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The Ups and Downs of MS

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,


This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • skcullers
    4 years ago

    Be soooooo careful. Fell and broke my hip 2 years ago. I am now extra mindful. Find I have to talk to myself:” Step down with bad leg, step up with good leg.” Amazing isn’t it that we forget all the time how impacted we are but falling is not something I can ever allow myself to do again.

  • Laura Kolaczkowski author
    4 years ago

    i am always so careful that’s why this momentary lack of judgement was worthy of discussing out loud. Glad you have healed and hope you have no repeats -Laura

  • AllisonJo
    4 years ago

    I have always been a klutz. I was kicked out of ballet lessons at age 9 because I was hopeless without the barre. My family called me “Twinkle Toes” due to my lack of grace, so I get it.

    The difference between being a bit of an oaf, to a bit of an oaf with MS is, for me, the ability to at least try to right myself. There doesn’t seem to be that opportunity now…that last chance to grab back equalibrium and save my poor knees from yet another blow. And I wonder if our cognitive thinking, or lack thereof comes into this as well….you thinking you could make those steps with two cups of coffee in your hands, me getting out of my car without putting it in “park”. Yep. That really happened. Threw me to the ground where I watched my car, driverless, go on down the road.

    My bruised legs have decided to stop healing….they have given up on me and remain black and blue until the next fall.

    Falling just sucks.

  • Laura Kolaczkowski author
    4 years ago

    My mother’s favorite story of me was the wanted to keep me back in kindergarten because I couldn’t bounce a ball. Nevermind all the non-physical things I could do. at least they didn’t kick me out. PARK is the position that starts with P just in case the Cog fog returns again. 🙂 Thanks for sharing that – Laura

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