MS and Mobility: Don't Ask Me to Dance

Mandy Crest Health Guide
  • I won’t dance... don’t ask me... and I’m dead serious. I suppose you mean well, but you are way off the mark on this one.

    “C’mon, dance! You can do it! I won’t let you fall! Don’t be a party poop.”

    Tease me, cajole me, order me, shame me, or attempt to drag me to the dance floor, but I still won’t dance. Just what is it that you don’t understand about that?

    I have multiple sclerosis. With that comes numbness and tingling, fatigue, leg pain, lack of coordination, vertigo, and balance problems. Dancing simply does not have the same appeal to me as it does to you.

    It’s not that I was ever such a great dancer, or that I’m greatly distressed by this turn of events. My inability to fast dance is not exactly the end of the world as I knew it. I manage to enjoy myself quite a bit despite MS, and I love a good time as much as the next person.

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    I enjoy “chair dancing.” Remaining in my seat, singing and bopping around to the music, I am one with the music. In my chair I don’t have to worry about the room spinning, falling down, slamming into people, or spiraling out of control. That explanation doesn’t seem to satisfy you, though.

    I also slow dance. With my husband’s firm, yet gentle guidance, I feel safe and secure, unafraid of injury or embarrassment. Still, it’s not good enough to please you.

    As difficult as it may be for you to understand, dancing is a form of slow torture to me. For you to insist that I join you may be well-intentioned, but it’s also misguided. Must I dance to prove that I am indeed having a wonderful time? Will it make you feel better somehow?

    What do you plan to do when, in mid-dance, I can’t move my leg? When I spiral backward, will you catch me before I land on someone, or on the floor? Will you be there for me tomorrow, while I deal with the residual pain and throbbing?

    Before you try to push people into doing things they don’t want to do, you might want to consider their reasons. It just could be that they know themselves... and what’s best for them... better than you do.

    Whether you intend to or not, you are shining a spotlight on my disability and making me uncomfortable. How about letting me off the hook?

    I’m really not kidding. I won’t dance. Don’t ask me.

Published On: January 02, 2009