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Monday, August 4, 2008

Living With An Incurable Glitch

I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. If you gave me a pot full of money and said do it now, I still don't have an answer. What I picked I did for the stability so I could get married. Turned out to be the best decision I ever made. The one thing I did know was that I didn't want to be one of those people who couldn't do things for themselves, or the ones that you saw that looked like there was no hope in their eyes. I was reading in another blog that the writer was having trouble figuring out how keep busy after 8 months of retirement and the problems she was having as a result. That's when it hit me. I've been home now going on 11 years.

Seems hard to believe. Where has the time gone? My kids are 20 & 16, they don't remember me not being home. They don't remember that I once played sports, or had a life away from home. When I first retired I actually had people tell me how lucky I was. No more work and you're only 35! What those people didn't realize was that even though the MS made it so I could no longer work, it didn't change some of the other things in my life.

I still worry about my kids. I still try to do the best I can to teach them about life and prepare them for what comes next. I tried to never miss a game, a dance recital, a concert, or skating show, but you don't always have a choice. Teaching by example isn't an option for anything physical. Other people were their coaches, I couldn't take a chance of having a bad spell and not being able to do it, or embarrassing them when they were little.

The MS didn't change that the fact that I still have parents I worry about and my wife's parent. I still have a brother and sister to interact with, who have families and events I need to be a part of.

You still have a house to take care of. Things need to be fixed, painted, gutters need to be cleaned. The car still has routine maintenance, and still breaks down when you least expect it. Laundry needs to be done, food needs to be bought and cooked, and the house needs to be cleaned. Water leaks don't disappear, toilets get stopped up, and drains get clogged. My grass still grows, bushes need trimming, and weeds need pulling.

The big thing with the Multiple Sclerosis is it doesn't care. We aren't poor, but we don't have unlimited funds either. We didn't run out and outfit the house with everything we could think of to make my life easier. You learn as you go along what helps, or doesn't. You become painfully aware that some issues can't be resolved. I've learned I don't need to apologize to the people that I love, because I know they love me. In 11 years I've learned to try and make the best of what I have and thank God everyday for my wife. I have learned to separate people into the ones that truly care, and the ones that my circumstances interfere with their own.

I'm realistic. They have never cured anything. They can prevent things, but I don't hold a lot of hope for playing semi pro football again. I now know it is my responsibility for salvaging a life out of all this. I'm aware that I need to do all I can for myself so not to burden those around me as long as I can. I am sorry for the fact that things have changed so much for the people around me that I care so much about. With all of that, or because of all of that, I am one of the happiest people I know!


Slammermike said...

A positive attitude is probably your best medicine. You have had that from day one. Sure you have your down days but everyone does. Even your title for this post shows your positive attitude. "Living with an incurable glitch" as opposed to surviving, struggling, enduring and so on.

You are the same person now as you were before you were diagnosed with MS. That is why even after being away from the job for 11 years you are still a huge driving force in the work related organizations. You are more active than many of the new people.

You have always been one of the first to step up when someone was in need.

Your caring and compassion for your friends has nurtured the strength that those friendships are built on. And they are rock solid.

Our group has been together for well over 25 years. We have been through so much together over the years. Marriages, divorces, births, deaths, college, operations, family sicknesses & MS. One thing I know I can take to the bank if thinks get tight or the shit hits the fan I know I have a group that I can count on no matter what.

Your family and friends love you and care for you as much as you care for them. You should never think of yourself as a burden.

awb said...

It's been a wild ride! What a great group, here's to the next 25!