Today I went for a haircut. Sure it sounds normal and easy and run of the mill...uh huh...Getting a haircut takes preparation, endurance, strength, fortitude and planning. At least for me anyway. Fortunately directly across from work there is a salon that is handicapped friendly and the stylist has become accustomed to wrapping me and the scooter with the apron to prevent the clippings from infiltrating us, so we kind of have a routine. I usually wait until about six weeks between cuts because this particular stylist never stops talking, and it is necessary I am having a "descent" day to absorb her conversation and also my participation requires extensive energy. Simply having a convo can be extremely draining of energy that is stored for getting through the work day. Anyway the Greek was getting overly hairy and today was $9.95 for men's haircuts, so around ten in the morning I scootered over for my bushwacking.
What's great about Esthe, a small lady from the Phillipines, is that she has absolutely no clue what multiple sclerosis is, and jaded she is not. She's never heard of it, nor can she possibly imagine it. She asks me every time, "how did you have your accident?!" She goes on to tell me how I need to do more, much more to feel better. "Start jogging, take more hot baths, get massage, do yoga, jumping jacks help with strength, start using dumbells or do lots of sit ups and push-ups," she insists. "Salsa dancing is great for you," she reminds me each time. Clueless, so clueless that it's refreshing and beautiful that her conception of disease is so virgin in nature.
I have tried to explain the whole "damaged nerve" "kind of like an "extension cord with cuts in it" I tell her like I am explaining to a child, but she just can't conceptualize it. How great it must feel to be so far removed from such an ugly, monstrocity, life sucking, pain staking, shit-ass disease like MS. At first she kind of pisses me off each time with her ignorance, but then on the flip side it's nice that she treats me like every other Joe that gets his ears lowered there, and after a few chops I forget about just how shitty I feel. I get a kick how she thinks I am going to salsa dance. Does she think this scooter is just a comfy motorized chair I like to sport around?
My symptoms are a constant reminder of the inner battle I am soldiering through, and they rarely remit, so a 20 minute haircut with Esthe can be both exhausting and enlightening at the same time. There was a time I remeber similar behavior on my behalf. Ironically Ms affects four people at work out of thirty, not that it doesn't affect all my colleagues, but four of us either have this bitch or have a spouse with it. I remember Vic telling me about 8 years ago how his wife asks him every night if they are going to his dad's house that evening, when in actuality he died years and years ago. She suffers cognitively, and I would think to myself what in the hell is that MS crap? Just like Esthe I was the clueless one. I would give anything to know nothing about this disease, but instead have been forced to eat, breathe, and live it.
Everyone seems to have their shit, an old friend recently contacted me about his battle, two sons fighting Batten Disease. I had know idea it existed, and this amazing family is humbly fighting and contacting ME with support! I wish they were like Esthe and had the good fortune of having no clue. Fact is, be kind to people as you have no idea what they are battling, and its not until it's gone or taken away does one truly realize what one has. Please don't take your good for granted. Consciously realize the great gifts in your life and don't make the mistake of taking them so lightly, even something as simple as getting a haircut...