Kerry's blog - my little machine
Kerry is 29 years old and was diagnosed in 2005.
"I refer to my body as 'My Little Machine'. Think of it this way ... take a car for example. Imagine you treat it badly by putting in the wrong fuel, neglecting to pay attention to the little details (like that faulty indicator switch) and ignoring the silent pleas for attention as you continue to drive it in to the ground. You get the idea - 'places to go, things to do'. These days there's simply "not enough time" for taking proper care of these "annoying" intricacies, right?
If we're lucky, a quick service and a little bit of TLC will work wonders on your motor, and you're back on the road again in no time. But imagine you've been driving carelessly for quite a while, putting the wrong fuel in - or even worse, driving on 'near-empty', and just 'making do' with that faulty indicator switch. A typical case of "ignore it and it will go away"? Hmm, not so. Before long a major service is inevitable. And I'm not just talking about a minor oil change ... I'm talking about one of those "big jobs" which, according to your mechanic (or neurologist, as the case may be), "may take some time"?
Now my body is certainly no Volvo... and I'm not saying that we should all be resigned to the scrapyard when our bodies no longer co-operate! However, in the past 6 months I have had two quite worrying relapses, which really put things in to perspective for me. Both relapses involved me having to literally drag my legs around, and my entire right side becoming so limp that I could no longer even hold a pen (bearing in mind that walking and writing are two of my most favourite things, this hit me very hard).
The problem was that I ignored the warning signs and pushed on through. I was "too busy" to address my sporadic eating patterns, non-existent exercise routine, and the draining workaholic mentality I was gradually becoming accustomed to. I chose to ignore the fact that I have MS ... 'denial', if you will. I put it all down to a little bit of 'tiredness'. But my 'Little Machine' had a message for me that would not be ignored ... until eventually I was forced back in to first gear.
Listening to the Little Machine
During my hospital stays I was astonished to see just how distanced some people are from their bodies' needs, especially the women with whom I shared a ward. It was non-stop tap-tapping on their mobile phones and laptops, endless phone calls about meetings and deadlines, stressing about (surely) irrelevant things as they slurped their soup. I sat in silence as I toyed with this logic in my head. Weren't we all there because we were sick and needed rest? Why they couldn't switch off their gadgets and temporarily shut out the stress was beyond me!
In my opinion, if you find yourself in a hospital bed wearing a plastic wristband with your name on it, you should pretty much take that as a sign that your 'Little Machine' needs some special attention. Of course, we don't live in a fairytale and it's sometimes difficult to find the time to really slow down ... but isn't your health more important? After all, without it the rest wouldn't mean a thing.
Recently I have made a conscious effort to improve my diet, rest when I need to, and generally listen to and respect my body more. Now I'm more positive than ever knowing that I'm doing the best for my health ... and one thing's for sure, if my 'Little Machine' is happy, I'm happy."