Every night I call my mum. We used to text, but now we just talk over the phone as it is easier for Mum.
For some people, a regular phone call home is less of a pleasure and more a result of a guilty conscience, but I cherish the time I spend on the phone with Mum. We may only speak for 15 to 20 minutes, but for those 15 to 20 minutes I feel completely connected to her, listening to the sound of her voice, trying to gauge how she’s feeling.
My mum was 40-years-old when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), a disease that attacks the Central Nervous System – particularly the brain and the spinal cord. To say my little family of three was knocked clean off our feet would be a huge understatement.
Dad picked me up from school that afternoon, which was a rarity. And when I climbed into the back of the car, I sensed something wasn’t right. He told me that Mum had a fall at work, hurting her elbow. Then his phone rang, it was Mum.
“I can’t move my leg, it’s numb. I can’t drive the car,” were the words that came screaming down the phone. I panicked, demanding that we drive to Mum quick. The rest of that afternoon is a complete blur.
After months of scans, MRIs, injections, and a misdiagnosis, we discovered that Mum had primary-progressive MS, and not relapsing-remitting MS like we had first thought. However, due to the lack of knowledge of the disease at the time, Mum’s prognosis was unclear. And as a 10-year-old who had already gone through health trauma of my own, to hear those words was terrifying.
I was completely oblivious to mysterious diseases like MS. I’d never heard of it, heck, neither of my parents had heard of it either. My dad brought me home brochure-upon-brochure-upon-brochure, full of information about MS to try to help me get my head around it all. But to be honest, it still confuses me to this day.