I mentioned in the last post that I had found a coping mechanism that suited me very well and helped me to regain my optimism. Entering contests provides that intermittent gratification which is the most compelling type there is. It's the same impulse that makes you check your email every five minutes to see if something new has arrived.
It helps to find something that gives you a feeling of accomplishment when you have to change your life plans.
So I actually stumbled upon a method that gave me some distraction from the fatigue and tedium of RA. This is the story of one of our most memorable early experiences with my new hobby. It proved to be life changing in many ways.
At my urging my son entered a newspaper contest to win tickets to attend the Shrine Circus. There were some additional prizes of bikes and a trip to be awarded at the show. At this time in our life my husband was totally engrossed in writing his first
computer program as a self employed person and was so totally absorbed that he was almost living on another planet from the rest of the family.
He won one of the 25 sets of family tickets to the Big Show.
On the day of the circus we arrived a little late and rushed to our
seats in the bleachers. We sat down and before we knew it the
ringmaster announced a winner of a bicycle. My husband clapped and cheered - he did not know there was a draw at all. The next bike was
awarded and he kept on clapping. Then we got to the trip draw. The ringmaster said "And now we draw for the winner of the grand prize - a
trip to Disney World. And the winner is ...my older son said his
brother's name - and the ringmaster said the same name immediately after.
They called my son down to the circus ring and he disappeared. Next
thing we knew he came out riding on the lead elephant in the circus
parade. My husband was flabbergasted. He had no idea what was going on - in moments like that it is hard to make out the words of an announcer.
When my son finally rejoined us he had an unexpected bonus. He was wearing shorts and had developed big red welts on the inside of his legs. It
turns out that he is allergic to elephants, not just horses and cats. Still it took a long time before he stopped grinning with delight.
Luckily the rash cleared up before we went to Disney World.