We are nearly a decade on since getting rid of our television. It’s not that we don’t still watch a bit of entertainment via laptops and the like. It’s just that we made a conscious decision to get rid of the big black screen in our house.
Between the cost of streaming services and my waning technical abilities and understanding, I’d say that I’m well behind the curve of cultural relevance when it comes to what’s hot and what’s not.
There was one program, however, that we did enjoy watching a while back for a number of reasons.
How the Afterlife (on TV, Anyway) Might Resemble Life With MS
The Good Place, on NBC, was one of those programs that took me a few episodes to warm to, and then I was hooked.
An unlikable main character (to begin with, at least) and what at first seemed to be a trite and overdone plotline soon had me pausing to make notes and looking up philosophers the program referenced. That, and laughing out loud, which isn’t something I often do at television programs, drew me in.
I’ll not get into the deepest of details about the program other than to say that it’s about a group of people in an afterlife scenario trying to become better people. During the process they get to wondering about a timeline conundrum between life on earth and the place they now exist.
Stick with me here.
While life on earth (we’ll call it “normal” life) moves forward in a straight line from past to future, the timeline in their after-existence follows a more circuitous pattern. It doubles back, loops around on itself, and looks like the name Jeremy Bearimy in cursive English.
MS Symptoms Have a Way of Coming Around Again
Difficult to explain to most people, perhaps, but for people living with multiple sclerosis (MS), it’s a pretty good description of how we come to deal with reoccurring aspects of the disease.
We get used to one MS symptom and — early on in our disease, at least — that symptom may fade away after a few weeks or months. Then along comes a summer heat wave, and we’re reliving old symptoms, thanks to a pseudoexacerbation (sometimes called a pseudo-relapse).
Another morning you wake up and find yourself grieving some aspect of life MS took out of the playbook years ago.
Life with MS is seldom a straight-line experience.
The Pandemic Has Looped Me Back in Some Ways
Once again, I find myself realizing how the lack of in-person connection brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has left me feeling alone in my experience with MS. Before, it was easy to meet up for a coffee and chat with others about our shared (though often quite different) experiences.
Once there were regular meetings or meetups. Over these past couple of years, however, that level of connection had been put on hold for most and lost altogether for some. It’s a difficult new normal we’re all trying to navigate.
It’s another example of our lives folding back on themselves for those of us who went from a solitary existence with MS to being part of a thriving community of others trying to get on as best we could.
We continue to move ourselves through this wandering timeline of MS as best we can. We get up in the morning and try to be active participants in our days. We contribute to our communities in whatever ways we can. But sometimes we still wonder how it is that we ended up in the places we have and how we’ll get from today to next week with multiple sclerosis bending our lives back on themselves without much warning.
It's a case of always forward but seldom straight.
Wishing you and your family the best of health.