I was watching a video about MS the other night and the subject mentioned that we all fall down sometimes.
“Not me,” I cleverly thought to myself. “I’m just going to be careful and hold onto the railings.”
Naturally, I fell the next morning. Twisted my ankle at the bottom of the back stairs. I considered including a photo of my ankle, but it just looks like an unrecognizable pink balloon, so I’m sharing a view of my treacherous stairs instead.
As I’ve said before, this is not my first time falling. I’ve slipped on ice, tripped on tree roots, and fallen for no reason at all. I usually fall when I’m running, but I’ve done it walking, too. I’ve fallen in anonymous places (the unnamed Atlanta neighborhood behind my old office) and famous ones (Grand Central Station). I tripped once on Memorial Bridge in Washington, D.C., then suavely got up and pretended to be admiring the view while assessing myself for broken limbs. (I’m sure all the people stuck in bumper to bumper traffic were fooled.)
The first time I fell as an adult was very late one Christmas Eve sometime in the 90s. My sister was dropping me off at our parents’ house, and when I disappeared between the hedges I could hear her laughing all the way from the car. Because, guess what: it’s funny. There’s a reason that pratfalls are a comedy staple. It’s just funny. I’ve always talked about my own falls in that light — I certainly see humor in it, and I’m fine with everyone else seeing it as well.
I’m not convinced that all of my tumbles have been a result of MS, but the reality is that MS has surely been a factor at least in some of them. And, unfortunately, that’s not funny. Now it’s just weird, a little scary, and upsetting. As one friend put it, “Clumsy was so much more fun.”
So, whether this or future falls are caused by MS or not (and believe me, I’ve given that a lot of thought in the last 24 hours), I guess I’m going to have to find some new stories.
But I hope my family and friends will — over time — be willing to see some humor in even the tough things. MS isn’t funny, but life is funny, and having a disease doesn’t change that. Some of my best moments in the past month have been with friends who are willing to laugh despite the overall awfulness. I look forward to many more of those moments.
(But I really will be holding tightly to those railings.)