One thing that I can't complain about, living in a small country town, is people trying to find some way to relate to your illness. (Hence, the title of this post)
Normally I don't go around telling everyone what's wrong with me, if I can help it. I've always been a private person and I would just rather not tell people who are basically strangers, like the other moms picking their kids up at school, all of the gory details of my walk down MS Lane.
But you always find that one person, I know that every one of you reading know exactly who I'm talking about, who not only completely understand what you're going through but they can relate in some very, extremely, not even "Seven Degrees To Kevin Bacon" sort of way.
Here are just a few of the responses I've gotten when I've told people that I had MS (after them badgering me because TRUST ME, they didn't get it easily!) Followed by what I wanted to say but didn't:
1. Oh yeah! MS. Oh that's some nasty stuff! When I was little, back in the 50's, we would go and visit my aunt who lived in Florida, and she had a neighbor who's daughter had MS. Oh she was such a mess! She had to live with her parents for her entire life cause she just couldn't take care of herself. Isn't that a shame!
*Well, yes, actually that is a shame. But you wanna know what's even more of a shame? The fact that you have no idea that you shouldn't have told me that story! Was it supposed to help in some sort of way? Funny, I don't feel helped.
2. Well, I'm sorry that you have MS but I just want you to know that I donate money every year to that Jerry Lee Lewis Telethon so in a way, if they ever find a cure, I paid for it for you!
*Ummm, thank you? Wrong disease though. That would me Muscular Dystrophy, not even the same initials, but thank you for paying for someone's cure!
3. That's just the worst thing that could ever happen, isn't it? What will you do? How will you go on? What kind of life is that? Not a good one, I'll tell you that!
* Well, up until THIS very second I was planning on actually, you know, living my life. Granted in a different way. But now I guess I'll just send the kids home on the bus and go jump of a bridge. Thanks!
Seriously! What is wrong with people?
It reminds me of when I was pregnant with my first child and still working and everyone, seriously everyone, even people I didn't know would walk up to me in stores and try to touch my belly and then tell me this horrible labor story!
It wasn't exactly the best time to tell me all that stuff! And where is this law written that anyone can touch a pregnant woman's belly, by the way? What, they figure somebody's already touched her so it's ok?
But that's a different rant for another day.
I have just never understood why people feel that they need to so desperately say something that they say these things. It doesn't make me feel better and I cannot believe that this person would walk away from the conversation thinking "Wow, I'm like Dr. Phil!"
The truth is, it's okay to just not say anything.
I don't need to hear the horror stories. I already have enough worry and what if's on my shoulders to last me.
I don't need you to say you're sorry. You didn't give it to me. Nobody knows how we get it.
I just feel like it's part of my life. That's it.
Maybe someone should start making shirts that say "It's MS, No not the thing Jerry Lewis does the telethon for, please don't say anything else unless you want to tell me how great my shoes are."
Cause I still wear great shoes.