I’ve taken awhile off of dating since my body basically started to shut down on me. I look and feel great for the first 5 weeks, but it’s that 6th week where the sound of my coughing overshadows the sound of my laughing. I begin to walk with lungs full of infection, and I know it is time for IVs.
I took the radical decision to quit my day job and go on government help, hopefully to focus on my health enough to extend the time period between IVs an extra week or two. However, in between lifting weights at the gym, I happened to meet a man who repairs helicopters for the Navy locally. We decided to do happy hour at Applebee’s and I was optimistic.
Bulging muscles and a winning smile, we shared sarcastic bantar prior to ordering. Then he asked coyly, “so…what do you do for a living?” First time I’ve ever had to think of an answer. Geesshh…how do I tell the guy who just saw me at the gym- I live off his tax money because any moment I’ll be back on IV therapy fighting a genetic lung disease?! So…naturally…I told a little white lie.
“I work remotely for a nonprofit.” He asked what the hours were like, which I stated, part time. He then started to laugh about how great it must be to roll out of bed in my PJs, go to the gym, put a few hours in. Then said my worst fear, “I could never be that lazy”. Bssh. I never thought I could be either. I never thought in my wildest dreams, a career in being a professional CF patient would be looming.
I quickly changed the subject after saying “yeah, it pays the bills but I read a lot because I get bored quickly”. We laughed a lot and got along very well…that is until CF moment #2 of the night came up. He told a joke unintentionally and I couldn’t help but laugh. For the most part, I didn’t wheeze but held back the cough. And then, it happened. Wretched, flu-like, chesty, mucousal cough. He didn’t seem to notice. Then, it happened again. And again. Hacking over wings and ice tea, I excused myself to the rest room.
I came back to a weird look which I explained, “I’m not contagious, I promise”. Didn’t matter…moment was over. We stayed there for another hour and I was able to hide my cough until the walk to the car. A quick hug later, I am driving off- pretty sure will never hear from him again.
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