Hi again from the MUlitple SCLEerosis blogger, I truly hope that whatever your health situation that you managed to have either a fair, a good, or fantastic Christmas time. My heart and prayers go out to anybody reading this blog that did not have a good break because of any reason.


Being the eternal optimist (which REALLY annoys some people!) We have to keep on keeping on. Sometimes when I’m feeling rubbish I have to give myself a good kick up the backside! I know, I know that is impossible on 2 counts.

1 I couldn’t even do that even when I could stand up.

2 Now I’m in a wheelchair I have extra difficulties completing this self-flagellation because even if I WAS able to do it before, I would hurt my ankles on the footplate's of my wheelchair. I’ll call it a metaphor. Job done.


Anyway, time to talk about a VERY edgy and upsetting aspect of MS. Not wheelchairs, not Motability, not cognitive difficulties. This subject seems to affect ALL people affected by or NOT affected by MS, cerebral palsy, stroke, etc. etc. etc.

We are strangled, verbally, by politically correct LANGUAGE.

Descriptive words used by those not affected personally by a disabling illness puts them in an exceptionally precarious position. It is as if there is a PC noose around their necks standing a wobbly stool waiting for a verbal faux pas to kick the stool from under their feet. I’m now over 60 yrs old and was brought up in a particularly non-PC time.

The 1960s and 1970s have a lot to answer for.

In the school playground, we could be heard at our cruellest by shouting abuse at kids with callipers on the legs with words that now could get one expelled from school, parents called in to see the headmaster/mistress and quite rightly torn off a strip.

This is NOT the type of ‘PC’ language I am talking about.

Nowadays, quite often I am in full discussion talking about a range of subjects; computers, a particular hobby or a range of non-contentious subjects. All of a sudden the person I am chatting to becomes silent, their face turns a bright pink or their eyes cross and I think that they are either going to pass out or are trying hard not to pass wind.

After this happened a few times with different people I realised that they were not going to pass out or the ‘other thing’ but were actually trying so hard to find an adjective to describe me or an adverb to alter a phrase which included my disability so that it didn’t hurt my feelings!  Nowadays I will throw in a TOTALLY non-PC word to help them out of the imaginary verbal quagmire and to put them at ease.

Sometimes I am rewarded by an embarrassed giggle, sometimes with a ‘thank you’ and even sometimes by my acquaintance saying something like ‘but I CAN’T say that! I give them the permission to do so and in the majority of situations they relax and we can then carry on our conversation without embarrassing pauses.

Lesson 3

Next time you are chatting with someone and wish to allow the conversation to flow, it may be worth trying to get rid of PC (political correctness) and replacing it with RC (relaxed conversation).

If you are talking to someone with any type of disability be sensitive to them but be honest to the point of asking if a particular word is OK to use. Ask THEM for their thoughts on which words are acceptable and then talk to them and RELAX


CLIFFHANGER


Come on, keep up! I went to the doctors feeling pleased that he’d missed me. I sat in the waiting room waiting to have my name called, head held high feeling sorry for all of the waiting room minions who had probably waited a whole week for their appointment.

I was called to see my doctor and we had a 1-minute chat about work etc. Next he asked me to describe the various symptoms I had experienced over my recent history again to him. I did this and then he sat there and told me that he had a colleague he would like me to see at the local hospital. It was to have an MRI scan. WOW! 20 years ago they were a rare occurrence but hey, I’d never had on so accepted his kind invitation to experience something new and which to me sounded exciting.


I waited eagerly for my appointment and 5 days later it arrived in the post. So we drove over to Frimley Hospital and parked the car. It had become even MORE exciting because of the instructions for preparation of an MRI scan included removing ALL metallic or magnetic objects, electronic equipment such as watches and bank credit and debit cards prior to having the MRI.


When I had done as much of this preparation including my wedding ring whilst in the car. Then we alighted from the car and walked towards the MRI unit. I was so excited that I didn’t see the 4” tall metal post sticking out of the car park perimeter tarmac and I tripped up over it.I landed on my knees and hands. When I looked at my hands to see if I had hurt my wrists etc. I realised that my left-hand ring finger (minus wedding ring – phew!) was at 90 degrees to my other fingers on my left hand. It is only when you see something like that which is totally out of place (literally) that the pain kicks in. I said to my lovely other ¾s ‘ooh that smarts #$%^#’ so we changed direction from MRI unit to the A&E dept.


More contentious observations and more ‘Day in the life of Harper’ soon

TTFN



NOT POLITICALLY CORRECT

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