I am not a late night TV watcher, but sometimes I just find it difficult to crawl into a lonely bed when my husband is out of town. Granted, I am blessed with the presence of pre-teen son in the other room, but he's either engrossed in his virtual world of Mind Scape or soundly sleeping. Last evening, it was the former.
So...because the mom in me refuses to bed down before said son is at least pretending to sleep, I did some half-hearted channel surfing. And what a treasure I found.
Swim Lessons: The Nick Irons Story is a documentary chronicling his task of swimming the entire length of the Mississippi River to bring attention to Multiple Sclerosis. He did this for his father, who kept his MS private for many years.
What an inspiration!
Society tends to forget the family victims of such diseases as MS. Nick Irons does not have MS, nor do his brothers, yet this self-less act demonstrates the length(s) to which others will go in an attempt to create public awareness. It's a beautiful thing.
In my YA novel Abby, my main character is constantly plagued with concern for her young widowed mother who has been diagnosed with MS, forcing her to relocate her children to her previously estranged hometown. Abigail writes in her journal:
When I got to school this morning I noticed signs posted all over the schoolo announcing a new club, Teens Against Drunk Driving (TADD). On my locker was a photograph of my mom taped to the center with the words "or is it drunk walking" written on it. The picture was taken outside Pap's house and clearly showed my mother stumbling across the lawn.
I told you that Mom has something called a "dropped foot" and combined with the every day balance difficulties of MS, she isn't real steady on her feet. Whoever took the photo obviously didn't know this or didn't care. In fact, whoever was responsible for this was just down right MEAN. (page 125)
My own son is absolutely aware of my physical condition and limitations. (In fact, he was fascinated with the DVD instruction manual about self-injection when I began Beta Seron. He wanted to to watch that video in lieu of bed time stories when he was two years old. Have I mention how wonderfully weird he is?) My biggest fear is that I will be an embarrassing burden to him. This is even more important because of his age. I remember how humiliating parents can be to a teenager; and I recall this with an immense amount of shame. My goal is to not compound this portion of my son's normal teen years by advertising his mother's physical imperfections. Sure, I enjoy an adult beverage every now and then, but that is not the cause of my lumbering gait. I can perfectly capable of appearing inebriated on a steady diet of lemon-ed ice water.
My point is that our public needs the awareness that Nick Irons is offering in support multiple sclerosis and it's affect on family.
Nick has his swim, I have my Abby. We all cope and learn in different ways. It's all good.