The Ups and Downs of MS

It was early this morning when I woke and came down stairs. I soon fell back to sleep in my chair, and when I woke my husband was in the room with me and I could smell he had made a fresh pot of coffee. I offered to get us both a cup and I slowly made my way to the kitchen. Everything I do when I first wake involves the word 'slow.'

Our family room has a two-step rise to get to the kitchen – this can present a small hazard so we wisely had a small grab bar installed a few years back. Both of us tend to use that bar for support when we come in and out of the room.

Something in me today instilled a false sense of security or I lost my common sense, and although normally I will carry one cup of coffee at a time, this morning I decided to carry both mugs of hot java back to our family room. I imagine you are already picturing the scenario – I step down one step and then place my foot on the family room level and something went awry. Instead of my feet moving forward, my balance shifted back.

It all happened in slow motion - as I was going down I declared aloud to my husband ‘I am going to fall’ and then I did! I not so graciously plopped myself down on the step and fell backwards, all while holding these two cups of coffee. Somehow I managed to keep the cups upright and only splashed about half of their contents onto me and the surrounding floor. Thankfully our coffee pot does not brew liquids to scalding temperature, and while I was bathed in hot coffee, I did not burn myself. But my cheeks may be bruised from the not so graceful deposit on the floor.

So when I check in the next time with my neurologist and I am asked – ‘have you had any falls since your last visit?’ I will hesitate and then decide if this is a noteworthy event or if it was rather just poor judgment on my part. What made me think I could do this is beyond me but carrying two cups of anything down one step should not be quite the challenge it turned into.

I’ve written about this thought before, but it is worth repeating – even though it would be easy to do, I can’t blame everything on my multiple sclerosis. Sure, studies show that people with MS fall more often than people without MS, but was that the case for me? I would say more likely my fall came from my poor judgment of thinking I could do something a bit more and I pushed beyond my limit. But why did I think that I could do more?

It’s tough and humbling to say I’m just a klutz and misjudged and mis-stepped, but it’s well proven that executive function (making the right decisions) can be affected by multiple sclerosis, so for the time being perhaps I can still pass the blame and say my MS made me do it after all.

Wishing you well,


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