Friday, July 9, 2010

The Bad, the Normal, & the Hilarious

So, somewhere around 3pm yesterday, as I was wading my way through a persistently and pervasively rotten day that started with an alarmingly sick dog; a mad dash to the vet; drifted into bills I couldn't think how to pay; stayed mired in heat, a cluttered house, the annoying ache of cramps; and a phone that just didn't stop ringingit hit me that not a single one of these things was connected to MS. And with that one thought my 'bad' day went from trying and failing to resist the siren song of emotional eating to the soul satisfying balm of how good it felt to have a normal bad day.
My previous post is as real as it gets in talking openly about my 'MS world.' Writing it was like inviting my reading audience over for a tour of my garden and taking a side trip into my messy basement. I keep my MesS hidden most of the time. It is my experience that folks just don't know how to respond when I am that transparent. 
One of the wise people in my life, after many years of counsel and support, 'fessed up' that he struggled with how to talk with me since our 'normal' seemed so out of sync. A day later, another wise person shared that a few years ago he made a conscious decision to stay connected to people who were facing things like cancer. Rather than fading from the person's life and assuming that that person's new 'normal' was so altered from his that they no longer had common ground. He puts this belief into action by regularly driving two hours to visit a friend who has Alzheimer's and stopping by weekly to simply hang out with me. 
How then to relate to someone whose 'normal' seems both tragic and, on some level, too overwhelming to face? Everyone has a degree of mess in their life. Some people have signs on the doorway leading down like cancer or MS, that make one person's mess seem worse than another's.
As a person with a notably messy basement, a few suggestions are:

  •  my 'normal' while seemingly worse than some, is just that, normal to me
  • don't assume that we can't relate simply because I seem comparably messier. 
  • Know that, no matter how upbeat I may appear to be, the impact of MS with depression and loss and pain is always present. 
  • I need people in my life, more than that, I need people to make a deliberate effort to stay involved. It is draining to have to ask for water, for rides, for more things than I can list. Tromping around in my mess isn't fun, but it is needed.

My normal bad day improved with my dog coming home; a cold beer; and a long evening of vegging on the couch with the occasional chuckle about how good normal bad felt. 

This morning got off to a great start:
Someone flocked our house, that is donated to my church's youth program to come over and cover my yard with pink flamingos (a fundraiser). What a hoot! And an entirely new definition of normal. 


Peace Be With You said...

As a Florida girl, I love those flamingos. And what an appropriate over-the-top way to balance out the not-so-cheeky reality we MSers live with. I'll bet those pink birds will bring a smile to your face even on your most somber days.

Debbie said...

I love the flamingos and so would my son. I can't imagine his excitement if our yard looked like yours. I love your post because it is so true. Just because someone is dealing with something messy doesn't mean that they no longer want to be treated as part of normal life. For me it's even more important that people treat me as normal except when I tell them that I just can't handle it that day. That doesn't mean give up on me though. I'm glad that you had such a "bad" day. lol I hope you have more of them. Though good ones are even better!