So you fall down, I mean everyone has a fall now and again, but not everyone cannot stand up again and has to call a taxi somewhere to the wilds, in the middle of farm land where horses are living in their stables.
Because as you are poised with camera in the hand for your prize winning photo you slip on the sloping ground, grasp the fence in between as you are going down, realise the fence is under electric current, that gives you the rest. A taxi is called, you are in the hospital ER and various questions are asked. In the meanwhile your lunch is reminding you that it is not quite fully digested, but after 1-2 hours they let you go and you hobble home to bed.
This was the week-end, when no-one is available for further help, but you eventually get to your doctor the next week and she sends you to the hospital for an x-ray to make sure no bones were broken on the way. The doc has a feeling that something is wrong somewhere and you get an appointment with the neurologist. The next step from the neurologist is one of those x-ray tunnels for the body with lots of noise for special x-rays. The neurologist wants more, and decides your head must also be examined with more noise, how insulting, my head was always attached to my shouders. And then you eventually visit the special department of a hospital a train ride away for more examinations, including a so-called lumber puncture. I get a hole in my back for brain liquid – I have liquid in my brain?
Suddenly various letters from various laboratories in Switzerland arruve where my samples were sent. I am famous, my body photos are now hanging somewhere in Basel, Zürich and Bern. Eventually I get a result of all these examinations, although I was already there before the doc decided to tell me that I had MS. I was 69 years old at the time, so who cares. MS is not something you get at the age of 69 and it had been hanging around for at least 30-40 years, but no-one realised it, not even me. It was not crass, nothing to make a fuss of, just a bit of giddiness now and again and the inability to become an olympic star in running, jumping or even walking. I was gradually becoming the best choice for the Ministry of Funny Walks.
Perhaps not quite, but on the way.
And so I was now inaugurated into the members of the Multiple Sclerosis group. I belonged somewhere, was no longer just a silly walk, there was a purpose in my life and I even got a walking stick. Of course not just any walking stick, I mean if you have to have one than make sure it looks good. Anyhow can walk around with a stick so let’s do it properly.
I have two. The brown plain uninteresting one is for wobbling around at home on my unsteady days, but the colourful one, the one with the jungle pattern, that is my stick for outside walks. The one where everyone goes “aah” and “oh” when the see me passing by. The little silver label on the top is my name, it is an individual stick. My neurologist (who has almost become a family friend in the meanwhile) asked me last week if it was an exclusive model. Did I see a little jealous flicker in his eye.
In the meanwhile I am even on the needle.
Every second day I give myself an injection: nothing with diabetic pens, no the real thing. A hyperdermic accessory, driven into the body in a vertical direction, but not anywhere. It tends to now and again leave a mark, so it is advisable to distribute the marks. Every time somewhere else. Here again it has to be organised “now where did I inject the last time?” so I programme it all into my iPhone with a signal to remind me when and where the time arrives again.
Am I a paragon – not really, I did not get a choice, but this MS thing is not going to rule my life. I have other things to do like ironing, window cleaning, washing, cooking. In my spare time I go for a walk with the camera (MS says not longer than half an hour, but sometimes I tell MS “get stuffed” and take a rest on a bench, meaning I might disappear for an hour or more. MS does not really tell me what to do so much, I tell it what I want to do. I get fatigued now and again, but don’t we all. Of course my feet no longer are attached to my legs so well, expecially the left one but I am one of the lucky ones probably, that I still manage with just one stick, not two or a wheelchair. My fingers still manage a computer keyboard. They are perhaps no longer as sensitive as they were, but at the age of 70 many things are no longer as sensitive as they were. I can write, I can blog, and upload photos – what more do I need.
I also have an assistant in the shape of Mr. Swiss who is also a golden oldie. Everyone told me to drive a car again, and so I am. Driving a car was never really a speciality of mine, but that is not so much the MS talking as my ability to do it.
Enough for now, we all have our crosses to bear. Mine is not so much a cross, but an annoyance – so get down MS I want to take a walk this evening – behave.