In the fall of 2009 I had what I consider my first official MS fall—almost four years to the day of my first relapse. Now I’d had falls before, but they were “planned” falls, where I knew my hosed legs weren’t going to get me far enough—the resulting teetering crash and burns were wholly expected. And the “falls” were more collapses of exhaustion than true face plants. But this one fall, it was as if a gremlin reached out and grabbed my left leg. I clunked down in such dramatic fashion that Humpty himself would have been proud. I surveyed my splayed-out body for damage—conveniently located on the living room floor instead of, say, the parking lot of Wal-Mart—and it appeared I had escaped unscathed. Not even a rug burn from the berber carpet.
But strange, my left toenail had a white stripe on it. Huh, I thought. I wiggled my toe, no problems there. I wiggled my toenail, and it LIFTED UP LIKE THE HATCHBACK ON A SUBARU OUTBACK. Okay, problems there. I promptly “closed” my toenail and secured it with a band aid. No major damage so no biggie, right? It would have been no biggie, only for the fact that I was leaving on a dream (and long-promised) escape to Italy with my lovely wife Laura… in three days. And I didn’t know it at the time, but I was entering into an MSer’s perfect storm of a vacation: a toe injury, an undetected urinary tract infection, and a surprise fresh relapse that was not yet in full force—to, of all places, a country with more steps, more cobblestones, and more toilets lacking toilet seats than I had ever experienced. But it’s all good. Because oh boy did it give me some exciting future blog fodder!
Bottom line: Falls are going to happen with multiple sclerosis. There’s no way around it. Some of us might fall once every blue moon, others as often as a full moon (and half moon, quarter moon, sliver of a moon, new moon, ha!). Don’t let it get you down. Dust off, get up, and move on!
Originally published October 31, 2009. Edited for clarity.