Staying Upright

Morning can be a particularly challenging time when my brain struggles to find my feet. You know there is a lot of territory to cover down my central nervous system superhighway, the spinal cord, and there is a lot of complex signaling to be done to create the right movement. I have heard from other people with MS that when first arising from bed, it takes a while to reconnect with their limbs, too. Fortunately for me my arms have not been affected by the MS and are available to help me maneuver through the early part of the day while I try to find my feet. There are three moves in particular that keep me upright and I’m pretty sure you might use one or more of these yourself.

While most of the world is obsessed with the latest episode of Star Wars and the Skywalker family, I rely on my own talents and become a wall-walker. My left-hand instinctively rises, as if guided by some faraway force of the galaxy, and touches the wall in the hallway as I make my way to the kitchen. If my halls were a bit more narrow I would probably use both arms to guide me, but my reach isn’t quite long enough so one hand must do. The touch of the wall allows me to remain upright and move forward. I know many wall-walkers, and their techniques vary but we are united in the need to use the touch.

If being Laura Wall-walker isn’t an option without a wall close by, I can revert to an ancient physical technique – surfing. Both arms go up and out to the front or sides and move almost in a flapping motion, to assist me in remaining balanced on my feet. Tilting left, right or even forward or back, my arms move as if I am about to hang 10 on the pipeline in Hawaii, so that I stay up on my feet. If I yell kowabunga, dude! it helps to make it more fun to be surfing in my bedroom in Ohio. The surf’s up often on days when my brain is slow to talk to my feet. If only there were the sound of the waves crashing to the shore instead of the sounds I make bouncing off things as I make my way.

Ultimately, if wall-walking and surfing don’t work, my body might resort to one of my favorite past times from my college days when I would hang out and play pinball. Who needs to drop a quarter in a slot to bounce a ball around when my body might ping around on its own, bouncing along from side to side, and object to object as I try to maneuver to a particular target?

Whether I am wall-walking, surfing or bouncing harder than a steel pinball, maintaining a straight and upright course with MS can be a challenge. You might recognize your own self in some of these moves I’ve described and no matter what you need to do and how you do it, I hope you also remain upright.

Wishing you well,

Laura

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