Saturday, March 31, 2012


     We all have times in our lives where nothing beats alone time.  A rough day at work, or maybe a tired day where just some solitude does wonders.  MS offers a different kind of loneliness.  The type that no matter if your physically alone or smothered in family, you're still alone.  You may be at a movie theater with 300 people, like I was last night watching Hunger Games.  When my scooter had to be moved from the aisle I felt, well, alone.  Kind of trapped, stuck in the big leather chair that comfortably secured the handicapped section.  For a minute my mind wandered.  What if I have to go to the bathroom?  What if I get sick?  My scooter, my independence, was 15 feet away and yep you guessed it, I was alone...Breathe, I kept telling myself; Nothings going to happen.  Sure enough nothing did.  But when the movie ended, naturally after everyone exited and the original usher forgot about me I fortunately got some help retrieving my scooter by the last patron.  Boy was I pissed, for a minute, then I remembered that this young usher really didn't realize what being alone was like.
     For one battling MS there's a lot of alone time.  A friend of mine, another MS soldier was enjoying a bowl of ice cream with his wife, when suddenly he realized how difficult it was to push the spoon through the ice cream, obviously deterring the simple elegance and beauty of enjoying a treat with his wife.  Ah yes. Alone.  Inside his mind fretting and scrambling just to revive the moment he was supposed to be finding comfort, rather he found himself alone.
     For many the simple thought of being a child of God is one way to eliminate being alone.  Many of the old ladies at the NUCCA chiropractor that support me and have a little crush on me tell me all the time.  You're not alone.  You're God is with you.  Well I believe it, but anytime he is willing to stop in for supper or just hang out my schedule is wide open.  Others turn to Buddha teaching or Yoga to help ease their loneliness.  I give them credit.  I've read of so many amazing patients that beat that loneliness  by getting involved in these things, or hobbies or what not.  I commend them.
     Truth is when your driving hand controls and your phone falls between the tracks of the adjustable seat, and someone is calling simultaneously its a helpless alone feeling.  Or having to use the bathroom.  You know the feeling.  You are driving down the road and your busting a bladder, so you pull over quickly and run into the Macdonalds to relieve yourself.  That's if you physically can.  Those of us not physically capable are once again alone.
     Optimism for the alone person is crucial.  By the same tolkien one could say resilience is too.  Which comes first?  I would be hard pressed to answer that and could argue either way. One thing for sure is we need both.  What is always amazing to me is no matter what the situation, we usually find a way to deal with it, to fight it, to conquer it.  Might not be pretty, but the job gets done. Most of the time.  We may get settled and play it in our mind and shed tears, like the big greek baby does all the time or laugh, but someway somehow, we get through it, with help or alone.  We get creative, using a belt to bend our legs stuck from the intense spascisity, or throwing a shoe at the light switch to turn it off.  My mouth and teeth are like a third arm.  I carry my phone, wallet, lunch, paperwork, and even my mail between my teeth as I nestle into the office chair or scooter or the car.  We improvise, we recreate, we invent, we somehow and someway make it happen...alone...This is not to say that all of us are capable of doing things alone as this disease affects us all differently and things I did just a few months ago I cannot do alone.  Things like getting dressed or cooking.  The one thing we all do share in common is that indescribable loneliness no matter how much help we have.  Ironically I know a lot of healthy people that can't do things alone, but its different.  For those of you that feel me and are going at it alone, keep your chin up and give yourself a pat on the ass, listen to the old ladies advice, you are not alone...



  1. George – Your blog is brilliant. It is true, even when many of us share similar stories or struggles, we all really do go through things alone. But as they say, by sharing things with loved ones (and others!) joys are doubled and sorrows are halved. So keep doing it! It shows infinite strength to be able to admit the harsh truth of reality and how you feel about it. Uncensored. Lay it on the line! Tell it like it is – pain, frustration, and all. That genuine part is absolutely crucial. It is easy to hide behind illusion and denial or wishful thinking. But to admit when one is hurting allows that person to get it out so they can truly move on. Then you can muster up your resilience and decide what your next step is and make a plan with a clear head. Keep writing!!
    - Mary Petersen