A little peek at a little MS Madness!
As the writer I claim to be, I could lie and make up some brilliant excuse as to why today’s blog is not as creative as I usually try to make it.
I could write that I am in Paris being wined and dined by a handsome stranger.
Or I could write that I am at Keith Richards’ Jamaican villa, lying in a hammock and looking at the crystal blue water while he writes new music nearby.
Maybe, I might scribe, I was abducted by aliens, for real this time, and they haven’t brought me back to Earth yet.
But the truth of the matter is that I am just tired; really tired. I am so tired, that miraculously, MS hasn’t given me anything new to write about this week.
And, if truth be told, I am still trying to sell a book or two and thought maybe today, I might just entice you with a look at an excerpt from MS Madness! A “Giggle More, Cry Less” Story of Multiple Sclerosis.
Since my brain is so tired, I thought the excerpt I would share should appropriately be from a chapter called Cognitive/Schmognitive which details brain cog fog and specifically, my first neuropsychological evaluation.
(Try saying that five times fast. If you can, you don’t need a neuropsychological evaluation.)
If you like this excerpt and would like to get your own copy, you can buy one where all other amazing literary tomes are sold; except maybe mega brick and mortar stores as they don’t quite love MS Madness yet. But maybe if you request it……
Thank you friends! And remember, a portion of the proceeds from each sale of MS Madness goes to non-profit agencies searching for a cure for multiple sclerosis or non-profit agencies that help those living with chronic illness.
Have a restful weekend.
“…….The doctor introduced me to her assistant and we started the process. After some brief questions she showed me a drawing and asked me to write in paragraph form what I saw. I thought this was likely a simple exercise to show off my most basic grammar and spelling skills. I had just told her the only career path I could conceive of was becoming a writer. I had to prove that it was at least a possibility. I asked how much time I had. She told me to take all the time I wanted. Did that mean the entire four hours? I think she was expecting a basic description of woman doing this, child doing that, etc. But I saw a whole story in the drawing and wrote it, complete with a dramatic subplot and a commentary on the decline of a simple moral compass in current technology dependent middle class America. Eventually the doctor asked me to stop. Her report on the testing noted: “narrative handwriting sample was creative in content.” Perhaps I should have asked for it back to see if I could publish it. I needed the money, after all.
From there, things went downhill. Her assistant took me into this tiny room where she proceeded to have me memorize, spell, associate words, disassociate words, dissect words, add, subtract, remember, repeat and any other thing you can possibly do to someone’s brain. Slowly my head began to expand. Just remembering the test is bringing the awful headache back. The final report shows I tested pretty well but it didn’t seem so at the time. At one point, I could not tell the assistant the name of our president. Instead, I said, ‘I can’t believe this, I love him. I voted for him. I can see him in front of me and can see his family. He has a weird name but is a good guy.’ My Republican friends said that this memory loss was because my brain was blocking out disturbing thoughts.
The part of the test I did the worst on was identifying something missing from a picture. Maybe it was the artist in me altering common perceptions, but they would show me a picture and ask me what was left out. I couldn’t tell them and would say, ‘nothing, everything is there.’ The assistant would insist something was definitely missing. Then, to make her happy, I would make something up. If it was a picture of a puppy, I would say a little boy. Every puppy needs a little boy to hang out with. And the assistant would begin writing in her notepad. One picture was of a leaf, what could possibly be missing from a picture of a leaf? A leaf was a leaf. But the assistant would state ‘No, something was definitely missing,’ and we would start all over again.
One picture was of a mother and son walking on the beach. I grew up on Cape Cod. If something was missing from a beach picture I should have known what it was. I kept guessing—a fishing boat, tourists, whales, a keg of beer, sandcastles, nude sunbathers, seaweed, litter, suntan lotion, a cooler, shells, keep off the dunes signs, Jaws, park rangers. The assistant scribbled away………………….
Three weeks later the doctor called and said she had the test results. She told me the MS had caused my brain to slow down a bit. She compared it to her elderly father who didn’t have dementia, but whom she had to speak to slowly so that he would better understand her when she was telling him something. She said my brain was like that, an old man’s. She also told me that I should accept that my multi-tasking skills, skills I once prided myself on, were pretty much shot. I would now have to realize it might take me longer to process things, especially since the test was done in a controlled environment. Exhaustion, stress, and noise would likely increase my symptoms. She recommended that I visit a vocational specialist, whatever that was, and that I only work part time. She wouldn’t tell me what was missing from the beach picture as she said someday I may need to do the test again.
The breakdown of the test results seemed to be that cognitively, I wasn’t a total mess—I was just an old man. Good to know.”
*********Super top secret information just for you- more excerpts from MS Madness! are included in the BOOK tab of this website*******************