Superman

I slipped on the banana peel and landed with my head in an extremely odd place. It was difficult to see, ironic because my detour into darkness caused the mishap in the first place. The maneuver did not feel right, and I am struggling to find my way back into the light. I think of myself as generally upbeat. Please chock this up to a bad week.
Actually, once you decide to illuminate a situation, the rest takes care of itself. Forays into despair can be your garden-variety self-indulgence. I tell myself that bathing in self-pity can be excused if you stand up and climb out of the tub frequently enough. Sounds a lot like letting yourself off the hook to me. I never have felt comfortable as a role model because I make it up as I go along and certainly do not hold the keys to the kingdom.
I wear vulnerability self-consciously. “You don’t tug on Superman’s cape, Jim Croce warned. And I do not cook with kryptonite. My superman complex is well controlled. My foibles and flaws are on display everyday. No reservation needed.

35 Responses to Superman

  1. Kelsi July 1, 2014 at 12:18 pm #

    Sorry you’ve had a bad week. I’ve been in that boat, too, recently. It sucks. But hey, it’s July. New month. New week. Maybe things will start looking up for you 🙂 Keep on keepin’ on. You may not like being called a role model, but to many you are. I admire you. You’re strength and wisdom most of all. I don’t struggle with MS, but mental illness is a roller coaster of its own. Don’t think I’m getting off anytime soon. So I always look forward to your posts no matter what. Hope today is better for you.

    Kelsi

    • Richard M. Cohen July 1, 2014 at 2:42 pm #

      Thanks for your support.

      Best,
      R.

  2. Jeff July 1, 2014 at 12:33 pm #

    I’ve shared this link on this blog before, so excuse me if I am “overdoing” it, but this is one I find myself continually going back to. When those bad days, weeks, months come along, it can be tough to be happy. But, as this post discusses, we can decide how to react to any situation. I particularly like this quote:

    “We carry within us all that we need to be happy despite the chaos ricocheting around us, and if we can only learn to listen to these inner whispers we can undertake the necessary steps to create our own contented reality.”

    http://www.wheelchairkamikaze.com/2009/10/footprints-and-shadows-tao-of-ms.html

    • Richard M. Cohen July 1, 2014 at 2:44 pm #

      Thanks. Words of wisdom.

      R.

    • nancy s July 2, 2014 at 3:02 pm #

      Thank you, Jeff, for the web site. I especially liked “…my efforts to battle the

      illness are best born from tranquility and quiet determination, and not from the

      turmoil of desperation.” I’m trying.

  3. Linda Lazarus July 1, 2014 at 12:38 pm #

    I think those forays into the cave in our minds make us the truly interesting people we are. That’s my take on those times! Works for me..

    • Richard M. Cohen July 1, 2014 at 2:45 pm #

      I’ll buy that.

      R.

  4. Joan L July 1, 2014 at 1:11 pm #

    I was just made a comment last week that it has been over a year since I fell. Then yesterday with 100 plus heat/humidity index I slipped out of bed to the floor re injuring my shoulder which was just starting to feel better. (I have A/C but the atmosphere still affects me.) So I prefer Wonder Woman because I keep wondering what next!?! Here’s to a better day to all the MS superheroes! and thank you for providing a place to vent and hopefully, encourage.

    • Richard M. Cohen July 1, 2014 at 2:49 pm #

      Thanks. Please take care of yourself.

      R.

  5. David July 1, 2014 at 1:47 pm #

    I find that my greatest fear is that of the unknown.If I cant stand or walk today then what is my fate tomorrow?

    The chronically healthy might not see it yet but its where we are all the same.

    Nobody knows what tomorrow will bring

    We just think we fear what might happen next

    I like this Quote

    Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm
    ~Sir Winston Churchill~

    For you Richard, and all that gather here, I hope tomorrow is better than today

    • Richard M. Cohen July 1, 2014 at 2:50 pm #

      David-

      Thanks.

      R.

