If they only walked in our shoes for one day. Just "one" day! Could they handle it as well as we do? Could they maintain a somewhat pleasant attitude? Ohhh, that's another story in itself...the face we put on to be as pleasant as possible when being around others. When we really want to frown or grumble. I carry this burden inside me that causes me to think if I don't appear to be somewhat pleasant will I lose the few friends I have remaining? As time as moved slowly forward, I've realized it's the friends that really matter that remain by my side. As most of us know, our circle of friends dwindle down to only a few as Fibro tries to take any joy away that we have remaining. In the long run it's those friends that are truly a blessing in our life. The friends that can look at you and say, "Wow, you know I admire the strength you have. You have really taught me a lot about life. You, my dear friend, are a real blessing to me." Those friends are the keepers. We do have quite a bit to offer to this world. For this reason we keep on keeping on. Leah, thank you for all you offer to us. You truly are a bright light at the end of the long tunnel.

  2. Leah,

    I will say it again - you hit the nail perfectly on the head of your metaphor. What an amazing gift.

    I'm going to keep bugging you to come and write a chapter for my book. I can be really annoying and really persistent. (i.e. internet stalker, you may have to block me!) I know you said you were thinking about it. I hope you will decide on doing it, because I imagine that your story would be an incredible read and very enlightening.

    Regardless, what a wonderful, perfect metaphor for fibromyalgia. It is exactly like dial up internet in a high speed age. Just perfect!