I went to a party last night! Nothing super-exciting, just a retirement party for colleagues that my husband was hosting for two friends from his group who are retiring. There are five people total in his group retiring in the past two months, so there have been a lot of these! I have missed all the others, but since my husband was hosting this one and I knew both guys, I made an effort to go and rested all day in preparation.
Even though it was my husband's work colleagues in an office lobby, I had fun! It felt sooo good to get dressed nicely and get out of the house and among normal people. I even polished my nails yesterday (a rare treat and a gorgeous deep blue) and put on make-up! I felt like a real live girl.
I am naturally a very social person, and I had forgotten how much I enjoy just being out among people, talking. I miss that kind of lively, regular interaction. I was healthy until age 37, and I used to be very busy socially. I was kind of a wild party girl in my teens and twenties and loved parties.
Thankfully, I sowed plenty of wild oats back then, so it's not so bad living a quiet life now. I lived in New Orleans when I first got out of college, back when I could easily stay out all night and then go to breakfast in the morning! And after we moved up here to Delaware, my husband and I loved to throw parties. Any excuse would do - we had dinner parties, hosted family holidays, New Year's Eve parties, etc. Our annual Mardi Gras party grew into the highlight of the year for friends - before I got sick, we'd have 50 or 60 people there each year! Now, we can only invite 10 or 12 of our closest friends, and even that is a huge undertaking for me...and pretty much the only party we host all year.
So something as mundane as the office party last night felt like a big deal!
Still, even though I was glad to be there, all the usual challenges persisted. First, of course, is simply that just about everyone else was drinking. That doesn't seem like such a big deal anymore, though I do miss having a flavorful beer or a glass of wine. I just chug down my water.
Then there are the many dangers of the buffet table. It was bad enough just being dairy-free (do you know how many typical party foods contain cheese, sour cream, or cream cheese? Pretty much all of them!). Now, with these yeast problems , I am also no-sugar, so that was an added challenge last night. I realized that almost all dipping sauces contain sugar - I looked down the row - BBQ sauce, honey mustard, cocktail sauce...guess I'll eat my chicken tenders plain! Thankfully, there were some delicious mini crab cakes and guacamole and tortilla chips, two favorites of mine.
The most challenging part of going to a party, though, is that everyone is standing up the whole time, even if there are chairs around. I walked in last night, and that's the first thing I noticed (with a silent uh-oh in my head) - dozens of people all standing and chatting and no chairs. I found a folding chair that I sat in much of the time, but that creates other problems. You can't circulate around to talk to people if you are sitting, and it's not much fun to sit alone in the corner. Some people that I knew did seek me out in my chair, but then you have the awkward situation with everyone else standing and you sitting, at eye level with their belt buckles (and worse!). It doesn't help that I am short to begin with.
At one point, I threw caution to the wind and walked over to talk to a few people I knew. I was enjoying the conversation, but within a few minutes I started to feel lightheaded and sick. The beta blockers help considerably by keeping my heart rate in the normal range, but I could still feel the blood pooling in my legs. I started the classic OI routine - moving my legs around, flexing my toes, moving from one leg to the other, trying to keep the blood circulating - but then I probably looked like I had to use the bathroom! I told my husband, I had a strange moment of looking around at the rest of the crowd in awe, thinking, "How on earth do they just stand around like this for hours?"
But, like I said, I did enjoy myself. It was nice to get out and break up the old routine for one evening, and I enjoyed catching up with people I hadn't seen in many years. I managed to stay from 5:30 until almost 8:30 (it helped that everyone sat down in a conference room for the last hour, while they feted the new retirees). I had fun, but the main emotion I felt as I sat down in my car to drive home was relief! It was so lovely to get home, make a cup of herbal tea, and take my usual evening place, lying on the couch....ahhhh!
The only problem is that even though I can't drink alcohol, I woke up this morning feeling hung-over! I will definitely need to take it easy the rest of this weekend, but it was nice to be reminded of my old self.