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“Do You REALLY Need That Cane?”

So, today at work, as I was leaving at 7 am, (I do the overnight shifts sitting at a Front Desk of a condo, because that’s all I can really manage to do nowadays), my boss is coming in, and he actually sort of sneers at me, and says, “Do you REALLY need that cane? I’ve seen you walking without it.” I proceeded to tell him that, “Yes, I can walk some without it, and once in a while I forget, and do, but my neurologist has told me I’m an idiot for thinking I don’t need it, and not using it. He’s scared I’ll end up falling and breaking something.” You see, balance has become quite an issue for me.

What I really wanted to say to him was, “Do you REALLY use that brain? Because I heard you talking without it.”

Fatigue is my constant enemy

Now, I’m new to MS, diagnosed at age 59, only 9 months ago, though I obviously had been suffering for the last few years without knowing it. I went from being a theater techie, climbing ladders and hanging lights, etc., for the last 40+ years, to now, barely managing to sit at a desk for eight hours, 5 nights a week, and say hello to the 2 or 3 people that might come and go. Fatigue is my constant enemy.

Am I a victim of discrimination because of MS?

But, please… am I a victim of discrimination because of my MS? Should his comment truly disturb me, (as much as it has), or am I being oversensitive? I asked him if he knew anything about MS, and he said no. I tried teaching him some about my fatigue, and how I think it’s pretty amazing that I have NEVER missed ONE DAY in THREE YEARS at this job, even with my MS. He wasn’t interested at all, and actually told me to stop feeling sorry for myself. This is the first time I’ve had stuff which I consider so unbelievably, incredibly crass, said to me. And by my boss, no less! Your thoughts?

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.


  • Kim Dolce moderator
    4 days ago

    @utopianj, you aren’t being overly sensitive, sweetie, you had a normal emotional reaction to a callous, mean remark. Your response was great; it wasn’t defensive, merely informative. You attempted to enlighten him about how MS affects you, which I would have done (and have in similar circumstances), hoping it somehow tunnels through the cynicism.

    But we often hit brick walls with people and walk away with icky unresolved feelings. I deal with this by going to my safe place–home, alone, where I can go inside myself, and start shaking it off.

    First I scream at whatever moron upset me and say the things I didn’t say when it happened. Then I tell myself how well I’m doing, how happy and well-adjusted I really am. Doing this counteracts the lies the morons tell us about ourselves, i.e., it’s his perception that you feel sorry for yourself, not reality.

    Sometimes I call my sister if I’m really upset and tell her what happened. I know she’ll come through with love and support, and it helps.

    Finally, I always use these experiences as opportunities to sharpen my game. I think about other ways to respond to such unpleasant remarks so I’m better prepared and therefore less vulnerable next time. Being caught off guard is what upsets us.

    Thank you for sharing this experience, it’ll help people feel less alone with their own painful interactions. –Best, Kim, moderator

  • UtopianJ author
    3 days ago

    Thank you SO much. I truly appreciate your response. It is very obvious that he went home and thought about the conversation, because he has been walking on eggshells around me since then. I guess if I taught him something, then I can put up with his inanity that day

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