Not easy

It looked like he was walking under water. His frustration was obvious, the cause was not. They walked together toward the rescue, an attractive couple in their late twenties. She moved gracefully, taking her fluid movements for granted, as most of us do. He fought for every step he took. "What's wrong?" I asked when he finally made it to the truck and sat on the bench seat. "I can't move very well and my head feels heavy," he responded in a deadpan voice. "Do you have any pain, especially near the eyes?" "My left eye hurts and my vision is a little blurry," he answered me. "How long have you felt like this?" "This time, about two days. I'm worried it's getting worse." "Do you take any medications?" "Not now but I was taking copaxone until it made me sick." "Were the daily injections the problem or the medication itself." "I think it was the medication," he answered, interested in my questions now. "Have you tried Avonex or any of the other medications?" I asked. "I don't like the side effects." "When were you diagnosed?" I asked. "Two years ago. You are the first person other than my doctor who knows what I'm talking about," he told me. We talked during the trip to the hospital about his disease, Multiple Sclerosis. His frustration had more to do with being misunderstood than his symptoms. "My wife's family thinks I'm lazy. My friends think I should work out more. I think I'm going crazy," he told me. He was in the process of being hired as a Providence Police officer when his symptoms began. First he felt strange tingling sensations. Then pain in his eye and blurry vision. Next was the fatigue. That was the worst part, he said. "I can't do a thing without being exhausted. I feel like a burden to my wife. Thank God for her, she has been great." I did my best to give him something to be optimistic about but found it difficult to do. MS is a dreadful disease. His wife met us in the ER. I wished them well before going back to the truck, let them know that though it is a struggle, living with MS can bring them closer together. They appeared to have what it takes to survive the long, hard years ahead of them. As we drove away from the ER I called Cheryl, my wife and asked how she was feeling.

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