I was trawling through my computer files today, and I found this little piece of writing. Itís related to me having multiple sclerosis (MS), and I wrote it only two months after I was diagnosed with MS. On re-reading it, itís obvious I wasnít going as well physically as I wanted, but I was doing my best to keep things Ďnormalí.
ďWell it's been a funny kind of week, this past seven days. It started out last week with me feeling quite well, and deciding to do some watering of our garden.
This went well until I took the hose and nozzle out to the front of our place. The hose got caught up with a wheelbarrow lying over on its side, stopped me suddenly and then CRASH, over I went, landing on my right knee and palm of my right hand.
I got up, brushed myself off and considered the damage... hmm not too bad, and the hose was pushing out the water still. I picked up the nozzle to start watering the plants on the front veranda when CRASH, down again, on my well-padded bottom this time.
photo by Martin Christmas
I got up again, a little more slowly, but it seemed all of my bits were still working OK. So I watered the plants on the front veranda, ferns, cactus, some kind of arum lily, muntrie plants, pelargonium, and more cactus. I filled up the bird bath which is about twenty metres away, watered the two salt bush trees forty metres from the front door, then headed to the back yard to turn off the hose again.
pretty flowers to be watered
After that, I took the well-earned rest I needed and had a think about the whole thing. I felt a little shaken up, but not too badly damaged. That was all OK and the next couple of days continued on, with me remaining standing when I was meant to and only sitting on my bottom when I wanted to.
By Sunday, I was feeling fine. I had a slight bruise on my right knee, and that was it. I was excited because that afternoon was a poetry event at my favourite library, the Tea Tree Gully Library.
I drove to the library with the two poems I wanted to read there and had a great time greeting my friends. There was the launch of two friends' books - Helen Lindstrom with 'Cold Comfort' and Sharon Kernot with 'Wash Day Pockets'. The books were beautifully launched by Louise Nicholas, we all had a short break and the poetry readings began.
The poems read were all fantastic, and I was feeling so pleased that I'd gone along for the afternoon. Then the MC, Gary MacRae called my name. I left my walking stick at my seat and only took my poems with me. I thought I wouldn't need my stick to walk that short way to the microphone. I was wrong.
CRASH, again, over on the same poor right knee. My poems fluttered down with me and I stayed down, briefly considering staying there and crying. It was only very brief though, people, my friends, asked if I was OK and whether I needed any help. I said I was OK, accepted help from a lovely lady whose name I don't remember, took my poems someone had picked up for me, and proceeded to the microphone.
A friend brought me my walking stick and I spoke to the crowd of people watching me, my audience.
'Now that I have your attention...' I began, to relieved laughter from all.
I settled into reading my work, glad it was all going well, and so glad that I'd been able to turn my near disaster into something more, something empowering almost, for me.
me at MS fundraiser, photo by H Hoppmann
I have an illness which upsets my balance and makes these kinds of incidences happen, but I'm proud of the way I was able to get up again, and do what I had to do with humour and grace. If I can keep my sense of humour, and act in a way that shows the good things I can still do, then I will stay happy that I'm living my life in the very best way possible.Ē
When you have MS, you might have good days amongst the bad. And, with the right medication and healing, those good days might become the most common kind of day you have. Thatís how it is for me now, four years on Ö
My sense of humour and my positive attitude are helping me to keep on going, having a good time and being an inspiration to others.