I was reminded of my woeful mobility late last night when my darling son, who likes to come in my room and list off the many worries that are keeping him awake, asked me what we would do if a volcano erupted near our house. As far as I’m aware the nearest active volcano is over a thousand miles away in Italy and the last time a volcano erupted in Britain was some 55 million years ago. But that wasn’t quite enough to reassure my son, who went on to say, “if a volcano erupted near our house, we would all have to run away, but you wouldn’t be able to run because you’ve got MS”. Let’s hope a volcano doesn’t suddenly decide to unleash its lava onto our house any time soon!
This is not the first time one of my children has unwittingly reminded me of the sorry state of my mobility. Indeed, by their very spirited nature, children act as a frequent reminder of all the things I can no longer do – their boundless energy is in such a stark contrast to my own restless, fatigued body.
To be honest, I’ve been feeling a little sorry for myself of late. Like everyone, I’m struggling with the restrictions of Lockdown. I yearn to get out, to feel free! But restrictions on travel mean that we are not allowed to drive anywhere, we can only walk as part of our daily exercise. Oh, how I wish I could go for a walk! I wish I could walk without my feet dragging along the ground. I wish I could walk without pain. I wish I could walk more than a few metres before my vision starts to blur and my legs give up under me.
Social media doesn’t help with all its pictures of people doing their daily walks or daily run and having their daily fun. Jealousy is an ugly trait. And yet I can’t help but scroll through it all and feel a tad envious – my frustration levels are through the roof! I’ve had MS long enough to know that my walking can never be what it once was – the damage is surely done. Why would I suddenly be able to go on mile-long walks, or indeed outrun a volcano, when I’ve spent the last 11 years trying, and failing, to walk a few yards without collapsing?
On top of this, the inactivity is starting to show. My son offered up another gem when he said, whilst trying to suppress a cheeky grin, “Mummy, when did you get a big belly?” Seriously.
When you add the torture of home-schooling to the mix you can see why things are a little taxing right now. I’ve taken to having afternoon rests to help me through the day. I’m never left alone for long, however. I’m usually inundated with requests for snacks and a rich assortment of other demands that threaten to spoil my down time and my crossword puzzles, including this little convo I had with my 5 year old daughter.
Daughter: “Mummy, why do we have to live?”
Daughter: “Why do we live?”
I’ll be honest, I didn’t have the energy or the resources to contemplate the meaning of life at that point, and my copy of ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ is hidden away somewhere in an unpacked box from our last move. Instead, I simply covered my face in my hands and let out a silent scream.