Friday, August 18, 2006

Journal: Assigning homework

I went out for tacos the other day. Mom lives on the other side of town, but we don't see a whole lot of each other, and this is a source of worry and insecurity for Mom.

My relationship with Mom has been dodgy since I was 12 or so, and getting MS hasn't helped. I know she's worried about me and genuinely want to help, but the time I spend with her exhausts and frustrates me. We seem to spend our time together either talking about how I'm feeling or about our dysfunctional relationship.

Here's the gist of our conversation at the taco place:

Mom: Mmmm. This is really good, isn't it?
Me: Yeah, the smoked pork is wonderful.
Mom (making exaggerated eye contact, with great sympathy): So how have you been feeling lately?
Me (hoping to get this part over quickly): I've been feeling pretty tired and weak, but that comes with the territory.
Mom (eyes moistening): So what does your neurologist say when you tell him that? Is there anything he can do for you?

At this point, I begin a short lecture about the various drugs I'm taking, about treatments that affect the natural history of the disease versus treatments aimed at symptom management, etc. And I sound a little exasperated, and my eyes wander over the old album covers that decorate the walls, and then I excuse myself to use the restroom. Where I have a rather good idea.

On the way home, I tell Mom that when she gets back from her trip to Budapest, I'm going to give her a book about MS, and I think she needs to read it, because I feel like she still doesn't understand the basics about MS, and it's a little frustrating to me that 13 years into my illness she hasn't taken the time to learn that stuff. And I tell her that when I was first diagnosed, I read absolutely everything I could about MS, that it was a minor obsession, that it was empowering to learn as much as I could because there was so much uncertainty involved in the disease itself.

Mom says that she thinks it is a fine idea, and that for the first five years after I got sick, she couldn't bear to read anything about MS, which is hard for me to understand, but okay, whatever.

I wonder what book I should give her.

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1 comment:

Jaime said...

I am sorry to hear of your strained relationship with your mother. Although I have a pretty good relationship with my mother, I can relate in regards to talking about mom just doesn't seem to want to hear about it. It is not that she does not is difficult for her because she feels so helpless, like she should be able to do something to take it all away...only she can't. I am not sure if this is what your mother went through, but maybe that was a part of it?

I think giving your mom a book is a great idea. Maybe if she learns more about the illness then she can become a bit more comfortable with the reality of the illness (acceptance). I wish you the best and hope things go well for you in the future.

Take care,