Editor’s note: “Need to Know” is a series inspired by common forum questions and comments from readers. Have a comment or question about MS? Visit our forum. This week’s question is inspired by the forum post “Is your MS Invisible or is it obvious?” published on Feb. 15, 2019. Share your concerns, questions, or experiences in the comments below or at the original forum entry.
I recently cleaned out my wallet. Some cards fell out that I had tucked there a year ago while at a writer’s conference in Portland.
I’d given some away and now recall half a box still stashed in my office, ready for my next public outing.
They’re my MS calling cards.
The invisibility factor
You wouldn’t know by looking at me that I have MS. I can walk, talk, see, and speak. Usually. If I struggle with these functions, you’d never notice because I don’t leave my house when it happens.
A day in my pre-diagnosis life
Before diagnosis, even a trip to the grocery store clobbered me. I’d park as close as I could to the store’s entrance or next to a buggy bay and grab a cart there.
The cart became my secret walker. I’d use it to support my leaden legs walking at a snail’s pace to get into the store. Then, instead of shopping, I’d go to the pharmacy waiting area. It’s enclosed by walls with frosted glass windows. They keep a dozen chairs inside where pharmacists meet customers privately to discuss prescriptions. Usually, there’s nobody in there but a nursing mother.
Leaving my cart outside, I’d creep inside, shut the door, and take a chair. There, I’d nap until I recharged my brain. Sometimes, I might be energetic enough to start shopping. After two aisles of sensory overload staring at all the brightly colored products on the shelves, I’d escape to my secret retreat for a nap.
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