John Friedlich

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Single PWCs and Dating

If you are a single PWC in search of establishing a relationship with another PWC here are a few pointers.

Make up some permanent paint transferable tattoos and refrigerator magnets with your name, address and phone number to give to other PWCs. Business type cards are great, but they get lost. And never expect a PWC to rely on memory. Permanent tattoos and refrigerator magnets stay where they are although one's skin and refrigerator may get rather crowded if you are lucky enough to have much of a social life. The tattoos can also be tough to read if you experience considerable weight gain or loss. Because of this you may wish to offer both the tattoos and magnets. I've got one high functioning PWC friend who now has 14 refrigerators to hold all his magnets.

Try making frequent appointments with a physician who is a CFS specialist. They may not be much more successful in treating your symptoms, but their waiting rooms are great places to meet other PWCs.

When in a medical setting here are a few tips for winning the heart of a PWC. Lines such as, "would you like me to go to the phlebotomy lab for you," or "want me to take the MRI for you," are bound to win points. Never ask questions that rely on memory such as, "what day is it," or "where do you live."

Carry a few extra of those chemical cold packs, heating packs, over the counter pain meds, a light weight folding chair, and note pads with you. Offering these things to a PWC are very much akin to laying one's coat across a puddle.

When you are out take a closer look at what appears to be road kill -- it might be a PWC who's out for a walk just having a bad day.

Never send flowers or anything with a scent as the PWC may be chemically sensitive. Dried flowers and silk flowers seem to work well. And just in case you forget, always carry some extra epinephrine.

If you like a PWC move in with the person right away because trying to make plans to get together always seems to get undermined by CFS flares. If you REALLY like a PWC it's well worth your both having circadian rhythm studies or you may not see each other even if you decide to live together. The alternative is to only make plans for totally non-exertional dates -- like cloud watching.

Many PWCs are often unable to drive so plan to pick your date up. Use of public handicapped transportation vehicles doesn't go over well for a romantic date. By a second hand ambulance -- the can be obtained relatively cheaply, the folding stretcher/chair is a great alternative if restaurant chairs seem to hit trigger points, and the oxygen is helpful if a PWC has neurally mediated hypotension. Oh, and ALWAYS carry a road atlas as a PWC may not remember how to get home after the exhilaration of a real date.

NEVER compare the severity of your symptoms with another PWC. PWCs become so sensitive to their symptoms being down played that their antennas will go up immediately and can become a health hazard to your eyes when locked in an embrace.

Always find out if a PWC has fibromyalgia trigger points and where they are before you attempt a hug or a pat. If a PWC tries hugging your legs he or she may not be weird, but rather just trying to avoid the trigger points. Or maybe he or she may just be unable to get up off the floor.

When dating PWCs remember, "sleeping together on the first date" DOES NOT necessarily mean sex -- it often means sleeping. And speaking of sex, if a relationship gets that far be very sensitive about pacing yourself to the other person's abilities and desires. While it's not cool to ask, "how was it for you," it's even worse to ask, "how was it for me."

© Friedlich, 1997

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