counting my blessings

i sit in my little cube all day at work, and think that when i get home tonight, i’ll write something in my blog. i don’t know what that will be, but it gives me something to look forward to. then i get home, feeling strung out not only from work (i am a csr, answering the phone, taking orders from customers. it is difficult being tired, and having to say and listen to the same things all day long, and occasionally get abused by some angry rich lady, and every time i answer the phone, having to be cheerful. i have had customers say i sound like i’ve had a hard day.), and strung out from the ritalin (which is really just speed) that i have to take to stay sharp and attentive, and strung out from the whole-body effort of driving my car (i am going for an evaluation in a few weeks, the first step toward getting legal hand controls) – and i come in the door, and usualy go lie down until dinner, then watch the news, and then i usually am just too beat to do anything but maybe take a shower, lie in bed, read, and go to sleep.

so i sit down tonight (hoping i can stay up long enough to watch “the office”) to write something, tho i don’t know what it will be.

the other night, my wife and i were talking about the proceeds from her mother’s estate, and what we wanted to do with them. first we earmarked a bunch for our kids – college expenses, and such – and then some for the deck/patio we are adding on to the back of our house, and some for retirement accounts and investments. and then we talked about the biggest chunk, which will come from the sale of her house. we thought about putting it into stocks, or municipal bonds, or something like that. then my smart wife suggested maybe we should look into buying a condo in town, something we could rent, and eventually move into. we both agreed that we wanted to stay in our house at least until both kids were done with college, but we talked about the unpredictablity of my ms, and how, who knows, i might be “strapped to a board,” (my short-hand for the worst-case scenario) sooner than we think, and living in a two-story house (three if we count the basement, where my “office” is) might become a problem. having a place to go already in the works would make the transition so much easier. and with prices and interest rates so low these days, maybe investing in a condo might be a good idea.

which is a long winded way of saying that, as much as ms impacts my life, and changes the way i do things, and the way i look at my future, so too does it change my wife’s life, and the way she sees her future. for all we know, my ms might never get any worse than it is now, i might never need that wheelchair, and going upstairs might never be more than a bit of an effort. but we don’t know. i don’t know what i’m going to be faced with, and she doesn’t know what she’ll have to deal with.

it’s different for us in that i have no choice but to deal with whatever is thrown at me – as mobile as i am today or strapped to a board tomorrow. i’m stuck with this body. but she has a choice, when you come right down to it. she doesn’t have to live with ms. not that i think she’d leave me, but she has to choose every day to live with ms, or not. i don’t know if that makes it harder for her or not. i’m not sure that, knowing what i know, i’d choose to live with it.

so every day when i stagger in from the garage, i count my blessings that not only is she still here, but she greets me cheerfully, tells me to go rest, and makes me dinner. i am blessed that she chooses to stay.


Author: stephen

stephen harris is a writer, painter and a photographer who lives with his family in maine.

5 thoughts on “counting my blessings”

  1. That is lovely. To know that those around us actually do have a choice to continue living with MS, although we do not, and do so cheerfully is a great joy. Although my Sweetie and I are not yet married, we have traveled this MS journey together through many MRIs, steroids, and injections. He wasn’t in the picture when I went blind for two months back in 2000, but he witnessed the final diagnosis process and has stuck around. I don’t really know what the future holds, but I do know that it will be easier to handle not being alone.

    Brass and Ivory

  2. You’re one lucky dude! 🙂 I would think it might be harder to be the person w/o the disease, because they want to help and it probably pains our loved ones to see these things happening to us. I know my mom struggles a lot more with my having MS than I do; but she has the luxury of getting to sit around wondering what might happen, while I deal with it day in and day out. (It’s not that I don’t find it upsetting, but sitting around feeling sad about it doesn’t do me any good, either. Taking action is what helps me, I guess.)

    As someone said recently (I think it might have been you, but my memory is toast tonight), the hardest part about MS is the not knowing. Not knowing what to expect or when to expect it… I suspect it’s a lot easier to deal with the question marks knowing you have someone who will stick by you no matter what. Truly a blessing indeed.

  3. I know what you mean. My parents were never very fond of my husband, until he stayed by me during the worst of MS.

    His take? “Might as well hang around to see how it all turns out…”

  4. I sometimes still allow myself to feel bad about the extra work I make for my spouse. The pressures of having to keep a crappy job for good insurance and to have to do household chores after working all day at said crappy job. But he doesn’t complain…Guess I’m just projecting. It has brought about a deeper love and appreciation, and a better perspective on what really matters. Good post.

  5. I don’t consider living with the MS a choice. He’s my husband and he has MS (incidentally he had it when I married him so it’s not been sprung on me or anything) and loving him and living with him means I deal with the MS daily just like he does although both in very different ways I will admit. It’s not my legs giving out on me, or my memory that is shot, but it’s hard just the same watching these things happen to someone you love and my heart aches for him. But I can’t show him the depth of my feelings – the last thing he wants is pity. So I try to treat him as normal as possible, because that is how I’d want to be treated. Sure I’m not going to ask him to please go mow the lawn, and I’m not going to bitch at him for laying on the couch all day on Sunday, but I’m also not going to ask him if he’s okay everytime he staggers or almost falls, I am going to pretend I didn’t notice unless he actually falls and needs me.

    It’s a fine line between not doing enough and doing too much. And it’s hard to watch him go downhill. But I love him and the disease was part of the deal and a gamble I took in falling in love with him.

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