It is always there...that question. Because the MonSter has become as essential to me as my right arm, the question often catches me off guard and I actually have think about it really hard before realizing that is directed to me.
"What is wrong with your leg?"
"Did you hurt your leg?"
In the beginning I blamed my cane. The physical existence of my colorful walking aid is enough to alarm some folks, even without seeing my crazy walking gait.
Other times I can fully understand the inquisition as I literally sail through the air from point A to point B.
Being physically handicapped is so difficult to hide. I hate it: the looks of alternating sympathy and disdain; the quickness to assist or ignore; the unnecessary need to verbalize support in the form of a related story in order to relate to my situation.
Firstly, do not feel sorry for me. I have actually been very fortunate to this point. On the other hand, do not curl up your nose when you look at me and my cane. We do not need you.
Secondly, I really do appreciate your assistance if it is truly required and done in a unobtrusive manner. The less attention given to the situation, the better. If you choose to ignore me, do so in politely quiet manner. Thank you.
Lastly, I am truly sorry for your uncle's brother's great grand niece who also suffers from some related or totally unrelated illness, so you know how I feel. I appreciate that my illness makes you uncomfortable, but there is really no need to belabor the existence of it. The MonSter does plenty of that daily.
I hope I do not come off as totally ungrateful. I am not.
Sometimes, though, I get very tired of living with MS.
Do not misread that statement. It is not that I get tired of living. I really enjoy living. Some of my best memories are of living and I hope to have many more. Yep, I am going to continue living, so do not send an intervention to my house. I have no intentions of offing myself.
I just grow weary of living with MS. And I will not apologize to the MonSter for saying that. If you know a good MonSter hit-man, I will gladly receive him/her with open arms.
And, I really am not ungrateful for sincere concern. I just become a bit overwhelmed at times. Yesterday, the question was thrown my way a total of four times, making me both uncomfortable and extremely anxious to return to the sanctuary of my own home where I could be as handicapped as I wanted to be without witness.
At a craft store my cane slid onto the floor from its perch against the counter. I had things under control. I just needed to complete my transaction and retrieve the cane before exiting the building. Standard procedure for me.
But, boy-oh-boy, like bees to an empty soda can, three people rushed to right my situation in the process nearly knocking me on my behind. I was so shoo-ken up that I really needed that cane to get to my car.
Later the clerk at the grocery asked multiple questions about my "hurt leg" between gum snaps. I only had three items on the conveyor, but her eyes never left mine as she told me all about my disease.
"Y'know it's hereditary," she said.
"No, it isn't," I replied.
"Sure it is. My niece's dad has it and so did his grandfather, so my niece will get it too."
How can one argue with that logic?
So, I didn't. I simply wished her luck and got the heck out of there.
The other two incidents aren't worth mentioning. I just ignored them and went about my way with a plan to engage my textbook knowledge of American Sign Language if approached. It is always good to have a back up handicap at the ready.
After spending wonderful weekend at our state writing conference, I had no plans to allow random strangers to dowse my creative high. Because...drum roll...
I won first place for novel length fiction for a book that is yet to be published. I am still in a fog. This is my first monetary contest win. It is not enough to pay the mortgage, but that is beside the point. It allows me to announce my new novel.
Bombs Bursting in Air will be published early this autumn. This is the story of a young girl who suffers PTSD when caught in a terrorist attack. I am very excited to keep you posted, so head on over to my Facebook author page from time-to-time. https://www.facebook.com/lisa.mccombs.568
Enough abut me...Enjoy your day. The sun is shining in West Virginia!
P.S. I am nearly finished reading Ann Romney's book In This Together. Are you reading for the badge?