It is such a shame that our MS symptoms and side-effects do not come with an absolute warning so that we can plan our daily events and life experiences around the inconveniences of the disease. It would be so very wonderful to at least be able to depend on a fair indication of an exacerbation or annoying symptoms so that our social and professional calendars ran more smoothly.
My brother’s girlfriend has a talking parrot who often gives him all the parrot love that she is capable of, rubbing affectingly against him, perching on his shoulder, or staring adoringly on to his face. When they first became acquainted he fell under her spell and didn’t realize that her attention was a false sense of security in her devotion. After a few “bird attacks” his attraction to her waned drastically and Abby was relegated to her cage when he was in the room. He learned that there is nothing as painful as being bitten by an irate parrot. But then, he started paying close attention to the bird’s behavior when he was around. Abby really did seem to like him and approve of his relationship with her “master”; but he noticed that when she tired of his human sentiments, she would emit a little squawk and pronounce quite clearly “Oww” before offering her extremely painful bite.
Though the bird does not speak the Queen’s English nor does she communicate as her human counterparts do, she obviously related a very human sentiment with a related action. And she let her prey know what was to come.
I hate it when I find myself unexpectedly kissing the floor or unsuccessfully forcing my legs to obey a desperate plea to MOVE. My MS does not warn me of these surprise parties by saying “Oww” or creating mental red flags before organizing a full blown attack. Sometimes I do not even feel the “bite” until I am already inconvenienced by its war strategy. I wouldn’t even mind borrowing this verbal feather friend if I thought she could warn me with her irony.
I know there are several things that I can avoid in order to subsequently avoid the ill results of MS, but that isn’t the same thing. Staying out of the heat is a smart move. Getting plenty of rest and fitting in some time to exercise are all good things. Eliminating stressful situations and negative relationships are all very, very good ideas as well; but with MS it is not always that easy. And MS does not give us a variety of choices either. We can choose to diet or exercise. We can decide whether or not to plan an day around work or fun. It is our human ability to stop smoking, read a book, watch a movie, buy a new dress, or indulge in self-serving activity or volunteer for a community project. We do not get to choose with MS. MS is in the driver’s seat and gets to make most of the decisions in everyday life. And MS if full of “Oww” moments, the majority of which come with a forewarning announcement.
Of course, life does not come equipped with clear cut cautions, so we must spend some time to analyze the cause and effect of life.
I have an uncle who lost his leg to diabetes and is finding it very difficult emotionally as well as physically in adapting his life around the loss of mobility and independence e. There were many warnings in his life about the possibility of such a tragedy and often he really did have control over the consequences of his life choices. When living with any disease, we need to know our limitations. I am not saying that he choose to lose a limb, but there are always choices that can help us guard against such consequences. Maybe his lifestyle dictated the turn that his unfortunate disease developed.
I mentioned my Parrot Brother, but there is a second sibling in my family. My other brother fell victim to a brain tumor several years ago. He had always suffered headaches that increasingly became more and more painful and frequent over the years, but were never connected with the possibility of this tumor. They were probably early signs of his condition, but headaches are not always viewed as cause to consider a brain disease. They are more commonly considered an inconvenience and annoying part of life. They might have been his “Oww”, but he didn’t know that. After three brain surgeries, the tumor is mostly removed. There is no cancer and he has successfully regained most of his bodily functions. I often think it is rather strange that he and I share many of the same neurological symptoms although our conditions are not the same. Or, are they? His tumor and my MS are both conditions of the brain. The right side of his body suffers the most, as does mine. We both limp around and favor our right legs. The biggest difference other than the obvious diagnosis is that he prefers and tolerates heat while I definitely demand cooler temperatures. I find it a little weird how our brains are conditioned to these differences in order to properly function within the boundaries of our physical conditions.
Neurology is neurology, I guess. It is all an “Oww” attack.