Friday, June 1, 2012

"Curse" of the Dragon Tattoo Arm Sleeve

My big bad dragon!
As most of you know, I have a collection of compression arm sleeves that I wear to combat the lymphedema in my left arm secondary to my lymph node removal.  I wouldn’t wear them if I didn’t have to, but such is life.  I have one that has an Asian dragon motif on it, all in purples and blacks and oranges on a flesh-colored sleeve.  If you’re not looking closely or see me from a distance, it’s easy to mistake it for a “real” tattoo.  I really like it as it goes with a lot of different things and it’s a cool looking tattoo that I can take off.

Most of the time, people respond very positively to the sleeves.  Most of the time…

On Tuesday, I wore the abovementioned sleeve.  Lynn and I were out running errands, so we went to Wendy’s for lunch with the kids.  I was standing at the drink fountain while an older gentleman and his grandson filled their cups.  Neither gave me funny looks when the grandfather and I exchanged pleasantries. 

They happened to sit down near us with the man’s wife facing me.  They got themselves situated and then all bowed their heads to pray.  Shortly after that, I started to notice the covert glances and then felt the waves of disapproval emanating from the wife.  “What gives,” I thought to myself?  And then I happened to glance down at my arm.  Aha.  My dragon sleeve was the cause of this good Christian woman’s angst. 

I giggled to myself and filled Lynn in.  Lynn, always a big advocate for me and anything related to my disease, immediately offered to go over and say something to the woman.  Instead, I peeled the offending sleeve off to see if we could get a reaction out her (sassy, I know).  Alas, it didn’t; she wasn’t even looking.  Rats! 

Plan B: I dared Lynn to say something to the woman as we were leaving.  I know she would have too, but Josie needed a cup for water so I decided - no time like the present.  I boldly walked over to the offended woman’s table and politely informed the woman that the tattoo wasn’t real; that I had to wear the sleeve because I had had BREAST CANCER.  “Oh,” she said.  “I was just admiring how well it went with your outfit.” 

That woman is really lucky that I’m typically a polite person because I sooooo wanted to throw down the BS card!  “… how well it went with your outfit,” my foot!  Did she think that I couldn’t read her facial expressions, that I couldn’t feel the disapproval emanating from her body?  Seriously?! 

I try to be a pretty tolerant kind of person.  Of course there are things that I find unusual or sometimes disturbing, but who am I to judge?  It wasn’t like I was being disruptive or that my children were running amok and being obnoxious while I sat there doing nothing.   I was minding my own business and the kids (all five of them) were behaving better than some adults do in restaurants. 

That’s the second time that I’ve had such a negative reaction to my sleeve by a woman who appears to be somewhat “religious”.  The first woman almost asked me to leave her husband’s hospital room when I went to see him for speech therapy after his stroke.  I don’t get it.  Jesus wasn’t judgmental; what gives those women the right to be?

I just have three words for them: “Bless your heart!” ;0)

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