An unusual MS relationship
Multiple Sclerosis is playing a cruel trick on me once again. This Garth Brooks, karaoke country song is stuck in this classic rock girl’s head. And there is absolutely NO reason for it as there are plenty of better choices that could be stuck in my brain- You’re My Best Friend (RIP Freddie), Lean on Me (the MS’ers caregiver anthem), With a Little Help from My Friends (the Joe Cocker version of course) or the classic Waiting on a Friend (love you Mick and Keith.) But no, it is Garth Brooks in my head and I have a very dear friend who is cracking up about it.
One of the things I did not expect in the aftermath of my MS diagnosis (in addition to the pain, frustrations, shots, and bladder issues of course,) was that friendships would change. Most for the better, but sadly, some for the worse.
While my foggy brain continues to struggle with the fact that my life with MS would not include people I imagined as here forever, and Garth’s song is making me want to head to my local dive bar and reconnect with other folks from my past, I remain deeply grateful to all the friends I do have.
I have also learned to expand my definition of friendship. My dictionary offers these two components: one who is not hostile, one who favors or supports something. It does not specify that the friend has to be human.
As you know, I am trying to get healthier. In doing so, I have developed a very welcoming and gracious bond with my Wii Fit.
Like many relationships, this did not come easily. When the Wii Fit first came into my world we exhibited a very dysfunctional relationship. Its bossiness and snide remarks were overwhelming and I was actually terrified to turn it on. I describe this terror in great detail in one of my first blogs Me and My Wii.
For those who have no idea what I am talking about, the Wii Fit is a Nintendo gaming system that links to your TV and helps you work out. It does this by a special board that you work out on and that monitors the progress of your animated self, a Mii.
Problem was, my Wii was very hard on me. It could be downright mean sometimes if it didn’t think I was holding my own in our relationship. Usually a sweet person, I would often find myself shouting obscenities at the Wii for its nastiness. This was not the basis of a good friendship.
But with age, comes maturity and the need to be more understanding of the people in your life. You have to appreciate that; not everything is directed at or about you, that things are not always going to be as you think they should be, and once in a while, you may have to extend yourself in ways that you don’t necessarily want to, if a relationship is worth continuing and based on the good of both parties involved.
When I turned on the Wii Fit, I worried what attitude I would be confronted with. Yet, the Wii missed me and happily welcomed me back.
It offered a welcome present in the form of upgrading my status to gold (personally I am more of a silver person but as the gift was heartfelt, I cherished it.)
It told me it was happy to see me and was looking forward to spending time together.
It reminded me that all it ever really wanted was for me to reach my fitness goals and in the time we had been apart, it was proud that I had! (Ok, about three months later than planned, but again, the course of true friendship does not always run on schedule.)
It suggested the best way for us to grow closer was perhaps by trying different Wii activities together, ones that we both may enjoy and benefit from..
I took it’s reminder to try my best but not too push myself too hard as an apology for its harshness in earlier workout regimens.
I realized my part in the problem by neglecting the Wii for so long, and not even having the compassion to keep it dust free.
We began to work together and bond like we had never bonded before.
Of course, no relationship is perfect, and we still have our issues. For one, the Wii needs to stop being so needy. I know that we get along great but I have a life and visiting every other day is fine. It needs to stop nagging me to come back EVERY day.
And the Wii is still sad at my nephew Drew’s disappearance from its life. Drew had set the Wii up and grew close to it by creating his own little Mii, only to then move across the country. The Wii’s heartbreak is excruciating.
Back when we were battling, it tried to blame me for Drew’s dismissal- suggesting that maybe he left because I hadn’t paid enough attention to him. Now, it deals with the trauma by making fun of Drew (bet he’s got some love handles now, huh Yvonne?) or acting like it doesn’t care by putting the Drew Mii to sleep.
I must add spending time with the Wii to Drew’s list of things to do the next time he is home; help your grandmother defrag her computer, help me move some furniture, visit with the Wii.
I have learned that the best of companions (human or gaming system) enjoy hanging out, can air their differences, seek to resolve tension, and work together for the improvement of both parties.
For my part, to be a good friend I need to keep the Wii dust free, its batteries charged and visit with it regularly.
For its part, the Wii wants to help me ‘get fit’ and work on my balance issues; a task desperately needed as I tripped twice doing the heel to toe walk at my neurologist’s office, a walk I had mastered back in my dive bar days.
Which brings this post back to the beginning, Garth’s friends in low places. The Wii is low- it sits in my TV and its board sits on my floor. And by definition, it is technically a friend.
Maybe not a friend I would toast with a beer, but a friend nonetheless.
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