Falling Together

My last blog about Falling proved what I too frequently forget.  Sometimes with a chronic condition we feel isolated, as if we are the only people with a nagging problem and suffering alone.  Falling is not the problem but the result of the problem.  It is not just MS.  Chronic conditions may be wildly different, but the situations patients face and the emotional fallout are remarkably similar.

Case in point: Consider Nancy Cincotta, who commented on my Post, To Fall:

“The falls have become intolerable. Yet there is nothing to do about it. Sad.”

Nancy may have MS, yes. Or she may have Parkinson’s. Perhaps she had a stoke. The precise problem is not the point. In this case, the resulting tumble is the debilitating issue. I am not a role model because I do it wrong. Falling is a part of our lives. I treat biting the dust as a grim fact of life. I gather my belongings and get helped to my feet, apologizing all the while as if I had done something wrong. Of course I call attention to myself in the process and make a big deal out of a minor incident. Why not spot a friendly face and ask for an arm? No explanation is required. People are friendly and happy to go out of they’re way, especially in New York. Why do we make such a big thing out of a minor spill? Why trumpet our condition? Let’s not play victim anymore than we have to.

Another option, of course, is to buy a bottle of cheap gin and pour it over our head.  Then we can blame the alcohol.  By the way, when I first used a cane, a neighbor approached Meredith to ask what was wrong.  Upon hearing it was MS, she expressed relief.  “We thought he was a n alcoholic.”  People are nosy, especially neighbors.Screw them.



5 Responses to Falling Together

  1. Nancy Cincotta November 21, 2013 at 2:31 pm #

    Richard, I have progressive m.s and a survivor of breast cancer. I have and continue to relate to your writing.

    • Richard M. Cohen November 22, 2013 at 11:06 am #

      Thanks. Ve well.


  2. Tricia November 21, 2013 at 3:39 pm #

    Just thinking about your latest post and the last comment about your neighbor’s reaction about you not being an alcoholic. There are so many chronic diseases and alcoholism is one of them but the stigma and judgment around it seems even worse than with any other recognized disease by the AMA. It only hurts those who suffer from it even more as they out of fear and shame are often unwilling to seek help and talk about it which would be so helpful. Anonymous Twelve step programs are only feeding into the “having to hide” and “being different” and “having to feel guilty and ashamed” feelings which can turn out to be a catch-22 and even deadly for some while they are meant to help. We have a documentary about alternative and holistic healing methods in development for a while for that reason.

    I could not help save my ex-husband or my mother so I have plenty of experience with it from an Al-Anon perspective and find it is very problematic that there is any stigma around any chronic disease. All suffer similarly and many feel helpless while speaking up about it, sharing experiences and stories and seeking help even just by talking to others about it is very important when it comes to helping and healing.

    Ridden by guilt and shame as an Al-Anoner I found peace and happiness in a Buddhist meditation center and find the people there to be healthier than anywhere else as ALL feelings are met with compassion and love versus guilt and shame. I love being in the solution and helping those around me by just helping spread the message these days about tools Iearned like meditation and loving kindness practices.

    I am so glad you speak up about health issues and also politics! Thanks for sharing all that you share. I forwarded the link to your blog to my close friend who also has MS and is too afraid to speak up about it as she fears she is going to loose more than just her health every day. Fear can be just as paralyzing.

    Warm regards,

    • Richard M. Cohen November 22, 2013 at 11:04 am #

      Thank you very much. This community is wonderful.

      My very best,

    • Richard M. Cohen November 22, 2013 at 3:38 pm #

      I agree. MS is a mind game. Tell your friend not to let it beat her.