  6. Jack July 1, 2014 at 2:27 pm #

    I think I have always tried to be a problem solver. Years ago, when I could no longer move my right foot from the accelerator pedal to the brake, I got past my depression by adapting my van with a left-footed gas pedal. Later on, when I wasn’t even able to get into the passenger side with my paralyzed leg, I found a simple leg lifting device on the internet that does the trick. I’ve been wearing ugly shoes with Velcro closures for years: tying laces with one hand seemed impossible. Then I figured out how to secure one end of the lace so that I could make loops and pull them tight with my one good hand. I now wear nice shoes that I can put on without any assistance. I still get frustrated and depressed when I can’t do simple things (or when my body simply shuts down when I am in the middle of doing something). But, when I change my focus from the problem to the solution, The depression is defeated. Until the next time.

    • Richard M. Cohen July 1, 2014 at 2:52 pm #

      A large victory.

      R.

  7. Sandy July 1, 2014 at 3:56 pm #

    I am hoping to keep this short.

    I was never allowed to wallow. A higher power interrupted my first attempt and I recall it with humor whenever I try to wallow.

    On my way home from being diagnosed back in 98 I had to stop at a little grocery store after all, I am the mom, I make dinner, diagnosis or not. And that’s where I was set straight.

    I was walking across the parking lot still teary eyed mulling how much longer I would be able to do this myself and as I approached the front door I heard a “tap slide tap” It was a blind person with a cane making his way to the door. I said Hello and when we got inside I asked if he wanted a cart and he said “Yes, but dont help me with anything else I have learned to do this myself and I need to do it that way”. Okay, good to know.

    Once in the aisle again still in shock/fear and not really paying attn to where I am a woman says, “Can you hand me that can?” She is in a wheelchair and when she pulls close enough to the shelf to reach the can on the bottom shelf her chair blocks it. I smiled and helped her with that and another on a top shelf. We exchanged pleasantries and I wondered how long before that would be me. She is happy and makes it look easy.

    I make my way to the checkout where a pretty, no not just pretty, a gorgeous young college girl is working. I put my stuff down and she begins and chats pleasantly. Its then I notice that she has one half arm with just a small what should have been a thumb if nature had finished its work. She had a perfectly manicured thumb nail painted red and worked the cash register keyboard flawlessly with that little thumb.

    I smiled and as I picked up my bag and left the store I walked out to the sunny parking lot and looked up at the sky and said, “I get it”. There is always some one worse off than me. And here I had been shown three fine examples of it with each one happy, pleasant to strangers, and making the best of the hand they were dealt.

    I still wallow from time to time. But more often I try to put on a cape and be fearless. I step across the boundaries and get smacked down by my MS too. But I still step across every chance I get. A day of too much fun is worth spending the next day in bed. Anything my MS takes from me it takes by force. I give nothing away.

    • Yvonne July 2, 2014 at 1:32 pm #

      Sandy- That is my new go to battle chant “anything MS takes will be by force. I give NOTHING away without a fight”

      That’s why I love this blog you started Richard. Thanks Sandy, I needed that today

      • Jana July 2, 2014 at 6:30 pm #

        Ditto!

    • Richard M. Cohen July 3, 2014 at 7:43 am #

      We all wallow. And then we get up, even if we are goinmh to ne smacked down. Keep pushing.

      R.

  8. Sandy July 1, 2014 at 3:58 pm #

    Bold did not stay bold for the whole post!

  9. A.H. July 1, 2014 at 4:34 pm #

    Sandy July 1, 2014 at 3:56 pm #

    I am hoping to keep this short.

    I was never allowed to wallow. A higher power interrupted my first attempt and I recall it with humor whenever I try to wallow.

    On my way home from being diagnosed back in 98 I had to stop at a little grocery store after all, I am the mom, I make dinner, diagnosis or not. And that’s where I was set straight.

    I was walking across the parking lot still teary eyed mulling how much longer I would be able to do this myself and as I approached the front door I heard a “tap slide tap” It was a blind person with a cane making his way to the door. I said Hello and when we got inside I asked if he wanted a cart and he said “Yes, but dont help me with anything else I have learned to do this myself and I need to do it that way”. Okay, good to know.

    Once in the aisle again still in shock/fear and not really paying attn to where I am a woman says, “Can you hand me that can?” She is in a wheelchair and when she pulls close enough to the shelf to reach the can on the bottom shelf her chair blocks it. I smiled and helped her with that and another on a top shelf. We exchanged pleasantries and I wondered how long before that would be me. She is happy and makes it look easy.

