September 18, 2010

Dating and the Sow

It's a challenge, this whole dating world and the Mad Sow. It isn't easy to not bring it up. I'm rather young to be retired, I obviously don't go to work, and I look relatively fine.  Questions arise. I've taken to telling people I'm a writer but I need some more publications if I am to sound persuasive about it all. Maybe I can just say I have an inheritance that doles me out a dribble of money each month?

But the question is always there - how bad is your illness?  How bad is it going to get? If I fall in love with you, will I be saddled with a cripple? Harsh, but reality is many women with MS are left by their partners. And vice versa, though less frequently. Chronic disease is no picnic to think about. And though I deal mainly with crushing fatigue and numbness now, who knows what tomorrow may bring? I don't. My neurologist says my disease looks relatively quiet. That's nice and I'm grateful. The fact that I was diagnosed older than is common could be good or bad, depending on which study you read. I take my meds, I try to eat properly, I exercise madly when I can. I'm doing everything I can to keep well, but my brain might have different ideas.

But, let's be honest here.  I'm over fifty.  Almost everyone in my age group has at least one chronic disease. Many of them don't know they even have it. Many of them will die well before me of high blood pressure or stroke or diabetes or cancer. It's the idea of having MS that scares people - the image of wheelchairs and walkers and trembling limbs and spasms. Heck, that scares me, too.

The other diseases aren't as visibly disabling in people's minds. But as a nurse, I can see them.  I can see the smoker, coughing, and visualize their lungs, see the COPD waiting ahead.  I see people who don't exercise or who are scarfing down mallomars, and I know what they'll likely be told soon.

So I get slightly crusty when I'm quizzed about my MS. I'm good now, I tell people. I have no idea how I'm going to be tomorrow.  And neither do you know how you will be. Let's just pretend we are all healthy and live the life we have, right now.


Peace Be With You said...

Poignant, sad, resigned, hopeful -- those are all the feelings I find in this beautiful piece. And, yes, they can conflict with one another, but such is the nature of this illness. Nothing about MS fits neatly into a box.

Che koala said...

ahh indeed Dabble, to me this is a good part of the heart of the ms (and Ms) trickery - cause it so rarely gets acknowledged as the nitty gritty of what is difficult by the wider populace.

(I was holding the slender hope it might be less not more difficult once some more around me also gather some oldster ailments... you telling me otherwise?!)
cheers in a wry sorta way