My wires shorted out

I was asked to describe Multiple Sclerosis for the hundred millionth time yesterday. After being asked so many times, I’ve become fairly good at judging whether a person requires a detailed medical response or not. Most of the time, a simple explanation is what I end up sharing.

My explanation of Multiple Sclerosis goes something like this…

The nerves in my brain and spine are much like the wires in someone’s house. Imagine that a hungry, never before seen creature, finds those wires nicely tucked away in the walls and decides to have a midnight snack. This monster starts chewing on the wires for no reason in particular other than the fact that they are there…and apparently really tasty.

As the wires become exposed, frayed and broken, the lights in the living room begin to flicker, the refrigerator stops working altogether and a small fire starts in the laundry room. Then, if that wasn’t enough, the creature invites all his friends over and now there’s an entire herd of crazy wire eating creatures munching away.

Sometimes you find ways, some pretty creative ways, of keeping them rounded up and contained. That doesn’t mean they won’t find a way out of your makeshift blockade, but it does give you a chance to enjoy a bit of peace and quiet away from the daily fight. To this day you have yet to find any rodent traps or poison that stops their frenzied appetite.

Over time you come to the realization that you are stuck living in a broken-wired home along with the damage those wires cause. And since you only get one house to live in, the damage can easily become overwhelming, not to mention expensive, and nearly impossible to duct tape together. Yet no matter how inconvenient, uncomfortable or faulty your house becomes, you do the best you can with what you have. You learn to adapt. You have no other choice.

It’s not your fault, or anyone’s else’s for that matter, that the creatures found a way into your house. They could find a way into Fort Knox if they wanted to. They are the problem, not you. And until a way is found to rid the world of those terrible, menacing, wire-eating fiends, anyone’s house has the possibility of being attacked.

That’s why I check under my bed and in the closets each night before I go to bed. Last time I found one of those buggers hiding behind the shower curtain.

MS Gets on My NervesMS WarriorMS Superhero  

About the Author
About the Author
Penelope Conway

Penelope Conway
Penelope started Positive Living with MS as a way to help others with MS stay positive in the midst of a terrible disease. She believes that staying positive and holding onto hope is the key to waking up each morning with the strength to get through the day. Multiple Sclerosis may never go away, but neither will her determination and her drive to help others through the journey.

33 replies
    • Geraldine Lowrey says:

      I trip and stumble – a lot – so when people look at me and think I’m tipsy, I usually say,” It’s a new dance move. When I come back into the room, I’ll expect you to repeat it for me.” That usually gets a laugh. I once met some people at an event, very talkative, nice people. When one asked where I work, what I do, I replied, “I don’t work. I have MS.” You could hear that pin drop. You’d think I said, “I will die before your eyes within 20 seconds”. I don’t think many people know enough about MS, or if they do, they are uncomfortable when faced with someone who has it. There is a Polish saying (I’m Polish) translated it means, “Not my circus, not my monkeys”, not my problem. I deal with it (or not!) ’cause it is what it is. Stay healthy!

  1. Davida Fine says:

    One of my biggest problems is fatigue, and most people just turn round and say I’m just lazy! I want to smack those people. But even if you try explain MS to them, they will never fully understand what it is like living with MS.

    • Geraldine Lowrey says:

      I find that only people with MS truly understand what fatigue is like. I have relatives (my husband’s family) who are great, but once in a while I say I’m fatigued and the “younger” ones will say they know what it’s like. “Oh, no you don’t!!” my mind screams out, but I just smile. I don’t know everything about what it’s like to have cancer, or RA, or Crohn’s disease, etc. so I imagine that’s what it’s like for those who don’t know MS firsthand. After 40 years living with MS, I might be mellowing – but not enough to stop fighting against this crazy disease! Davida Fine, you have fatigue? I know what you mean! (Our inside joke.) Stay strong and healthy!

    • Davida Fine says:

      Thank you, your words give me hope! I’m only very recently diagnosed, but examining my past I have come to believe that I have had MS for at least 10 years. Thankfully I am a very positive and optimistic person, so I will never give in, and I will never surrender. Again, thank you.

  2. Rodger Ashton-Smith
    Rodger Ashton-Smith says:

    A fine description of MS from you that is close to the mark. It is a pity that there is no ‘electrician’ that can fix our ‘wiring’ out.

  3. Jana Morgan
    Jana Morgan says:

    What would I do without your wonderful articles? Absolutely brilliant. Keep up the hard work as I smile when I see your email coming in.

  4. Wendy
    Wendy says:

    I can hear the conversation over the holidays
    Wendy what is M S ?
    Love your explanation
    Gonna use it …beauty !

  5. MaggieH
    MaggieH says:

    Love your explanation, although the best technical one I ever heard came from an auto mechanic with MS. He said: Imagine an automobile. The computer in the car is connected to the working parts of the car by wires wrapped in plastic insulation.. MS is the process whereby that insulation gets broken down. When that happens the messages passing down the wires get diminished or lost, or sometimes the wire might crosstalk. The result of all this is that the computer (read: Brain) can no longer communicate properly with car (body).

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