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Sympathy Isn’t This Sister’s Strong Suit

, , , , | Related | October 28, 2021

I got all the bad genes in my family, including a chronic pain disorder. I do what I can to alleviate the symptoms, but it’s not getting any better as I’m reaching middle-age, and I find that there are things I used to be able to do in my youth that I just can’t manage anymore.

My sister is two years younger than me and lucked out in the health department. She’s the kind of person who runs marathons for fun, while I’m at the point where I need physical therapy to handle my daily life. We’ve always been very close and share a lot of interests, including hiking and other outdoor activities. Unfortunately, she has some trouble adjusting to my physical limitations.

I’m just starting my summer vacation and I have two weeks off for shenanigans. My sister calls me to invite me for a hike in a nearby national park.

Sister: “It’s been so long since we did something like this together and it would be so much fun!”

Me: “Sure, that sounds great. We could do a day trip, maybe?”

Sister: “Oh, I thought we’d hike the whole trail; it’ll be like three days at most. We can bring a tent and camping gear. You have two weeks off, right?”

Me: “Sorry, but I won’t be able to do that. I don’t think I could handle sleeping on the ground for one night at this point, even less two. But if we take the short trail on Saturday, we’ll be back by evening and I’ll get to sleep in my own bed and won’t have to be in too much pain for the rest of my vacation.”

Sister: “Come on! You can handle three days, can’t you? We used to do this all the time!”

Me: “We used to do it all the time when I was twenty. If I do it now, I’m going to have to spend the rest of my vacation recovering, and I have other plans, as well.”

Sister: “Seriously? You’ve turned into such a granny!”

Me: *Upset* Sorry my disability is such an inconvenience to you.”

Sister: *Even more upset* “Laziness is not a disability!”

We hung up. She invited one of her friends, instead, and spent the entire three days making passive-aggressive posts on social media about how wonderful her hike was and how much she pitied people who didn’t appreciate the outdoors. 

I spent my vacation taking it easy and going on various day trips with friends and other family, and returned to work rested and content, in no more pain than before.

The irony in all this? My sister is a nurse who specialises in my condition.

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