Super Sunday Post-Mortem

I’m writing this in the predawn hours  of that most hallowed of Sundays for sports fans  – the day of Super Bowl, when a large number of Americans (plus a few other pigskin enthusiasts around the world) gather to watch two teams battle for the title and those elusive Championship rings.  Granted a lot of us could not care less about the game, especially since it have been decades or maybe even never, since our own favorite teams have played in this spotlight. For many of us it is just another reason to get together with a few friends, eat and drink things that are usually not so healthy for us, and chuckle at some of the commercials and moan or ignore the rest of the multi-million dollar pitches created  to induce me to buy a particular car, snack or beer.

I have to admit I am an ad agency’s worst nightmare – I rarely watch commercials.  I have always had that uncanny ability to zone out when those ads come of the television, even if they are blaring extra loud to grab my attention.  Occasionally there will be a commercial promoting the latest, greatest something that grabs my attention  and I will comment to my husband about it; he just rolls his eyes and tells me again that it has been on the air for at least six months.  He’s gotten used to my super skill of ignoring commercials.

The latest Super Bowl tradition for me is I will be asleep in my chair or have gone to bed shortly after halftime, if  I make it that late.  I don’t expect tonight to be any different, even though I have a lot of friends from the Boston area who are rabid Patriots fans and others from the west coast who will be cheering on their Seahawks. Sadly, I used to be much more social and actually enjoy getting together with friends to eat, drink and sort of watch football and commercials, but not so much anymore.  Multiple sclerosis has been a game changer for me in so many ways.  I will start the evening at a Super Bowl party with friends but I will most probably find myself eyeing the door after a brief while and waiting to make my exit.

People will be talking, cheering and even yelling from various vantage points, whether around the television for the game, or in conversation with others.   It’s quite difficult  to filter all the sounds and focus on the ones directed to me.  After a while the sounds meld into one jumbled mess for me.

How many of us feel ourselves go on sensory overload?  I develop this internal twitching that I can only equate to my central nervous system being bombarded with too many stimuli at once.  It doesn’t have to be a super bowl gathering for this to happen to me – I also experience it at large family gatherings and other events where environmental cues are coming at me from multiple sources.

Even though I tell myself in advance that I won’t, I will probably still find myself having food and drink that makes me feel not  so good later, and although I can’t blame that side effect on MS,  it adds  to the  overall discomfort of this type of gathering.

The evening will be tiring, which is probably true for most people at these Super Bowl parties.  In addition to tiring, it often brings on MS fatigue, and I will find myself looking for a quiet spot to stop and rest a few moments.  Tiring and fatigue are two entirely different side effects and people with MS often get  knocked down with both.

The house will be full of people and will be warmer than my body adapts well to and I will find myself overheating, a definite problems for most of us with MS.  As the evening goes on, I will experience the slow drain of energy and my thoughts will turn toward heading home, or at least to the car where I can seek shelter and give my body a break.

I used to love to go to these gatherings and grab any occasion to celebrate, even for games that hold no interest to me.  Not so much these days, which to others who don’t live with MS might appear to be I have slipped into anti-social behavior. The morning news can tell me who won the football game, and Twitter, Facebook and other social media will light up with comments about the best and worst commercials. I can get my recap of the entire Super Bowl highlights in a few brief post-mortem moments.  Or at least enough so I can carry on bits of conversation at work about the big game. The truth is it takes too much to be a super fan or a super guest.

Wishing you well,

Laura

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