MS and the aging process
How is it even possible that an illness can make you feel like a little old lady and a little girl at the same time? It seems only multiple sclerosis has the insanity to do just that.
The old lady part isn’t surprising; I have felt older than my actual years for some time now. It started even before my MS diagnosis with innocuous signs such as: this former party girl no longer interested in well, partying, my not being able to stay awake until the end of a movie, having trouble getting myself up when sitting on the floor, my aches, and, of course my pains.
My MS diagnosis coincided with additional signs such as; choosing to no longer sit on the floor, engrossing conversations regarding boring medical stuff, a super size portable pill container filled with a wide assortment of needed medications, a written list of all my medications tucked securely in my purse in case I need it but never in a place where I would remember it, and my extreme forgetfulness.
What were we talking about? Oh yes, my dose of thyroid medication is much higher than your dose, dear.
MS making me feel older than I want to feel comes with the MS territory. But recently, this illness had me feeling like a little girl as well. It was during a road trip my dad and I were taking to visit a sick relative. Going back to the old lady thing for a bit, my dad and I have taken a lot of road trips lately as he has (thankfully as city driving is just too much for me,) appointed himself my designated driver to all my appointments. We have turned Driving Miss Daisy into Driving Miss Yvonne. But at least my dad and I have a common taste in rock music to listen to along the drive- take that Morgan Freeman!
Usually half way through the drive to the big city my dad stops for coffee and while he chats with the counter girl, I slip into the ladies room. This time however, we drove right past our regular stopping place. I didn’t panic. I had to go but not too badly and I was a grownup, I could hold it.
Forty-five minutes later though the city traffic was at a stop and go crawl. I had forgotten about city traffic, old lady again. I tried to hold it, I really did. I wasn’t five years old, this was silly. But as the next exit approached, I broke down. I was a child again.
I think I said, “sorry Dad, but can you take the next exit, I have to use the bathroom and don’t think I can wait til we get there.”
But it came out sounding like “Daddy, I have to go potty right NOW! Really, really bad!”
I waited for the response my dad would give me back when I was five, “be a big girl and hold it Yvonne- we’re almost there.”
Or, “didn’t I tell you to go before we left?”
I worried that he would go back to being the dad he was at that time and just pull over expecting to me go on the side of the road. Thankfully, the seventies were over and my dad decided maybe coffee wouldn’t be so bad after all and he took the exit.
Back on the road and listening to Elvis, the side trip to a bathroom made me think of my childhood. Not for the first time I wondered if I had jinxed myself with an illness that made me feel older than my years. As much as I love babies now, when I was a little girl my go to comfort doll was Mrs. Beasley (who in my family thought that giving me an old lady doll would be a good idea?) You remember her, the grandmotherly looking doll Buffy on Family Affair dragged around.
My dad drank his coffee and started to sing to Elvis. It again reminded me of being five when he would sing Elvis songs into a hairbrush for me as he got ready for work, making up lyrics when appropriate or when he forgot the real ones.
So, maybe the movie of this time in my life isn’t Driving Miss Daisy. Maybe it is actually The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Maybe MS has just screwed up the natural order of the aging process, accelerating to elderly stage and then going back to being a kid. Hopefully, this time I will be cuter.
Would anyone like to play a quick game of Candyland? No, not on the floor, let’s use the kitchen table like the grownups do.
And then it will be time for my nap….