Same MS symptom, new MS monster
When you were a kid, did you have a monster that lived under your bed?
Being a child growing up by the seashore I wasn’t capable of worrying about just any old monster under my bed. My monster had a twist. And he didn’t live under my bed. He swam deep, deep below it.
See, my monster was a huge, scary great white shark. And he lived under my house, not under my bed.
No, my house wasn’t built on a pier.
In my childhood nightmares the shark was so powerful that he would come up from the ocean in the earth’s core and break through my basement and my bedroom floor just to bite my arm off if it happened to hanging over the bed.
It didn’t occur to me that that was quite a journey for a shark to make just to get my tasty arm. Or that if the shark was strong enough to break through cement and wood, my mattress would probably not keep him from getting all of me.
Yes, I know, this was a ridiculous childhood concern. But cut me some slack; it was the 70’s and Jaws had just been released. AND, they filmed Jaws not too far from where we lived so it could happen.
It didn’t help that my sisters just loved to hum the Jaws theme as we drifted off to sleep.
Maybe that is why I am so tired all the time now- my childhood was spent scrunching into a tight, safe little ball all night to protect myself from sharks and thus, I didn’t get much sleep back then. It is certainly the reason why I still never hang anything over the side of my bed. You shouldn’t either- you just never know…
I started thinking about this recently as I realized we have a tendency in life to make things that might frighten us, cute. If something is cute and cuddly, it can’t be dangerous.
Like Sesame Street– what was that about? A huge yellow bird is freaking scary! I know because Big Bird came to my little sister’s birthday party once and he scared the “you know what” out of one of her guests. No need to be graphic. Let’s just say diapers were involved.
And then there was ET. Oh no, no one is afraid of ET. He’s so ugly he’s cute, so he can’t be that bad. Hmmmm, kind of how my sisters described me as a baby.
But when you really think about, an alien is still a monster anyway you look at it.
My new favorite commercial on TV is for Myrbetriq. If you have not seen it is worth it to pull up YouTube and check it out.
It features this woman being lead around by a little pink monster. He grabs her hand and pulls her off a bus when he sees a bathroom sign. He does the same thing when she is in line for a movie. Turns out, this adorable little creature is supposed to be her bladder.
The audio refers to “your bladder is calling the shots.” But the image makes her bladder out to be just a little needy, like a child needing to go, go, go all the time. Later in the 60 second commercial the little bladder monster makes faces as if he feels guilty for being so difficult.
The woman who owns him takes him to the doctor and he seems to be listening intently as the doctor tells the woman there is medicine that can help him control himself better.
Then the woman and the little pink monster, (I looked it up- the little guy does look like an actual bladder except with two big eye balls. I really hope my bladder doesn’t have eyes,) go to a concert in the park and sit happily relaxed with no worries.
Ridiculous, I thought! I don’t care what kind of medication the woman is taking she is going to have to go at least once during the concert. And there are probably only porta pottys which is a whole other kind of terror.
I paid very close attention to this commercial since my bladder and I have issues. And for several weeks I tried to think of my bladder as just a cute little needy monster. I swear I really did. But it didn’t work.
My bladder issues are not cute. And they are scary. And more than that, they piss me off. And like my childhood shark terrors, my bladder keeps me up at night. Making it cute did not help at all!
It made me wonder why we as a society do this. Why turn something horrible and frightening into something funny to try to pretend it doesn’t bug us? What if someone did that with multiple sclerosis?
And then I remember that I actually did! On the cover of my book about living with MS I turned MS into a monster. A “so ugly he’s kind of cute monster!”
I even held a contest to give him a name- Myron, the myelin munching monster (thank you Kym.) And then I put him at the start of every chapter. What was I thinking?
The thing is, since he’s not going anywhere he might as well be funny to look at. If I have to deal with him, I might as well try to be less terrified. And maybe if I give him an orange color since orange is the color of hope for people with MS, he’ll weaken just a little bit.
And that right there is when I realized that if I make him, my crappy, miserable MS, into a monster, I give myself just a little bit of control over him. He’s still scary. And he definitely still pisses me off. But at least he’s a little bit less hideous to look at…
And speaking of Myron, the myelin munching monster, the MSstation Book Club website has named his story, MS Madness! A “Giggle More, Cry Less” Story of Multiple Sclerosis as the May book of the month! Check it out here-
And if you haven’t picked up a copy yet, why not buy it through my publisher’s website where 50% of the proceeds go to the Nancy Davis Foundation’s Race to Erase MS Orange campaign. Maybe your purchase will be the one that funds the research that leads the experts in the direction of a cure!
At the very least, you’ll get a chuckle or two!
Please excuse me now; my bladder and I are headed to the bathroom. We have some obnoxious issues to take care of…