    I make my way to the checkout where a pretty, no not just pretty, a gorgeous young college girl is working. I put my stuff down and she begins and chats pleasantly. Its then I notice that she has one half arm with just a small what should have been a thumb if nature had finished its work. She had a perfectly manicured thumb nail painted red and worked the cash register keyboard flawlessly with that little thumb.

    I smiled and as I picked up my bag and left the store I walked out to the sunny parking lot and looked up at the sky and said, “I get it”. There is always some one worse off than me. And here I had been shown three fine examples of it with each one happy, pleasant to strangers, and making the best of the hand they were dealt.

    I still wallow from time to time. But more often I try to put on a cape and be fearless. I step across the boundaries and get smacked down by my MS too. But I still step across every chance I get. A day of too much fun is worth spending the next day in bed. Anything my MS takes from me it takes by force. I give nothing away.

  10. Geof July 2, 2014 at 7:15 am #

    What in comes to wallowing in self pitty, I made a deal with myself after being dumped by a college GF. For three days I muttered and was barely civil to anyone around me. On the third day, I stopped at a 7-11 on my way home from soccer practice, and I said a little prayer, “God if you are as sick of hearing me whine and complain as I am of thinking the same thoughts, let me win.”

    With that, I went in, bought a big gulp and a one dollar lottery ticket. As I scratched off the ticket, I realized I won…two dollars. I had to laugh. “What’s that God? Would you please speak a little louder next time.”

    Since then, I have adopted a two day rule. I allow myself to be surly, annoyed and otherwise put out for two days, but after that, it is time to get up and start living. Usually I do not need more than an hour before I have thought all I will think about a subject. So by the end of two days, I am usually a bit bored by repeating the same curses and wishes. So, two days is enough for me.

    As for Superman, I am the anti-superman. The yellow sun weakens me. In any event, don’t knock yourself down right after you climb out of the tub. “Why do we all fall down? So we can learn to get back up.” – rough quote from Carl Sagan in Contact

    • Richard M. Cohen July 3, 2014 at 7:45 am #

      Sagan was correct.

      R.

  11. Nik July 2, 2014 at 3:11 pm #

    Have been waiting a new post. This humidity is killing me. Or is it the humidity? Is it my freshly new, not 100% sure diagnosis of MS? Either way, I am on the couch in a heap of myself I don’t understand. Scaring my family who needs to leave me to go to work. I’m so over this already and it’s only been 17 days. Btw, when do these steriods start to help? Arghhhhh!

    Ps. admired you long before I started this journey Richarnd M. Cohen.

    • Sandy July 2, 2014 at 8:10 pm #

      Nik,
      First let me quote the great Groucho Marx when he said “I dont want to be a member of any club that would have someone like me for a member.” I think he was talking about MS! With that said, welcome to the club.

      You really need to find a way to stay cool. Either an air conditioner or a cool bath. I never felt better on the steroids. Maybe others did but I didn’t. Its one of those meds that is supposed to reduce the nerve damage so you have to pretty much take it on faith that whatever damage was going to be caused by your attack will be reduced because of the steroids.

      Also, there are blogs for the newly diagnosed that you may also wanna post to since they are going through your same challenges in real time. Here is one http://myownmsjourney.blogspot.com/.

      And finally, stay strong and don’t be afraid. MS can and will take a lot from you but don’t let it make you a person who lives in fear.

      Sandy

      • Terri July 2, 2014 at 9:18 pm #

        Hey Richard,

        Haven’t ‘talked’ to you in a while.

        Don’t be hard on yourself -the damn MS is hard enough on you already. Lord knows I’m royally pissed about it, every minute of every day, from bed to wheelchair to lift to wheelchair again. And so it goes.

        Even so, the MS, the equipment, the stress, the falls — all of it — isn’t who we are. You are Richard M. Cohen, first and foremost. Ergo, you are smart, creative, passionate, funny, interesting, scathing, and brutally honest, while coping with a ton of hassles. Even if you’re mean to The Dog, you’ve got a very large cheering section (including me). ; )

        Be careful where you’re going, okay? The banana peel should’ve been in the garbage, not in your path. Not your fault, and you have every right to indulge in a bit o’ fury and complaining. I wouldn’t be a good sport, either, and I’m not as nice a guy as you…

        My infusion is a week from Friday. See you on the other side?

