Sunday, September 11, 2005

Journal: What is the opposite of an Ironman?

It's still pretty early in the day, but just trying to get some stuff done around the house has me completely tuckered out. It's an indoor day today, hot like a furnace outside, so I've got a little list of odd jobs I meant to get through: hang a picture, make up a batch of hummus, tidy up the kitchen, etc. Now it's 2:30 pm, and I'm slumped in my chair. My legs are positively humming with that electric-charge, overheated feeling, and a trip to the bathroom--god, again already--means heaving myself up and lurching down the hallway like a drunk.

Monday is bearing down on me already. For the last couple months, I've been struggling to find the motivation or energy or panic-induced adrenaline to buckle down and get stuff done. This next week is looking like it could be really difficult even if I do finally get religion and get to work.

Even as I sit here stewing, our town is hosting a real live Ironman triathalon event. This morning, a bunch of people decided it would be a good idea to swim 2.4 miles around the lake, bicycle 112 miles, and then run a marathon. The newspaper ran a story about a woman diagnosed with MS in 1998 who will be competing:

As MS took a toll on her legs and vision, Carey Stillman found herself going through an intense psychological process. First came grief and denial. Then came anger. Then came enlightenment.

"I think a lot of people get this diagnosis and curl up in a ball," she said. "They let it take control of them, when they should take control of it."

If I was a more determined person, if I'd been less of a pessimist, if I had eaten more Wheaties and drank less beer, could I have been running marathons today? Could I have, by force of will, transformed myself and my life into an inspiring story of one man's refusal to give in to a crippling illess, a story ripe for a TV docudrama in which I am portrayed by Anthony Edwards (not a bad match, but maybe someone with a little more sex appeal)?

1 comment:

Beth said...

Comments like Stillman's bother me. It is very prideful to assume that her ability to run has to do with her determination when it could be due to a very mild case of MS. Isn't there a large range of types of symptoms and severity?

I find it irritating when people try to compare their perceived health problems with yours. They assume they have experienced exactly what you have, they are just tougher and don't complain as much.

I have problems with fatigue. When I tell people their reaction is, "I'm tired a lot too". I have learned to respond by explaining what I call fatigue: being almost unable to stand up and walk around to the point where I don't get up to eat and can barely get up to use the bathroom.

People think they are being sympathetic, when in reality they are being prideful.