I have two family gatherings in the next couple of days. I love my family to pieces and adore spending time with them. That’s not the problem. It’s the uninvited guest who always tags along with me that’s giving me palpitations.
MS hisses in my ear, ‘you can’t go, you’ll be too tired, too hot, too tingly, too boring – why don’t you just go back to your sofa, have a nice lie down.’
I am an awkward guest now, like the Mad Aunt everyone knows they have to invite but aren’t quite sure what to do with. Chairs and parasols are rearranged in the garden thanks to heat intolerance, guests look away politely as I spill my drink thanks to dodgy hands and my jokes fall flat as I suddenly can’t remember all-important punchlines thanks to cog fog.
Don’t get me wrong, my family are wonderful, it’s just that MS has driven an invisible wedge between us. Sitting in a dark, shady corner watching everyone else bask in the sun is a metaphor for life with MS.
So, I have some pre-prepared answers ready to lessen the awkwardness and make me appear slightly less tragic:
‘You keep yawning, are we keeping you up?’
– ‘Hell no, was out last night dancing on the tables, fabulous time, wasn’t back til 2 am’
‘Hey, come out into the sun!!’
– ‘S’ok, Vogue said pale is the new tan’
– ‘No worries, it takes skill you know, to trip over a flat surface and I’m the champion’
Good plan, no? My family all know I have MS but I don’t really want to belabour the point, and as most of us with MS know, trying to describe the symptoms is not for party-talk, it’s a full-blown maudlin evening over wine, Pringles, low-burning candles and Edith Piaf in the background. And anyway, I feel awkward enough without wanting everyone else to feel the same way too.
So I will try my hardest. I will take part in pass-the-new-baby-around, but perhaps pass him on a little quicker than the others. I will grip my wine glass with two hands, as if I am drinking from a chalice. I will pinch some ice cubes and surreptitiously pop them down my top. Above all, I will attempt to leave my uninvited guest at the door, just for a while….
There was a family meal at a restaurant just after my last relapse. Next to useless left hand meant I was unable to use a knife and fork sensibly and my speech was affected so I didn’t go. It wasn’t the state of me that I was worried about but the reactions of everyone around the table. I don’t like it when people pretend that everything is normal and are trying not to notice that you just tipped a forkful of food down your front. It’s not their fault and I feel for them, but it makes me feel more uncomfortable than the ms does!
That’s exactly it. It’s embarrassing. People don’t know what to say when I knock yet another glass over the table. Sometimes I feel like a toddler!
What I try to do is joke about it. I know it’s not a funny subject, but it can make other people feel a little more at ease. MS can make you feel so isolated, it’s important to accept every invitation going!
Got one of the family get togethers tomorrow and am already slightly dreading it although can’t wait to catch up with family. Will my hands behave? How many times will I trip?
I recommend you engage more at the parties.
You can do this by becoming the centre of attention. To do this, try out theses two games for starters.
1. Guess the size of the haemotoma.
2. Plan pin the tail on the haemotoma.
You can then run a sweepstake on how much wine you can manage to not spill as you stumble around the garden.
Excellent idea! Although probably not a good idea to pin anything on the haematoma. My friend smacked me on the leg today by mistake and I don’t think I’ve ever sworn so much in my life.
I will definitely be stumbling around the garden..
I know what you mean – I’m scared to yawn in front of my mum cos she makes so much fuss. I’m meant to be going to a fundraiser at my daughters school – Zumba – of all things! I’ve talked all my friends in to going but now laying on my bed I can’t get up!!!
Good luck for the weekend – would getting plastered help?
I think getting plastered would definitely help!! Funnily enough, one glass of wine makes my balance better, or perhaps it only feels that way, lol.
I just smile and do my dumb blonde act, what else can I do LOL ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
Great idea Tricia!
Think I do the dumb act quite a lot. Easy but effective!
Hey there, Party Pooper! I’m with you. For me, it’s mostly the incessant TIRED feeling. Really makes for scintillating conversation when I yawn, doze, snore loudly through events. Okay, I haven’t done more than yawn (YET). But honestly, sometimes the mere idea of going out exhausts me. I hope you had fun despite the old MS tagging along?
I am proud to say I survived! Second event was last night and it went really well.
Was a long evening, but whizzed by. Mind you, I was enjoying the cooler evening weather while everyone else was shivering, bless them.
Only downer was getting up for work this morning, but after today, I’m off til Friday, yay!
Absolutely the funniest thing I’ve read this week. Thanks for keeping all our spirits up. Didn’t realise how invigorating the blogosphere was. Great sense of community.
Aw, bless you James!
We’re a fab little online community here. I absolutely love it. It’s been great to hear what other people are thinking about the same things, plus the support I get back. Priceless.