The Winter Olympics are just about over and I have been enjoying many of the events from the relative comfort of my recliner.
In a few weeks, Korea will be hosting the Paralympic Games for athletes with various physical abilities. These games are just as challenging as the original games and the athletes are just as talented as their able-bodied counterparts.
I got to wondering what the games would look like for those of us with chronic health problems. I am not talking tongue in cheek here so please bear with me for a bit.
First of all, each participant would be given a gold medal for taking part in the games. After all, that is sometimes more than we can handle. All medals would be gold because of the great effort competing would take.
Secondly, there would not be a host city as few of us can travel any distance. I know I can’t and many people are even worse than me. No, these games would be conducted via Skype, Facetime or any other internet app which allows various individuals to communicate with each other from where they are.
Also, there wouldn’t be separate games for Summer and Winter. The events would be suited to any time of year and would probably include some of the following:
- Instead of the 100-meter dash, there would be the 10-meter cane walk and the 20-meter slow wheel-chair race. A medal would be given to anyone able to cross the finish line on either of these two races.
- The “Attend an Event” event would award anyone who is able to keep plans of going out with other people on the specified games day.
- There will, of course, be a napping event; however, no medals will be awarded as competitors can participate whenever and for as long as they need to.
- For the “Attend an Appointment” event, participants will see a doctor or other healthcare professional and leave feeling like they have been heard, have a solid diagnosis, and/or have a treatment plan they feel confident with.
- The chronic pain venue will host events such as “on a scale of 1 – 10 how manageable is your pain”? Here the “winners” are those who laugh the loudest at the idea of measuring pain by numbers. Another pain event might be “How long can you stay in one position before it becomes too painful?”
I wanted to come up with events for Chronic Fatigue, Fibrofog, and other serious conditions; however, I am just too tired. But I think you get the idea!
I found a lovely picture of the rings done by a youngster on the Happy Hooligans blog as I believe it best represents the Chronic Olympics. We are too fatigued, weak or in pain to line them up perfectly so we would just scatter them all over. Also, I feel it represents the fact there are so many people with chronic illness.
Finally, there wouldn’t be an Olympic torch, because we are not all in one place. Instead, each competitor would be asked to have a diffuser by them with whatever oil suits their needs.
The truth is, we actually compete in these games every day of our ill lives. However, they are not fun nor are there any medals or awards for success or bravery. Instead, we get told we need to try harder or that we are pushing ourselves too much. I think if chronic sufferers and the people around them could look at it like the Olympic Games, we and our illnesses might be taken more seriously!