Thursday, May 10, 2012

Men! Men! Men! There's no one here but men!

Last night I attended a meeting of the MS Men's group in Albany.  There were about 15 of us in a room, and all of us were somewhere on the chain of Multiple Sclerosis.  We ran the gamut from guys who could walk, talk and move like "normal" people to others using walkers, wheelchairs, and having aphasia, making communication burdensome for them, but they kept at it.

Rule One of Men's Group - don't talk about Men's Group.

Rule Two - It's more important what a person says than how long it takes him to say it.

Rule Three - There is no cure, so we are what we are, where we are, doing the best we can, until we can't.

Rule Four - We all agree that having MS does not make you a babe magnet.

Rule Five - Python's Ministry of Silly Walks has got nothing on us.

I never really had a group of "guys", you know, like you see on television?  They all gather at a local pub, diner, and have witty repartee that someone else writes and gives them.  Plus they solve the problem of the week in less than 25 minutes.  I was thinking what it might be like if a group of guys with MS might be like in such as situation....

Sit com guys  (Age 20-30, amazingly employed and living in large apartments in NYC [or version thereof], always finding a parking space, and drinking generic beer, or actually just having the beer in front of them)

MS guys (Age 50 or so, maybe married or not, lucky if they can still work, find a handicapped parking space that is anywhere near where you want to be, and careful of drinking anything that will result in yet another pill interaction or more frequent urination.)

Enter lovely redhead, slim and attractive, going to the bar on her own.  Both groups stop.  Each selects their representative.  They approach.

Sit com guy:  "Hey, I know you just got here, but I thought you would find it a lost night without a ride in my Beemer. You'll never be lost again."


MS guy: "My car just got a brand new lift in it. Yeah.  Soft and comfy.  Room for five, as long as everyone sits in the back and you don't mind if you drive.  Free ride on the ramp, if you'd like. Up and down, up and down."

Sit com guy:  "My Beemer goes zero to sixty in seven seconds."
MS guy:  "I go from zero to sixty in sixty... years."

Sit com guy: "I've come over from my table to offer you a night of thrills."
MS guy: "I've come over from my table to....uh....wait, I know it. Came over here for something. "
Sit com guy: "You came over to get your beer bottle. Right there, buddy."
MS guy: "Oh, yeah right.  Well, be on my way. Nice talking to you, if I was talking to you."

Sit com girl:  "Hang on, fella. I just came in because I forgot my cane last night. Right there.  Thank you, barkeep.  Now where can a RRMS gal go with a PPMS guy?"

MS guy (with wry smile): "Like I said, free rides."

The couple departs.  Sit com guy says....."But she looked so normal." Audience laughs, applauds, and credits run.

The Men's Group are a bunch of guys sharing hopes, fears, information, and togetherness in facing a scary disease.  This disease is of course Yankee fans.  The group divides itself along the usual male lines of Red Sox or Yankees.  When there's nothing else to talk about, there's always that.  Let's go Red Sox!   Bobby V. understands what its like to talk to authority figures and have your wishes ignored (like MS patients and their doctors.. not all the time, but...)

Why is this man smiling?

It is an honor to share some time with these good men who are always reaching out to the MS community, bringing experts in to inform and enlighten, and listening to all.  Also nice brownies.  The fun is watching us go get the brownies.  You'd think we had MS or something.

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