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Hey Friend, I Have MS, Not the Plague
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I think I was feeling better today than I have in weeks. I contracted a nasty bug on my flight home from New York, was knackered from the travel, and two 5-hour time changes in four days is tough on anybody. Finally, I think I was back to near normal. I had some energy and even got up relatively early.
Maybe that’s why it seemed so shocking to the new acquaintance who I was conversing with when I said that I have MS.
Part shock, part pity, half confusion, and a sprinkle of “Is it catching?” all crossed my companion’s face in an instant, and I could read every one of the thoughts like picking up the lines of a poem memorized for some long-ago literature class.
I’m kind of “out there” as far as living with MS goes, so it’s been quite some time since anyone new has learned of my MS face-to-face like that. It hurt a little bit…okay, more than a little.
Not that this dear person was trying to hurt; far from it. There were intelligent questions, empathetic listening, and an effort to understand MS. I couldn’t have been happier about answering her questions. Still, that look — THAT look — is one that I have to believe many of us have seen, have been stung by, and have even hated people for giving.
Some people who have given me that look disappeared from my life not long after. In the long run, I think I’m happy for that. Others learned to live with my MS not unlike I have learned to. Some even rose to the occasion and helped me raise funds and awareness of the disease.
That look doesn't always mean that someone is also looking for the door (maybe not even most of the time). Maybe it’s shocking because we’ve grown somehow used to MS and don’t have the horror of it all newly thrust upon us.
I don’t know where this blog is going, but I have a feeling that you all have some form of story about this one time when you got “That” look. Please feel free to share.
Wishing you and your family the best of health.
Don’t forget to follow me on the Life With MS Facebook page and on Twitter, and subscribe to Life With Multiple Sclerosis.
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