Thursday, April 28, 2011

Conversations with the disease

For those new to my blog, my mom has very severe Multiple Sclerosis. With that, one of the saddest things to lose is the ability to convert your thoughts into words. She knows exactly what she's meaning to say, but just can't get her mind and mouth to coordinate themselves into functioning properly. The result is usually a guessing game between myself and her, trying to figure out what point she was trying to make. The point is there, sometimes you just have to take a little journey with her to find out what it is.

This morning, I had one of those conversations that exactly illustrates this part of the disease. Right after I had it, I scrambled for a pen because I KNEW I had to share it. Word for word, this is what the dialogue (and most conversations with my mother) consisted of.

(Setting the scene, we're watching CNN's report of the tornado destruction in the south.)

Mom: What about that mountain up north?
Me: What mountain? Mount Rainier?
Mom: No.
Me: Mount St. Helens.
Mom: No.
Me: O...kay? There aren't any other mountains around here.
Mom: Where the building you visited was.
Me: The visitor center at Mount St. Helens?
Mom: No. Where you went to Girl Scout Camp.
Me: Um..I don't remember going to Girl Scout Camp.
Mom: No. Your dog. You named him after it.
Me: Okay, I have Vegas now, and then I had Savannah and Daytona.
Mom: Savannah, where she was named after.
Me: Savannah, Georgia? OH! (light bulb comes on) You're talking about the Juliette Gordon Low house, the founder of the Girl Scouts, where I visited when I went to Georgia?
Mom: Yes. Did it get tipped over?
Me: No, mom. I don't think that Savannah was one of the cities hit by the tornadoes.


  1. *Loves on you.* My uncle had MS as well, his never got to that point where he lost his ability to think, only his size and ability to walk. I'm always thinking about you and your mom and sending up a few ;-)

  2. Thank you for sharing this! I've been trying to follow everything that's going on w/your mom as best as I can, this piece is really beautiful in its own way. I'm so proud I know you.

  3. My aunt Linda who passed last summer had MS as well. she never quite lost her ability to find the words, but she lost the ability to control the muscles and speak them .She was and remains the strongest and most caring, loving soul I know and she inspires me even now to be true to myself and find strength in the hardest, darkest places. Thank you for sharing :)

  4. Wow. This post illustrates your point so well, so clearly. I'm so sorry for you both. It sounds simply awful. But I'm so glad she has you because, for now at least, you can help her find her words.


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