A serious tale


I’m sitting here, watching the cursor blink at me, waiting patiently for my input.

Blink, blink, blink.

The problem is, I’m not sure what to write. Oh, I know what I want to communicate to you – the message I want to say, the feelings I want to evoke. But how to say it; well, I just don’t know.

Over the years, I’ve had my share of creative writing teachers – both professional and amateur. I’d like to think some of that rubbed off. Judging by the fan mail I get, some people think I’ve got a bit of a knack. Then again, judging by the hate mail, I should be throwing myself off of a bridge right now, so who’s to say?

Whoops – sorry about that. I told myself that I would be serious when I write this article. The problem is, I’m very rarely serious in life. Hell, LIFE isn’t serious, so why on earth should I be?

Then again, sometimes it’s very, very serious… and that’s the root of my problem.

I’m facing a ‘serious’ problem now. One I can laugh about, make jokes about, tell humorous anecdotes about…but that won’t change. All the laughing in the world that I (and others) do won’t change it. Make it more bearable, sure – but it won’t change anything.

Sigh. Sure am beating around the bush, aren’t I?

Let me try again. Those of you who read this site on any regular basis know who Kwipette is. Those of you who have had the unpleasant experience to meet me in real life most likely know her, and know what she means to me. Anyone not knowing the lengths I go to for her, pop on over here and read the amount of insanity I pile upon this poor girl.

Kwipette is…well, she is everything. You know those sappy movies that come out that have the goofy hero that fights valiantly against overwhelming odds to save the woman he loves? Well, that’s who Kwipette is to me. There is no foe I wouldn’t face, no mountain I wouldn’t climb, no cheesy love song I wouldn’t quote from – all for her.

She is my everything. She’s the one that makes sure I wear my jacket when I go out on cold days, who makes sure I have tissues in my pocket, who balances our checkbook, who makes sure bills get paid on time, who makes sure I’m wearing pants when I leave the house…the list goes on and on. And I could too, but that wouldn’t really mean squat to you, because unless you have someone like that in your life, you won’t really understand. Even if you spend idle moments dreaming about a love like this, wishing for the perfect person to come in to your life, to be the inspiration behind every cheesy love song you’ve ever felt like dedicating to someone – until you’re actually face to face with that person, you just don’t realize. All of that and more. She’s the person that makes me willing to be disgustingly cutesy in front of my friends and not think the slightest thing of it.

Love. Bleh. I’m not one of those guys who claims he always said “I didn’t believe in love until…” But I am someone who didn’t know what love was going be like. It’s not some ridiculous feeling of bliss; it is not perpetual happiness to the exclusion of the rest of the world. If I had to sum up what I think this ‘Love’ is, I’d do it in one word: comfort. Kwipette is the first person I’ve ever felt truly comfortable with. All my hopes, dreams, fears (even the one about the squirrel driving the lawn mower) – I can share all of it with her. And what’s more, she understands. She not only listens, but actually talks to me about all of the things I tell her – tells me what she thinks of them, gives them all serious thought, asks questions…all of this and more. And she’s a robo-babe that doesn’t laugh when she sees me naked! Well, not much, anyway…

Sigh. I guess what I’m trying to do here is convey to you why I love her. Which is a pretty foolish concept, actually. I might as well try and tell you why Chubby Hubby is better than Chunky Monkey – my taste means nothing to you, nor is it the same. Which is a good thing; let’s face it, if Brad Pitt showed up at our door because he wanted Kwipette like I do, my ass would be booted out of here so fast my suitcase would have whiplash…

I know, you didn’t come here to read about how much I love Kwipette. And in truth, I didn’t intend to write about that. Well, not so much about that, at least. So what did I intend to write about? Well, normally writing is a way of venting for me – my confession, my catharsis – I pour all my anger/frustration/whatever out onto my pages, you come, read them, laugh at/with me, and I feel better. The issue is over, and I can let it go.

This isn’t really like that. Unfortunately. I won’t be shaking this demon now or any time soon, I suspect.

Kwipette, the love of my life, my angel, my goddess, my strength, was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.

A brief description of MS, from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s webpage:

Multiple sclerosis is a chronic, often disabling disease of the central nervous system. Symptoms may be mild such as numbness in the limbs or severe — paralysis or loss of vision.

