I have always been a loud sneezer so I've had plenty of practice coping with the noise, however, a recent sneeze was not only loud but so violent that it rendered me virtually unable to do anything but lie in bed for days. I had foolishly smirked at a friend a few months ago when a sneeze had done the same to him. He only came good after some intense remedial massage and numerous chiropractic appointments. It just seemed so preposterous and unlikely and yes, humorous, but I quickly changed my tune when I experienced it for myself. For the first couple of days, I couldn't even contemplate the idea of getting into the car to visit the chiropractor. The pain in my neck was bad enough transferring from the bed to my wheelchair and then on to the toilet and back again.
I already try to take stock of what I can do and appreciate what I have but it's so easy to overlook these in the general hustle and bustle of just getting through the day. In amongst all the life maintenance of meal preparation, cleaning, washing, household chores and well, just living, I do try to focus on the tiny positives. Rather than regret the fact that I can no longer walk around my house at all, I say to myself "Hey, look at me: I can stand up from Ugly Betty (my wheelchair) and do some dishes as long as I have the bench to lean against." Tomorrow, I might not be able to stand up at all.
The good habit of not taking things for granted requires practice, particularly when in our western society we expect and feel entitled to so much. Lying in bed, unable to move my head from side to side without great pain, I realized that I had not been practicing this for a little while and resolved to get this good habit back on track. I thought about all the things, big and small, that I had to be grateful for: my husband, my son, my extended family and friends, food and drink, a comfortable bed, a safe home, access to medicine. The list was endless. Over the next few days, my neck and back improved and I could face the drive to the chiropractor who did a few corrections that gave immediate relief.
Now that I am back to 'normal', I am still trying hard not to take anything for granted. The sometimes progressive and often unpredictable nature of the ms monster is what makes this a priority for me. Today I was able to get down onto the floor and do some stretches and get back into Ugly Betty without assistance; I watered my plants outside; I put clothes in the washing machine and dryer; I made coffees for my husband and sandwiches for my son; I wrote this blog entry; I had no pain in my neck and I concluded that all these seemingly trivial and mundane little victories are not to be sneezed at.