Friend Wanted: Applicants must show aptitude for patience, understanding, and the ability to suspend disbelief. Must have own car. Must promise to accept last minute cancellations.
Seriously, it is no easy task, being my friend. You can't take it personally when you get that call, “Sorry... I am not having a good day... I have to cancel.” This is most likely to happen for an evening event. I do try to keep my commitments. If I have plans for an evening out, I will rest up, nap, and do all that is humanly possible to make sure that I am ready and able to attend. Unfortunately, despite my best intentions, there are times when the decision is taken out of my hands. Every so often, MS gets to make the call.
My husband, Jake, and I can work around most of my symptoms, most of the time. It requires forethought and cooperation, but we so detest giving in, that we do all within our power to find a way. We work around weak legs by use of a wheelchair or cane. When my arms are weak, Jake will be on hand for assistance. When my posture is... well, less than perfect... we just have to live with that one. What if I see stars? I pretend I don't. Vertigo? Tough one, but I can still manage, even if I do appear intoxicated. If I can't drive, someone else can take on that chore.
There are a few things that I just haven't been able to beat. I can't beat my arch-enemy, Fatigue. Fatigue is unrelenting and infinitely more powerful than I. When it decides to take me down for the count, it almost always wins out.
The other enemy I can seldom beat is Migraine. Whether that is an MS-related issue is unclear, but that is irrelevant. A full-blown, level ten, brain-busting Migraine makes it impossible to socialize. All on its own, it is a force to be reckoned with, but combined with MS symptoms, it is unbeatable.
When Fatigue or Migraine arrive on the scene, any social obligations come to a screeching halt. I do hate making that call and hearing the disappointment of cancellation on the other end of the line. I hate that my friends may think of me as someone you can't count on. I hate that they're right.
The friends I do have seem to understand, but I'm still left wondering. Wondering if they truly believe my explanations. Wondering if they resent my cancellations and inability to make definite plans. Wondering if being my friend is worth the trouble. If the shoe were on the other foot, would I be so understanding?
I am concerned about the feelings of the people in my life, just as they are concerned about my situation, and that of my husband. I guess that means that I am a good friend, afterall. In any case, I am grateful for the people who do their best to understand, and stick by their friend.
MS can actually make the bonds of friendship stronger.
Published On: May 21, 2008