Friday, September 25, 2009

"Which One of You Is Here To Be Seen?"

That's what the lady said about 5 years ago when I went to a study at the University of Delaware, husband in tow. Him all pointing at me like, "duh!" HA! As I told him after I was signed in, "that's how good I look...they couldn't tell!"

Invisible symptoms are a blessing, but also a little bit of a curse. Let's face it, they're symptoms nonetheless, but when you see a person using a mobility aid at 30ish yrs old, you think, "aw, let me get that door for them, carry these groceries to their car, or load these 2 bags of rock salt into their trunk". But when you've got invisible stuff - meaning you're in pain, so tired you could fall asleep on your feet, or your emotions are off the chart - people are left to think, "what the?"

I've lost friends over my emotional highs and lows. A friend recently put it in proper words. She said if a relationship is based on whether or not someone makes you laugh or feel happy, then it's over if said person defaults on that. Only the deepest friendships are those that survive it and, in my opinion, are worth the effort. Another friend uses this quote, which I love. "I make mistakes, I am out of control, and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best."

So there I was, U of D, feeling like the Bionic Woman. Go into this room and do grip strength. "She's off the chart", said the college student! Then, I got to catch a ball! Really? You really want ME to catch a ball? Do they not know I was a collegiate athlete and have played ball from NY to FL and every state in between? Of course not, because I have ms. But I'll catch your giant red ball, just don't humor me with a stupid little toss. Wing it at me, alright? Challenge me. Touch my nose with eyes closed...check. Stand on one foot, close eyes and stand still? Sure, want me to crouch down on that one foot or even hop with eyes closed? Because I can do that, too. The therapist found me intriguing and struck up conversation. She said something like, "wow, it must be hard for you to have been so athletic and to now have a lifelong, debilitating disease". You know how just before you're in a car accident, everything slows way down? That happened to me at that moment. I had a full range of emotions that spanned from wanting to slap her in the face - to wanting to cry - to wanting to slap her in the face again. I shook her off like a piece of dryer lint and moved onto the next station which was...the shrink!

She asked to see me minus my husband, so the poor thing sat outside the door. He knows me too well, figured it would be approximately 2.2 minutes before I'd have enough and walk out. I walked in and sat down, awaiting the endless spew of knowledge she'd surely deliver. Instead, I got 20 questions, or maybe a handful before I left. My recollection may not be exact, but I'll do my best:

Q. "How are you doing with your ms?"
A. "Fine" (thinking to's not mine, lady)
Q. "You're fine with having ms?"
A. "I can't change it, so I try to keep a positive attitude. Attitude is everything."
Q. "How do you feel about having ms?"
A. "I dislike it"
Q. "What are you on for your ms?"
A. "my knees" (I then had to explain my medicinal drama, and how I'm in God's hands)
Q. "You have small children, are you sure that's in their best interest?"
A. "well, someone once said it's all about my 'quality of life', and I had no quality of life on that medicine." (I got that from dear friend/chiropractor:-)
Q. "You seem to not understand the seriousness of your condition. Do you understand that this is a lifelong, disabling illness?"

Explosion in 3..........................2...............................1........................

I yelled, "what do you want me to do, cry over it? 'CAUSE I WON'T!" Jumped up out of my chair, exited the office a la Kramer from Seinfeld, and saw my sweet husband sitting there with a look of concern. Me all, "we're outta here, hon"...pointing to the door. That's my husband in a nutshell. Always there in silent support, always a look of concern, and always just a little unsure of what I might do next. I think it keeps our marriage exciting, ya know? What fun is a predictable wife, I ask? Keep life spicy, I say! Though he may use another "e" word to describe our relationship. That word may be "exhausting".

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