Some people with multiple sclerosis may not agree with my many muddled opinions about our maddening medical malady. However, all MSers can agree that MS makes little sense and causes chaotic confusion in our lives. The inexplicability of this medical condition gets magnified because symptoms vary widely, making complete understanding as elusive as a Vaseline-coated eel. Twenty years of experience and the riches of reading and research have enriched my interpretations. These facts have caused me to come to the beliefs in this blog.
Occasionally, I get asked if my issues are due to not taking the mainstream MS medications. In my opinion, my lack of movement caused my problems as I sat on the couch watching TV and did nothing for an extremely long time. If Dwayne The Rock Johnson sat on the couch and did not move or exercise like me, he too would deteriorate severely, although a bit slower. Most of us have heard a million times how a body at rest tends to stay at rest. This behavior causes physical station degradation is how the line should finish.
I talked with Tom about this topic, whom I met at a local MS support group nearly twenty years ago. He told me I was not correct because he may go a week or more without moving, and his muscles do not atrophy like I say mine did. I quickly explained that his idea of not moving and mine is not the same as I believe he moves more than he says. I invited him to compare his supposedly stagnant week to my seriously sedentary season to show him how he moves more than he thinks.
“OK, Tom, everyone starts the week on Sunday, so let us begin our comparison on the first day of the week.” “That sounds reasonable,” he told me. “Is that a day of seated stagnation you spoke about, Tom?” “Yes, Scott, Sunday is my first lazy day of inactivity of the week and no muscle degradation so far.”
I did not want to burst his bubble, but I know his wife, and she can tell when he is hurting or merely wants to slack off and will not let him do so. However, I plan to ride this bus until the wheels fall off and he changes his understanding and comprehends my perspectives.
“So, Tom, do you go to church with your family on the agreed day of worship? Because I know your wife, and I know Angela will not let you stay at home while she and the kids go to church without you.” “Yes, Angela, the kids and I go to church together, but we sit in the car and church, so I am still correct.” “We will come back to the discussion of your wishy-washy walking ways in a few minutes. If I remember correctly, Angela likes to go to lunch after service. Does that still occur?” “Well done, Scott, I suppose I am more active than I thought on Sundays, but not all days are like Sunday.”
“Tom, let me share what is truly meant by an unmoving planted posterior also starting for me on Sunday. I woke up on the couch, and I did not go to church because I felt my friends and God had abandoned me.” “Scott, your friends, may have left you, but you know God did not.” “That is irrelevant because those were my feelings, and my actions were in response. I woke up on the couch and started watching TV, not moving until late morning when I had a tiny four-ounce bowl of cereal and ate it on my temporary bed.” “Compared to Angela and me, you honestly moved very little.” “That is an understatement since we are not even at noon yet. So after eating this menacingly minuscule meal, it was more moody malingering for me. At five, it was time for another sadly small-scale eating session. Drain a can of green beans and add a bit of Italian dressing to the can, causing no dirty dishes.” “WOW, much less movement than I thought, Scott.”
“Well then, is Monday your next slight stationary stay day Tom?” “Yep, and this one is truly a sloth-like day with napping, very little moving, and all that entails.” “Well, let us see. You wake up, and what is the first thing you do in the morning?” “I slept in until 7:30 am, then I got up and went downstairs to the kitchen. Angela made muffins, so I made coffee and sat at the table, had a cup of Joe, a muffin, and read the paper.” “What is next, Tom?” “I go downstairs to the TV room and start watching some morning talk shows. Then, at about 10 am, I go get another muffin and a coffee refill before I enjoy several movies back to back and even a nap.”
“OK, Tom, let me stop you at the midpoint of your day to point out some key factors. First, walking up and down a flight of stairs is more exercise than merely roaming room to room. Second, you have a three-story house, and you use all three floors daily because you sleep, eat, and watch TV, each on different levels. That is a lot of movement for a day of inactivity. This example shows why your muscles do not atrophy as mine did.”
“I see your point now, Scott. I suppose there is no actual point in continuing our comparison competition as you have won.” “It is not a contest where I win, and you lose, my friend. It merely shows how we all behave differently with this condition, and no matter the case, multiple sclerosis operates, however it wants in each of us. Sadly, we all suffer severely, so in fact we all lose.” He wore a sad facial expression, so to lighten the mood, I said. “And yes, it also shows I am a winner, and you are a loser.” he looked at me sternly, and I thought I crossed a line until he smiled and called me a show-off, and we both laughed.
Walk a mile in the shoes of others to gain genuine understanding.