When people find out that Debbie has MS they respond in a few different ways. “I’m sorry” is the number one response, which is of course the the most obvious reply to anyone with an illness. I say this myself when someone says they are sick and I always feel that sorry is inadequate. I wish there was a magic word to express how I really felt. A word that says, that’s terrible, I wish I could help you, come here let me hug you. I think I will invent it one day.
The next comment “is there anything I can do”, “I mean anything” now this one can mean several different things. The first is They feel sorry for you and they don’t know what to say. Or it can mean they will help. Over the years I have responded to this one by asking people to help by taking Debbie out for a few hours. Now lots of people say they will do this, they arrange times they say when they will call but come the day they are busy and we never hear again. I’m not mad about this, people have busy lives and I don’t expect them to give up time but they asked. This has been friends and family over the years and I really don’t mind. It’s now too difficult for Debbie to be taken out and she can’t drink anyway.
The next is oh my mum/aunt had MS but the reason it hasn’t effected her that much is she has a positive attitude. This is the most hurtful of all the comments. They may as well say oh Debbie’s worse because she didn’t prey in the right way. Debbie was one of the most positive people that I know after being diagnosed, to say that she is worse because of attitude does infuriate me. How MS effects you is how it decides to effect you. It’s not magic wands etc. Being healthy can reduce symptoms but if it decides to fuck you …your fucked.