The weekend is upon us once again, and for my family it usually entails a junior boys’ league basketball game. We’re not a family of sports fanatics. We don’t eagerly wait for any type of playoff, and there is not a specific athlete that we adore. Well, there is one, the youngest member of the family, my 10 year old son. We like him. We’re his biggest fans. The number of spectators present at his junior basketball games is not as large as a college or pro game, but there are a lot of people to dodge or who pass us as we make our way to the game court.
I have Multiple Sclerosis, and imbalance as I walk is one of my symptoms. I am a fast walker by nature, but I am susceptible to tripping, falling, spraining an ankle or worse. One time, I was briskly walking around my neighborhood park. I did not trip over an object nor was I dizzy, but I fell anyway, reason unknown. I extended my hand to break my fall, and ended up fracturing a bone. I was in a cast for 3 months, incapable of writing on the classroom whiteboard as I taught and unable to drive. It was not the first time that I’ve broken a bone due to a fall, but it took many injuries to realize that I need to slow down. Yet, the cost of decreasing my walking speed is that my kids and husband perceive me as being a naturally slow walker. If only they understood that movement at a snail like pace is a strategy to avoid more broken bones. Decades before MS was a known character in my life story, I injured myself by accidently stubbing my foot against a metal book shelf in my rush to get to class. I broke a bone then also. And for reasons I do not understand, I have sprained my ankles many times as I power walk for exercise. This evident clumsiness baffled a younger me, although I now surmise that it may have been a sign of MS pre diagnosis. I may not be the most coordinated person, but I was on competitive sports teams when I was in junior high. I took dance lessons for 9 years of my young life, from 5-14 years of age. I did have some athletic ability. And yes, I do recognize that “athletic me” was a pre-MS me. My propensity for injury characterizes me now, whether or not MS is the cause.
Granted, the tripping and falling did teach me to slow down as I walk, but nowadays I often get left behind by my family. If I walk at a quick pace, I run the risk of hurting myself. When I am being cautious, my family leaves me behind. There is no way to win.