I thank Jean Martin Charcot, though, for stepping up to the plate and announcing to the world that Multiple Sclerosis is a documented disease. For anyone who was aware of this proclamation at the time, I am certain that their appreciation was strongly felt.
Unfortunately, even with medical documentation, MS is still ridiculed as a "catch-all" for all of the unexplained symptoms and actions associated with the mysteries of the condition. I am so excited to be seeing my original neurologist in a few weeks in hopes that he has more information to share. Dr. Robert Lewis was a mere intern when we first met. He was studying under the experts at Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, West Virginia, specializing in neurology, and, of course, a Mountaineer fan. I tell you this mostly because from the upper windows at this hospital one can enjoy a spectacular view of Milan Puscar Stadium, home of the WVU Mountaineers. That is not what honed my affections for Dr. Bob, though. He was young, enthusiastic, newly married, an expectant father, and originally from the southern part of West Virginia, my family's stomping grounds. And he cared...with ever inch of his being...about helping me work with my newly diagnosed disease. In my mind, Dr. Robert Lewis was the closest thing, in my time of need, to God. (My eyes are flooded with tears just thinking about it.)
As his first MS patient, I was definitely a big part of his studies, but he did not once treat me as a lab experiment. His bed side manner got me through my first, and second, spinal tap. He reassured me, but did not not pamper me in that demoralizing way that some medical professionals see as comfort. We talked about my six month old son and his own new born. We even kind of giggled about our name choices. I named my son Boone in honor of my family's home county. He named his son Guido. Why? I still do not know. A very mob name for a sweet, innocent southern boy, don't you think? Dr. Bob was there for me when I needed him most. He moved on in his studies and his practice, leaving me with a confidence that I could "do this thing".
And for many years I did; but I always wondered about the guy who so lovingly had taken my spinal fluid virginity. And, after more than a decade, I have found him. I imagine the two of us, arms reaching and flowers floating in the air around us, falling into one anothers' arms. I will declare my undying love for him, as he gently strokes my tear sodden cheek and inquires about my incontinence.
I do not even know if he will truly remember me, but there is no doubt that he has made a definitive impact on my life. There have been an assortment of neurologists and specialists in my life since my relationship with Dr. Bob, but none can compare with my feelings toward this fellow. It's that "first love" thing to some degree and the fact that his youthful enthusiasm was contagious. I can relate, as I am certain we all can. In the first years of being a classroom teacher, I know I went overboard to be the very best teacher I could be. I am not saying that the years lessen this need to succeed, but I know that we all settle into our jobs and sometimes become a bit lax in our approach. I will not criticize Dr. Bob for not remembering me, but I have to admit that I probably will feel some disappointment. (A GREAT deal of disappointment. I mean, after all we meant to one another...)
The point of all of this (and there really is a point) is that it is absolutely imperative that we find a neurologist who makes us feels worthy of continuing on with life, MS or not. Where Dr. Bob left me in order to continue his studies and advance his career, he also did so because that was the next chapter in his life; and he left me with a confidence that I, too, could handle my next chapter. That euphoria lasted a while, until I again needed that reassurance that I could "do this thing". And, then...I became a number. I continuously spouted out data that was already recorded in the medical files; and I self-diagnosed and treated my own symptoms. I am not saying that after Dr. Bob no one cared, but that "home visit" feel was gone. And thank goodness I have the where-withal to research my own disease! It is a little frightening when I am reporting to my doctors the best way to treat my condition. My teacher's pay check certainly does not reflect the income that some (most) of these professionals bring home.
So, 'nuff said. Dr. Bob is located a distance from me now, but it is worth it to me to take a day off from work and travel down interstate 79 to find him. (And, no, I am NOT telling you where he is. I saw him first! Besides, that is what Goggle is for.) At this stage in the game, I prefer taking this time out of my day in order to revisit a piece of mind that has since been removed from my life. Maybe I will be disappointed; maybe I will continue to self-diagnose; maybe Dr. Bob no longer concentrates on MS related studies; maybe Guido is the Godfather of Cable County. I am excited to find out. And I am excited that Jean Martin Charcot made all of this possible.
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Love and Light,