That’s the short and sweet of it. But the longer version – well, I can’t do a good job of describing that. Check out the website for much better info than I can give you. The real pisser is that MS differs vastly from person to person – Kwipette can go the rest of her life never demonstrating severe symptoms, or she can be in a wheelchair next year. That’s the brutal, terrible truth. As much as I hate to admit it, as much as I hate to think about it, these are the discussions she and I have late at night, when we’re lying in bed, listening to the house settle.

I’m an optimist. You may not know it by the way I blather on in my rantings, but in truth, I believe in the best. I’m pretty arrogant, I suppose. I firmly believe that God digs me. He’s never let me down in the past, and I don’t believe he ever will in the future. Which is why this is so frustrating…

Had it been me diagnosed with the disease, well, I don’t how I would have felt. But it would have been a damn score better than I feel knowing that the most important person in the world has been diagnosed with it. That still makes me angry some nights.

Some nights when I’m lying in bed, unable to sleep, troubled by this that or the other – I think, “Why her?” I suppose everyone plays that game some time in their life. “Why did I have to get this ticket and not that asshole that’s been tailgating me for the past 8 miles?” “Why wasn’t I picked for that role?” “Why did my loved one have to be on that plane?” But it still just frustrates me. She is the kindest, most thoughtful person I’ve ever known… Mother Teresa seems like an uncaring slob next to her. Why her, dammit! Why not assholes like that stupid bitch who cut me off in traffic today, or that miserable bastard that holds up the grocery line arguing about the ten cent price difference in a can of tuna advertisement! Why HER, God? Why? Why not me?

And you hear about things like this. Misery and misfortune exists; I’ve never doubted that. But to suddenly be faced with it… Life becomes very, very different. Who here, among all of us, has not suffered? Who has not heard some tragic tale? Maybe some of you reading this even have MS or a loved one with it. Or worse – I have no doubt there are people much, much worse off.

But I’m me. This doesn’t happen in my life! I remember thinking that…so clearly, so solid in my conviction. It was unthinkable that tragedy – something this bad – would actually come this close to me. If it had been me diagnosed with the disease, that would be one thing – that would suck, too – but not as bad as this.

So now what? Every day, I read a little bit more about MS. Kwipette does, too. The days that are the worst are the days we go to bed and just hold each other, sniffling back tears. I remember the worst, most terrible shock to date for me was learning that JK Rowling’s mother died of MS – only ten years after being diagnosed (JK Rowling is the author of the Harry Potter books, for you unhip cats out there). That was a hard night. I lay awake for a long time that night, just listening to Kwipette breath next to me, stirring softly in her sleep. I lay there, pretending to sleep until she actually feel asleep, and just stroked her hair. And thought. Lordy, but do I think a lot before falling asleep lately.

Oh, I know it’s not the end of the world. I know there’s hope. There’s treatments, therapy, etc. Right now, Kwipette takes a drug called Beta Seron (at least, I think that’s how it’s spelled). Every other night, before bed, I usually prepare her injection and administer it. It’s not so bad – not a huge needle or a great deal of medicine. But the bruises that sometimes form around her injection spots…or when it hurts going in – sometimes the medicine really burns going in. When it does, she grits her teeth, screws her eyes shut, and I know this is a ‘bad one.’ She never admits it, of course. She knows that I know, but she won’t admit it. She hates ‘inconveniencing’ me. I live for her, but she hates making things difficult for me – as if she could.

Sometimes we talk about our fears. The worst case scenarios – I suppose those talks aren’t what shrinks would call ‘healthy,’ but we do anyway. She talks about her fear of not being able to walk up the aisle when we get married, or not being able to have children, or not being able to properly care for them – or, this is what she hates the most, the thought of being a ‘burden’ to me. How she could ever think that, I don’t know. I suppose if the situation were reversed, I would think the same thing. But I share her fears – and more. These are the worst things that could come to pass, and we don’t focus on them. But we do think about them, and talk about them, and hold each other, and cry about them. Not for very long, because it is difficult for me to be that serious for that long.