        Best as always to you and yours,
        Terri

    • Richard M. Cohen July 3, 2014 at 7:48 am #

      Nik-

      Give it time. Think, then think some more. What do you want badly enough to make it happen? You will get there.

      R.

  12. Terri July 2, 2014 at 9:26 pm #

    Good grief, what happened to my bold print? Does the code have to bookend every para? I’ll try again (pasted from above):

    Hey Richard,

    Haven’t ‘talked’ to you in a while.

    Don’t be hard on yourself -the damn MS is hard enough on you already. Lord knows I’m royally pissed about it, every minute of every day, from bed to wheelchair to lift to wheelchair again. And so it goes.

    Even so, the MS, the equipment, the stress, the falls — all of it — isn’t who we are. You are Richard M. Cohen, first and foremost. Ergo, you are smart, creative, passionate, funny, interesting, scathing, and brutally honest, while coping with a ton of hassles. Even if you’re mean to The Dog, you’ve got a very large cheering section (including me). ; )

    Be careful where you’re going, okay? The banana peel should’ve been in the garbage, not in your path. Not your fault, and you have every right to indulge in a bit o’ fury and complaining. I wouldn’t be a good sport, either, and I’m not as nice a guy as you…

    My infusion is a week from Friday. See you on the other side

    Best as always to you and yours,
    Terri

    • Richard M. Cohen July 3, 2014 at 7:51 am #

      Best of luck.

      R.

  13. Terri July 2, 2014 at 9:30 pm #

    yup, every paragraph needs the bold print code, for anyone reading this

    Here’s the link again, in case others need it and lost it in the shuffle (bold code is the second one on the list – it’s very simple to enter, not scary at all, lol): http://www.simplehtmlguide.com/text.php

  14. Aaron Fischman July 2, 2014 at 9:37 pm #

    I too had a spill a month ago, tripping over my own two feet landing head-first into a cabinet door in the kitchen. I did not freak out and managed to calm my daughter who was in the room with me and started the day after cleaning up. After an hour when the bleeding did not stop I went to the ER and got 13 staples in my head, leaving to the moniker ‘Franken-Hubby’ and ‘Franken-Daddy’. Thankfully I am better, but the humor does help..

    • Yvonne July 2, 2014 at 11:18 pm #

      Ok. I win this weeks most ridiculously hysterical fall award. I fell in the bathroom coming out of the shower, into the toilet and broke my fall by grabbing the tank as I tried to keep myself from busting my head on the seat. Good news no stitches as my maneuver worked. Bad news, I broke the tank on impact. So I created my own indoor slip and slide as I tried to get myself upright. We all have these challenges but what I like about this group, we dust off and keep it moving. Bruised, pissed, embarrassed but not broken because that’s part of the absurdity of MS. If you can just get back up, you’re happy 🙂

      • Yvonne July 2, 2014 at 11:36 pm #

        Footnote: I live in an apt and had to call maintenance and explain what happened. The look on his face as I tried to explain MS and how it all happened was ;-0

    • Richard M. Cohen July 3, 2014 at 7:53 am #

      Frank-

      Try to save your diving for the pool.

      Best,
      R.

  15. Christopher July 3, 2014 at 1:19 am #

    I slip on those damn things even when I see ’em coming from a mile away.

    It’s amazing the things that come out of my mouth after that… spend a thousand Sundays in hell wracked with guilt and misanthropy. But I think it’s the headaches caused by my anus cutting off the blood supply to my brain that hurts the most.

    • Richard M. Cohen July 3, 2014 at 7:55 am #

      That is an excellent trick. Any circus in the land should be proud to have you.

      Best,
      R.

  16. Sarah July 4, 2014 at 11:04 am #

    You all crack me up. I’m so grateful for every single post. I never feel alone when I read your comments. Tanks for the memories, as crappy and hilarious as they are, except for when they’re actually happening and when we have to recover from them. Like Richard once said, ‘screw MS’.