I’m a bit of an Ann Romney fan, but here’s a portion of her story about multiple sclerosis from her new website:
I was talking to my brother Jim on the crisp autumn day when I realized something was wrong. After we talked, I got up from the chair and attempted to walk to the kitchen. It was one of those moments I’d examine in the weeks to come, looking for clues as to whether there was anything unusual about the motion – whether I stood too quickly or suddenly – because as soon as I got out of the chair, I felt unsteady. I’m not sure I even recognized I was falling over, until I almost hit the wall.
Everyone loses balance sometimes. Had it been an isolated incident, I probably wouldn’t have given it much thought. But as I made my way back to the chair, other odd instances came to mind. For example, over the past few weeks, I tripped when I ran up the stairs. Of course, I’d maneuvered those steps a thousand times but lately, my feet didn’t know where they were landing, like the staircase was some new invention and not a familiar part of a house we’d inhabited for years. Plus, the grip in my right hand seemed unsteady and a little shaky, like I was facing my seventieth birthday instead of my fiftieth. I didn’t want to think about what could be wrong, but I sat back down into the chair with a thud and – a heavy nagging feeling.
I’m sure everyone’s picked up a gallon of milk in the refrigerator and – not realizing it was nearly empty – hit the jug on the roof of the fridge. Well, that afternoon when I reached for a glass sitting on the counter, I had the opposite sensation. Instead of feeling too much strength, my arm suddenly – and surprisingly – had too little.
I’ve always been athletic – I played tennis, skied, and jogged pretty frequently – so the weakness in my arm caused me to dial my brother for the second time that day.
“Something’s wrong, Jim,” I said. “I don’t know what it is, but I’m getting a little scared.” He listened to my story without a word, then asked what I thought were random questions about – of all things — my eyesight.
“Do you have vision blurred at all?”
“Pain when you move your eyes?”
“Are colors still as vivid as normal?”
“Do you have a blind spot?”
Although he seemed relieved at my answers, he prodded away and I detected fear in Jim’s voice on the other end of the line.
“Ann,” he said. “You really ought to see a neurologist.”
It’s hard to listen to a man who used to pull my hair and tell everyone on the bus I smelled like a barn. But something about the long pause, pregnant with unspoken emotion, got my attention. I didn’t understand why I should go see a neurologist, but I followed his advice, and I was concerned enough to take Mitt with me.
Read the rest of the story here.