As I look ahead at the week before me, I see that, as usual, it is dotted with medical appointments. The sad part about it is that, I can’t always tell which doctor is for what. The doctor’s names get all jumbled up in my head and I have to think deeply, now what is that doctor for–my MS or for my CHF (Multiple Sclerosis and Congestive Heart Failure respectively)? Another sad part about it is that, for the most part, these become occasions much like an outing to me. Why? Well let’s get back to the topic of what this site is about. MS Life.
A life with Multiple Sclerosis is not all that different than a life without it, if you want my two cents worth. Whoa! I can hear you yelling at me. Hang on a bit and I’ll explain myself.
Come on now. To the world at large, unless we are obviously wheelchair bound; we don’t look like there is anything wrong with us, sitting still that is. Me, it would be a bit different because I hang down to the right, meaning my head and body slouch down on the right side. This isn’t always the case. When I get my Botox injection every three months, I can almost look normal standing or sitting. It doesn’t help that I have ACH (Arnold Chiari Malformation), as well. They had to remove several vertebrae in my neck. I slump because of that as well.
Many in wheelchairs aren’t glaringly disabled. Right? We have to have them. I own one. I use it whenever I know I have to walk around for a long time, or go on trips. People don’t know that we can’t walk a straight line or that the fatigue that sets in is like we’ve just been saddled with two blocks of cement around our ankles, prohibiting us from walking more than a few steps.
What about our “drop foot“? I know that at my worst, I actually was knocking myself right off my feet because my feet were always catching on something that tripped me up. I should wear my orthotics but I’m in need of new ones.
We don’t present as disabled people to the outside world. It’s an uneducated public that we contend with. Still, we go about our business just like anyone else despite extreme fatigue, multiple paresthesias, pain (yes there is pain with MS), and numerous other problems including incontinence. Most of the things we struggle with aren’t glaringly obvious to the world-at-large. We go about our day and not many people will know that we are ill so that’s where my “two cents’ comment above came from.
Life with MS IS not a normal life at all! We just try not to shove it down anyone’s throats. We are polite about it.
- We smile, maybe too much.
- We laugh, maybe too loud and too often.
- We are reliable, oftentimes when we should be in bed.
- We run our households, because there is no one else to run it for us.
- We look great, thanks to visits to salons or nail places.
- We volunteer and step up to the plate, even though people won’t do that for us.
- We create and work, like others.
- We are moms and dads to our children.
- We are husbands and wives and try like heck to please each other.
- We try to keep an even temperament, even though we want to scream and yell at the world.
- We are charismatic and charming, even though we are weeping inside and craving solitude.
Getting back to my original point about doctor visits becoming occasions for me.
There is such a war that goes on every day in our lives for both healthy and disabled individuals. It becomes more intense for the disabled. (I HATE using that word “disabled” but for lack of another one that describes our daily lives, it’s the best one to use.) We appear one way but our lives are significantly different than the book cover we wear. It’s difficult to explain what I’m trying to get across.
You want to go out, but then you don’t. You want to have sex, but then…ugh. You want to get up and get dressed. Hours later you’re still in your pj’s. If you look at the bullet list above you get the idea. You aspire to do it all and yet you don’t give a fuck if you don’t any of them at all.
We are inconsistent!!! We are consistent in our desires however. Think about it. Let’s say you have a terrible flu. You have a fever. You feel hot then you have the shivers. You want to sleep but then you want to get out of bed. You want to clean yourself up but the thought of jumping into the shower seems like so much effort. You want to clean the house because it’s a pig sty, but you snuggle under the blankets and go back to sleep. Blah, blah, blah.
This is our life. Life with MS. 24/7, 365 days of the years! No getting away from it. It is what is is.
Going out to see my doctors? Hey, it could be great fun or it could be, “I think I’ll call and cancel. Now let’s see. What excuse did I use last time?”