Sunday, June 7, 2009

Strike Up the Band

"Arise, and do not be afraid."
--Matt 17:7

Today in Portland the world famous Rose Festival Parade takes place. Sant Louis has gone downtown with Roy. I myself am content to experience the thing secondhand.

It is raining, as usual. In 55 years, I think the day of the parade has never been sunny. It's some sort of jinx. All these Oregonians standing on the sidewalks in the rain, unwittingly starving for vitamin D, growing MS in our central nervous systems like dry rot in wet kitchen corners.

Gee, that was an unpleasant sort of thought, yes?

Yesterday I happened to be sitting quite a while in a hard sort of chair, a chair with a wooden seat, reading Jojimbo, a comic book in the Indonesian language, when I noticed that my legs had by and by gone all but dead, but for a sort of thrumming feeling, if you know what I mean.

Now I don't know if this was related to MS, or to sitting in a hard chair, or to sitting in an awkward position, or to sitting too long, but whatever it was from, it afforded an opportunity to experience in a purely physical sense what it would be like to lose ones ability to walk.

Feeling (or rather not feeling) is much more complete than imagination when it comes to things like this. This loss of proper sensation and function is not paralysis, but it is the next closest thing, and I suddenly understood what it is about MS that puts people into wheelchairs.

It is not that you cannot walk at all, it is just that doing so, even from one end of the house to the other, would take hours and eventually result in multiple injuries.

Well, eventually my legs returned to normal--normal for me, that is--more of a low level, manageable sort of thrumming, and I was glad to be stumbling about at my baseline. It was almost like being perfectly healthy. It is all relative, you see.

And I had learned something, experientially, such that my appreciation in real time had deepened.

MS, after all, is all about learning, right?

Yeah right. Sure it is.

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