Thursday, July 28, 2016

Candidates dizzy? So are some voters

The medical folks say that my rare disease has no cure, and the most promising candidate for president has not yet promised to cure it. The experts say there may be no more than 25,000 of us in the United States. We may not be numerous, but we are dizzy enough to make a valuable voting bloc.

Multiple System Atrophy (MSA) is a homeless ailment that settles itself in the brain like a TV cable company, deciding what its host will see and not see. It gives its victim the diminished animation known as a poker face, but adds a clumsiness that betrays a poker hand. It often wipes out sweating, like an underarm spray that just kept going.

MSA usually appears when a person is in the 50’s. It takes time to diagnose, so there may be some confusion about the precise starting time. One study says that the median survival time after diagnosis is nine years, but another records more than 20 years. If I had my way, both party platforms would call for a higher minimum age.

MSA apparently strikes at random, like the referee at a political debate. It is not contagious and it is not inherited from parents, no matter how goofy they may seem. The doctors say it is progressive. It advances fast in some cases, slowly in others. I am one of the lucky ones, having been labeled slow poke by my mom. Since my diagnosis 14 years ago I’ve become a rollator navigator, learned how to unchoke, how to tumble, how to use the TV captions on all of the shows because all of the performers have started to mumble.

The days slow down, and I enjoy them. The new math is hard to figure, but 24 hours feels like 48, while I spend 24 hours doing what I used to do in 12. I have less time for Facebook and making cards. I’m still here, still in love with family and friends and the Eternal. No big deal. No sweat!

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