While at the Type-A Parent Conference in 2013, I had an opportunity to meet special guest Dorothy Hamill, Olympic champion figure skater and spokeswoman for the new Get Moving, America community for adults with osteoarthritis. My non-disclosure disclosure: I am not being compensated in any way to blog about this, but I felt so moved that I really needed to share this with you.
I didn’t know that Dorothy Hamill was going to be at the conference. And when I did hear she was going to be speaking, I didn’t know what it would be about. And then I missed her presentation because we were just getting back from dinner. But I was told that I could meet her at the expo hall the next morning, so I made a point to do that. I talked to the woman sitting next to her at the Get Moving America booth about the community and how arthritis is a new thing for me. We had a good conversation, and I realized that this was a good thing for me to be a part of. Then I waited in line to do the fangirl meet/photo/autograph thing.
And then it was my turn, and she posed for the picture, and we began to speak.
Dorothy Hamill listened to me. She looked down at my hands with my arthritis gloves on as I told her how my arthritis story began this past May. She hugged me and expressed her sympathy, especially since osteoarthritis is normally something that happens due to wear and tear when you get older. It’s not something that usually happens at my age. She asked me which joints bother me the most (hands and ankles) and wanted to know if I had a good doctor, because a good rheumatologist can make all the difference. She hugged me at least three times before I pulled myself away so I wasn’t taking up all her time. She wished me luck and told me she would think about me.
It wasn’t just an empty platitude. She remembered me.
I ran into her and her husband on the elevator as they were leaving. When I stepped in, she introduced me by name to her husband, and told him about my affliction. I thanked her again for her concern, and wished her safe travel home. As it turns out, they were headed to a memorial service, so I expressed my condolences before stepping out of the elevator.
I had to hold back the tears that threatened to wet my eyes as I walked to the ballroom for the next event, so moved by the kindness and thoughtfulness paid to me by someone I’d met only a few hours earlier, someone who had met dozens, if not hundreds of other bloggers at the conference since the previous night.
Many people complimented my gloves that day. I’d thought them a bit ugly, but I had both friends and strangers remarking upon them. Many people assumed the gloves were to keep my hands warm – which they did, since the air conditioning was rather chilly – but they served the purpose of compression and comfort. They did help stave off the pain and stiffness caused by typing so much over the course of the weekend. If anyone is interested, here is my Amazon link to buy the same IMAK Arthritis Gloves for yourself.
I’m looking forward to getting better, of course. I’ll be trying the exercises recommended by Get Moving, America. I do not use my joints enough when the pain sets in, and that just makes it worse. I have the support of friends and strangers, and there is no sweeter thing than that.