The day started innocuously enough. I schlepped to work, planned dinner for later, joked around with the boss. Then blam, thwack. Whole-body weakness, a brain stuffed with cotton wool and a need to get home pronto.
The boss let me go early and back home blind panic set in. I couldn’t cook dinner. I could barely stand and when I did, I was pin-balling off the walls, so I called my mum for help. She rushed down, but The Teenager was adamant that he didn’t want to sleep overnight at her house (no Sky Sports News).
She stayed for a while instead, giving the cat some chewy treats, cheering us up, admiring The Teenager’s new Nirvana poster and giving me a bit of space to panic some more.
All I wanted to do was go to bed, and not just for a nap. During the day, I sleep when I have to and The Teenager is either out or at school, but the evenings are different. And therein lies the problem and source of my overwhelming guilt. I’m a single parent (violins at the ready) and The Teenager is an only child. It just wouldn’t be fair to abandon him at 6 or 7pm. I know he’s 14, but I grew up with ill parents (my dad and my stepfather) and am keenly aware of the fears this gave me as a child.
So what did I do? MS left me no choice. I crawled into bed at 7pm, crying my eyes out, leaving The Teenager downstairs with his homework and remote control.
Ten hours later I woke up, guilt flooding back. Until I looked at all the tweets I’d been sent while I’d been sleeping. Lovely, supportive tweets from all around the world. I wasn’t going through this alone. So, I stumbled out of bed, woke The Teenager for his paper round and we had a little chat as he struggled to get his waterproof trousers on.
After patting me on the head and telling me he was fine, he launched into a goal-by-goal account of a football match he’d watched with the cat. Then he bashfully admitted he’d read my Twitter feed last night and felt comforted by all the messages of support, and he too felt less alone.
Just before he left for school, he said I was more than welcome to go to sleep early again, he’d just chat to my Twitter friends. Um….