I remember going down to the department store with my brother after closing time. We’d push each other around in shopping carts and crash into bushes, lampposts, each other – you name it. I’d never go home without road-rash and a headache. Stupid, but we were kids. We were indestructible.
Then, of course, you grow up. You want to be that dumb, bullet-proof person you once were but life doesn’t work like that. You try and hang onto it as long as you can.
Maybe too long.
“It’s not denial. I’m just very selective about the reality I accept.” – Calvin from Calvin and Hobbs
Have you ever pretended you weren’t sick, blowing off symptoms because you didn’t want to look like a hypochondriac or admit that you’re weak?
We pretend that we can do the things we used to or blame diminishing abilities on something else because we haven’t come to terms with the fact that we’re deteriorating.
We avoid using a cane or walker because it makes us “look disabled” and we don’t want to be associated with the group we so often defend.
Are you in this alone? Do you have someone that supports you and helps you through the tough times or are you destined to spend the rest of your life in a wheelchair – alone – with a dead battery and no one to push?
“It’s better to look good than to feel good” – Billy Crystal as Fernando Lamas
What if someone you love and respect is in denial, too? Like they’re trying to look the part even though they aren’t sincere? They just think you’re not trying hard enough.
I know what that’s like. I can’t even mention it, good or bad, without being accused of complaining – of wallowing in self-pity.
Is that someone worth keeping around?
You know how it works – they don’t help and you stress-out about it. The added stress makes your symptoms worse and you need more help. Their lack of concern is more stressful. It snowballs.
And it hurts.
I try to be patient and view them as having a problem – just like I have a problem – but it’s not getting any better and is definitely causing more difficulties.
Is it wrong to expect to be treated with dignity even when you can’t “act dignified?” Is it wrong to expect that a friend or loved one should make some sacrifices for you?
I’d like to think that I’d do those things.
I’d hold their hand or talk to them about their day and mine. I’d have fun with them and defend them. I’d be proud of them.
Maybe they do those things. If you have to ask, though, it doesn’t feel the same, does it?
“Do to others as you would have them do to you” – Luke 6:31
It’s a nice thought, isn’t it?
We’d love to think that we’re the bigger person because we wouldn’t hesitate to help – even if they’ve shown us that they won’t. Is it worth it, though, if it makes us unhappy? Unhealthier?
That’s the legacy I want to leave for my kids. I am not a doormat – there is value, here. I don’t deserve less respect because I’m diseased.
Because MS is my cross-to-bare.
I don’t have to act like a victim. I’ve had some choices taken from me but this doesn’t have to be one of them.
I know who I want pushing my wheelchair, do you?