The Post That Never Was, or Male Shame

I had decided, this morning, that I would stop writing about my illness. I was getting bored with it, and it must have been awful for you.

!I am still stuck in the house and all that stuff, so I knew I wouldn’t be writing about the woods, or the flowers, or the birds. I have to face it . . . this autumn is going to pass me by.

The rugby World Cup is happening at the moment, and I have some amusing tales about rugby from my schooldays. I would write a post about rugby.

How off-piste and topical.

I would just walk to the end of the street before settling down to batter the keyboard. It was sunny, and the air smelled of earth. I opened the gate; I had exchanged my slippers for trainers. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but I was in training.

I took one careful step. That was all.

It was as though I had a phantom leftleg. It felt nothing as my weight shifted on to it. When my foot touched the ground there was nothing there. I had no bones or muscles or nerves or matter of any kind.

It was as if I had tried to stand on water.

As I fell, I kept my head up. I’ve learned to do that. One day . . . one fall . . . the technique will fail, or the fall will be too sudden, and that will be it. What an anti-climax to a life!

I lay on my back, head up and arms flailing, like a beetle from a Kafka tale. Only my right leg was putting up anything like a fight; the left had metamorphosed into a phantom jelly.

And then the indignity of not being able to get up, and the pathetic picture of a grown man kneeling on the ground and falling over, again and again, as though very drunk or as if battered by waves on a shoreline.

Which, in a way, I was.

On a shoreline, that is . . .

And then two neighbours gripped me from behind and lifted me to the gate. It feels humiliating, this kindness, although, of course, it’s not.

I thank them and reassure them, as they watch me stagger to the door. Why am I unable to look at them? There is something very primitive about shame, even when every step hurts. Through the bruises I smile and say I’m fine. I just need a cup of tea.

So my rugby World Cup post is usurped by my body, and I am left here wondering why I am writing what I write, and pondering a very scary future.



About stevehobsonauthor

I am blind, and I hate it. It stinks. But life is still sweet. I have multiple sclerosis, and that stinks too, but life is still sweet. These are my musings.
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5 Responses to The Post That Never Was, or Male Shame

  1. stephen says:

    i so appreciate this post, especially the thought that this kindness is humiliating. i had a fall, right in my bedroom, that required two emts to come to the house and pick me up. they were very kind, and we found humor, but having two big strong men see me as weak and powerless was difficult.


  2. “I had decided, this morning, that I would stop writing about my illness. I was getting bored with it, and it must have been awful for you.”

    Hasn’t been awful for me! Besides, one must distinguish between the usual amorphous kvetching about doctors visits and the reality of your experience of living with MS, which only you can describe with any specificity. Consider those who have recently been diagnosed or those who know someone with MS. They might find your blog of great interest. There’s nothing like accurate first hand descriptions, which are really rare on the internet, believe it or not. Doctors can’t tell people what it’s like. WebMD stinks. First hand accounts are actually a precious resource.

    I say this because I recently started looking for information on what it was like to have a stroke. (This was for my novel.) I googled, “What is it like to have a stroke?” Not much came up that was worth reading. I altered the google search. I googled and googled and I found very little information on the subjective experience of having a stroke. I ended up having to write the scene with a light touch on the medical aspects, which is not something I wanted to do.

    On the other hand, if you’re getting bored with it…I totally understand. I still have no diagnosis of whatever I have, and I’m so so so sick of telling people about it. Sometimes dwelling on it can make it difficult to move on. But please don’t feel you have to stop talking about it because you fear being boring or complaining.


    • There will be more on the scooter when I’m more used to it. It will be a steep learning curve with lots of frustration. But at least I went for a walk with Elisabeth in the sunshine today, and she didn’t have to push me and she coud walk at her natural speed.


      • That’s wonderful! I’m glad you got a good day in the sunshine.

        Steep learning curve on so many levels indeed…not to mention actually driving the thing. I can’t imagine. I know at my mom’s assisted living, people were constantly getting run over by those electric scooters. I tried to help a lady operate hers, but nearly went under the wheels myself. She assumed that since I’m young, I would automatically know what to do to make hers move at the right speed. I had to tell her I missed that techie train of my generation.


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