I woke up this morning, and my right hand was completely dead. I mean like this dead tumor hanging off the end of my arm. Like a skin tag. No feeling — no sensation — and my mind was screaming something about writing. How am I going to write? The only way I could tell that I had my right hand is I could see it.

I looked at my hand and willed it to move. There was nothing at first; then after what seemed to be many long moments — movement. I still have not breathed a sigh of relief. I can only think of what’s to come. My right hand is dying. This movement is a fleeting respite. In what will seem like a split second, it will simply stop responding to my commands to operate.

I’ve lost my legs twice. The best description I could come to is it was like air between my hips and the floor. I mean, like, nothing there. So my torso was hanging in the air. Gravity took over and CRASH; I met the floor in a terrible fashion. That had happened four times before I ground to the conclusion I had to lie in bed and not stand. So I suppose you could say I’ve lost my legs five times. It’s just that I count that one episode with it’s four terrifying crashes in one day as once. That was in 2012. I lost my legs again at the beginning of this year. Each time I drove myself to walk again. Multiple Sclerosis relented and allowed me movement. But she’s a beast and doesn’t have to do so.
Each time my legs have come back to life, they’ve been worse. I am this side of a wheelchair. But I push to walk. I don’t want to give it up. Walking, I mean. Any distance is hard. You probably look down a long hallway and don’t even blink. I feel trepidation. Getting from point A to point B is a conundrum. Will I make it without hitting the floor?

My hitting the floor bothers the able-bodied more than it bothers me. People believe people don’t belong on the floor. Think about it. You’re walking along, and you see a living, breathing person prostrate on the floor. Horrors. I feel I have to comfort people. I tell them, The floor and I are friends.

I am between Neurologists, so I called my primary care physician. I was crying. She said a magic word — FLARE. MS can flare up and die down. In my extreme panic, the word didn’t even light up inside my mind. Hope trickled in.

But the truth of the matter is: if this morning was not the end of my right hand, it is the beginning of the end. It has happened. My hand became a lump of bone and flesh protruding from the end of my arm. It will do so again. And some day it will do so forever.

Dying is difficult, and I am doing it a piece at a time. It is a lonely journey.

Copyright 2017 Joyce Bowen



About the Author: Joyce Bowen is a freelance writer and public speaker. Inquiries can be made at [email protected]
Sobre el autor: Joyce Bowen es un escritor independiente y orador público. Las consultas pueden hacerse en [email protected]

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