I’d lie if I said I didn’t fear taking care of her. But not that she’d ever be a ‘burden’ – I’m just terrified of someone having to actually, REALLY depend on me. It’s the same fear I have about children. It’s the same fear I have about being an adult, I suppose. Sometime, at some point – someone will be depending totally on me. And that scares me. It scares me very badly.

See, Kwipette takes care of me. I would be totally, utterly, blindly lost if not for her. I don’t know how the hell I made it out of bed every morning before I met her, but nowadays if she’s not there to remind me not to put the knife in the toaster, my ass would be charcoal. And she remembers things – birthdays, anniversaries, holidays – anything important, she remembers it.

One of the ways that MS affects its victims is mentally. I’m already damn near brain-dead. I depend on her to remember things for me, to remind me of important things coming up (“Yes, dear, this IS Monday, and you DO have to get up for work.”). All of that, and so much more. She can go to the grocery store, without a list, and in one trip will have the house fully stocked. Whereas I will leave the house, and not only forget the shopping list, but I’ll forget to go to the damn store altogether and wind up coming home with a video, proud of myself. So the thought of her loosing her mental facilities scares me. Sometimes, now, it affects her. She forgets what she was talking about, or get confused, or is much more impatient trying to figure something out than she ever was. And it terrifies me that this might only be the beginning.

Sooooooo…pretty big sob story, huh? I’m not professing to be worse off than anyone. In fact, day to day, I’m pretty damn happy. I’ve got the love of a beautiful, wonderful woman, money in the bank, food on the table, and usually I remember to put my pants on before leaving the house.

But see, I’ve always wanted to be a hero. I’ve always wanted to be great at something. To date, I have yet to accomplish that. During the Invasion of Panama, my greatest accomplishment was loosing my helmet. And I didn’t get an award for that – can you believe that? I had to pay for it and everything… But I yearn to do something great. And that’s where you come in to play.

I’m not gonna beat around the bush: I want your money. Oh, I’d love to get it myself, but I’d just waste it on Ben & Jerry’s and video games. What I’d like you to do is to click here. That’ll take you to my pledge sheet for the upcoming MS Walk Kwipette and I will be partaking in (ooooh, and you even get to see my REAL name). Let’s face it: even if you donate 8 million dollars, there won’t be a cure for MS. I’m hopeful, but I’m not foolish.

But I want to make a difference. I want to raise as much money as I can – I want people to see that I did something to make a difference. Not much of one, I’ll admit. But I’ll feel good about it, and Kwipette will be proud of me. And you can feel good about yourself – hey, it may be only a few bucks to you, but those few dollars help me a lot. If I’ve ever made you laugh, if I’ve ever brought you a smile, I hope you will do this for me.

The truth is, Kwipette will be proud of me no matter what I do. That’s just the way love works, unfortunately for her. She’s pretty much stuck with my goofy butt for eternity. Thick or thin, good times or bad, Ben & Jerry’s or some cheap generic ice cream – she’s stuck with me for the lot of it. So I guess mostly I want this for myself. For my own greedy pride. I want to show up the day of the MS Walk, and know that I brought a hunka hunka burning change to the MS Society. I want people to understand that I love Kwipette this much – I may only have one small talent at making people laugh, but damn I’ll try as best I can to turn that into help for a worthy cause. The truth is, I could write a book about what we are going through right now, and maybe I will. But I only wanted to write enough here to make you understand where I’m coming from.

I don’t want your sympathy; neither does Kwipette. I didn’t write this to move you to tears so you’d give me all your money. I wrote this so you’d see maybe only a tiny fraction of how incredible and important to me Kwipette is, and be moved to help us and the other people that suffer from MS. And maybe, just maybe, to make you a bit more thankful for what you have (or more importantly, DON’T have). I don’t know what the future holds. Nobody does, I suppose. I know that it could be full of a lot of shit, though. But that doesn’t matter – because whatever the future holds, it will hold it for Kwipette and I together, and that will bring me more joy than woe. Tonite, she’ll come home, read this story, and we’ll hold each other and cry and talk for a while. Then I’ll make some joke about the fat woman in spandex I saw today, and the tension will break.

We’ll survive, we’ll make the most of every minute of every day. I hope you do the same.

Love and Laugh,