I guess at some point MS gets old, like everything else in the world. You get used to it—the numbness and the tingling, the tripping and stumbling, the aching legs and the sputtering brain. It all gets old and you get sick of it and so does everyone else. This is you now, end of story. There is nothing more to say, no new steps to take, no more second opinions to be had, no new meds to shoot up or pills to choke down.
You are not what you used to be, and there is no going back. Your family and friends still love you, still care, and you detect a pinch of resentment in their general demeanor. People are expending extra energy to make up for what you lack. Those who think fast—the well, the young, the strong, the sure—begin to think for you. It’s easier than waiting, easier than patience. They step in to fill the most vacuous blanks—the time of day, which way to turn, a word, a name, a number. Their hands are quick to get things done and move on. You stumble along behind, acutely aware that you need to prove yourself—now, this way, with these limitations—because they are sick to death of hearing about what you used to be able to do.
MS gets old. Every Thursday you eat pineapple and drink water and in the evening you get your shot again and then go back to work, expecting that to some degree you will be sick later on. You don’t mention it anymore, and neither does anyone else. But when you lie down early because you can’t stand on your feet a minute longer, when you fall off to sleep while your mate is still buzzing between kitchen and TV, maybe something unhappy begins to happen. Because the dishes are still in the sink, because you forgot to turn off the lights upstairs, because you fell asleep before taking the dog out once more, maybe something begins to happen, and maybe what started as a pinch of bitter begins to be a dash of yeast. Maybe it infiltrates, flavors, grows.
A little leaven leavens the whole lump.
Yes, I am a lump, and MS is the yeast with which I have been salted. I am altered, changed, and what has changed me knows no bounds. Here I am shouting, I am here, here I am.
Don’t you remember?
What began as misfortune has become an excuse, and now when they pick teams, you are chosen dead last. Does it matter how many touchdowns Joe Namath threw before his banged up knees finally gave out altogether? Who will put money on the gimpy greyhound, excepting it is participating in the Special Olympics?
It’s not that he’s a bad dog now. It’s just that he’s no damn good anymore.