Thursday, April 19, 2012

Post 49 - Friends & Family: The Best Medicine

I usually fill these pages with information about how I try to cope with the symptoms of MSA and the various ways I deal with day-to-day challenges. This post will be somewhat different because I recently underwent an experience that proved to have some unique results.

I guess I’ve been feeling sorry for myself lately because of the all-around deterioration in my condition. Life in a wheelchair, difficulty having oneself understood, and being dependent on others for just about everything, can really “bum you out.” Now add to that the fact that another birthday (my 68th) had come was making me feel a little depressed.

Fran must have sensed my change in mood because, along with everything she has taken on, she planned a surprise birthday party for me. Well, not really a surprise. To answer my questions about why all the party goods and extra foodstuffs were suddenly appearing in our pantry, she told me a few neighbors and friends were going to help me celebrate – nothing special. Imagine my surprise when I was wheeled into our clubhouse to find 35 friends and relatives – some of whom I haven’t seen for years.

What a sure way to shed the blues! I spent most of the evening talking with everyone in attendance – some of whom travelled from as far away as New York. I noticed as the night went on that my voice became stronger and easier to understand. I was even able to eat the delicious paella without the usual throat constriction.

So what did I learn? First, Fran can sure throw a party, especially one that is therapeutic, as well. Next, the Fenoy/Baldwin families can sure make outstanding paella, along with a bunch of tasty appetizers. Then, who knew our guests would make so many incredible desserts. Nobody left this party hungry! Lastly, many thanks go to Fran and everyone who shared this wonderful evening either by attending or by sending one of the many birthday cards or electronic greetings.

I should also say that the days of feeling sorry for myself are over. How can I feel down when I realize that so many wonderful friends and relatives are always there to lend support?

As I told everyone that night, when I blew out my candle, “This was my best birthday ever. What say we do it again next year?”

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