I think being sick requires a certain attitude if one is determined to be happy. I was told in an MS group for Men, “Until you can laugh and poke fun at yourself for your symptoms, they own you. They can control how you behave. When you can laugh about them, it shows you’ve accepted them and are no longer willing to let them drive your life.” This came from the man who told me to laugh off tracks in the underwear as bad gas and keep a spare pair in the car. As he said, fart jokes never get old, and the best ones are the ones untold but known to and experienced by all. http://i.imgur.com/1qFs1.jpg
Towards that end, I was trying to think back to some of the humor I’ve found in my MS. Much of the humor was unknown to me at the time. I couldn’t see it yet.
My step mom says I have the family’s cursed CRS. CRS in this case stands for “Can’t remember #$%^”
I use my memory gaffes as part of the comedy of MS routine stories I tell to make light of MS and make friends comfortable laughing at MS. One of my most common stories is from my first Christmas with MS where I got together 3 presents to wrap, tape and paper.
1st present: put present down, cut paper, fold paper, tape – tada! one down two to go.
2nd present: put present down, cut paper, fold paper, ummmm where’s the tape? I haven’t stood up. It must be within arms reach. Why the heck can’t I remember where I put the tape…a 5 min curse fest ensues until boredom with repeating the same curses allows me to realize there was more tape. So I go and grab another roll to finish. Tada! Two down.
3rd present: put present down, cut paper, fold paper, ummmm where’s the tape? Seriously? I can’t remember where the heck I put it. Thankfully this time boredom hits faster so after only 2 minutes I remember there was more tape. Tada all done.
I saw the tape neatly stacked one on top of the other only the next morning, for the night I just had a block. I could not remember where I put the tape down.
Lest one think it only hits for mundane things like tape, I once spent what felt like 5 min trying to remember my wife’s name before a coworker supplied it for me when I said, “You know, the woman with whom I live.”
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A few years ago, I learned to always get a tray when I went downstairs to the cafeteria. In the course of 4 work days, I dropped 5 bowls of oatmeal. Yes, that’s right. 5.
Something about holding the bowl with one hand made it shake and then get thrown or dropped. After the first one, I would not let the cafeteria staff clean it up. I just had them tell me where the mop was… On the fourth day I got over my stubborn streak and said “If I can’t hold this with 2 hands then no more oatmeal. It might be better for my heart, but it’s crushing my spirit.”
If anyone has ever seen the Never-ending Story, there is a scene where the huge stone giant is looking at his hands saying “Such big strong hands…You would think I could just hold on!” I wanted to print a picture of him with that caption to put on a tee shirt to wear down to the cafeteria for the laughing workers there.
Another funny from life with MS:
For most of the first two years I had MS, I experienced L’Hermites sign. Honestly I kind of miss the L’hermites (sp?)sign. It used to make me laugh, especially at the end when it was just a tingly sensation in the groin whenever I looked down. It happened every time I looked down to pick up after my dogs. I’d chuckle to myself and wish for that sensation at a more appropriate time than picking up poop.
On the embarrassing side, I often relate how steroids left me crying watching Independence Day with Will Smith. Yes, emotional control can totally be taken away via chemical interactions. I was literally laughing at myself for crying, and I couldn’t stop either one.
I’ve taken to chuckling at the onlookers wondering why a guy who just fell is getting up to run some more despite cuts and scrapes. I loved the look on one lady’s face when I said, “It’s fine. It’s not like I felt it.” Truth told I felt some thing. It wasn’t pain. It was humor at my MS and her reaction to its symptom.