Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Labels Are for Cans

So… this happened today. I was asked to be a guest on an internet radio talk show called Life’s Journey with Tim Manson on VoiceAmerica.com. It was a really fun experience. I talked about the way my MS took me to Roller Derby. I don’t think I sounded too idiotic. But I will never know because I can’t stand listening to recordings of my own voice.

It’s never nice to point out a flaw that cannot be fixed. Only tell a woman that there is a run in her stockings if she is at home and can change them. If she is nowhere that she can fix the problem, don’t mention the problem. Remember that advice as I give you this:

You can only listen if you promise you won’t tell me if I sounded like a total dork.

Something occurred to me as I was having this interview. I wear a lot of labels. I’m not talking about fashion designer labels. My very favorite shoes are a $30 pair of Chuck Taylors.

Listening to Tim introducing my segment, I thought about all the different roles I have in my life. The most important are mother, daughter, and sister. A very close second is friend. Coming in for a solid third place is writer (a subset of which should probably be blogger). We should probably throw nerd into the label list.

But there are a couple new labels I am wearing as of the last few months. The first being patient. I had an MRI yesterday that made me feel like such a patient. This wasn’t my first time getting an MRI. It wasn’t even my fifth time. I am coming up quickly on 10. Ten times I have been slid into that tube armed with only earplugs and a meditation mantra. And in all those times, no one thought to scan my brain stem and neck. So, once more unto the breach, dear friends.

When I arrived at the hospital, I was told that the MRI room was being renovated. Not to worry. They have a mobile MRI unit in the truck in the parking lot. You read that right. I had to walk in my hospital gown and non-slip socks through the halls of the hospital and out a side entrance, where I then had to climb the painfully sharp metal stairs.

The actual MRI experience was pretty close to the ones on terra firma. Maybe a tad more… bouncy? But afterwards, as I stood there while my not-so-speedy tech was doing something that apparently needed to happen with me standing there, the door opens. Nice view of the cars coming and going about their health care business. I’m sure they had a nice view of me. The tech that opened the door was waiting for his turn to scan some other patient. It was cold, and a little bit mortifying.

So I tugged my hospital johnny and looked at Tech 2. “It’s cold,” I said. He agreed. “Close the door,” I said.

The apology came quickly with the door closure soon after. But it made me feel like a patient. Tech 2 had seen this scene hundreds of times. I was just one of many patients to him. I am starting to hate that particular label.

I’ve also been recently labeled as a skater. I love that label. But sometimes, in moments of frustration, I feel like a poser. I feel like I haven’t earned that label yet. Yes, I own skates. Yes, I can cross a room with wheels on my feet. Does that make me a skater? I’ve got to be a skater if I want to be a Derby Girl. And I so want to be a Derby Girl, but calling myself a DG does not make me a DG.

Am I a DG? Maybe? One in her infancy? One with all the desire to grow up and be a full-fledged Derby Queen? In fact, let’s go with this label: Baby Derby Princess.

Uh... I'm gonna need that shirt...

Here is one more label that I am wearing since the diagnosis. Ambassador. I am Ambassador Derby Princess and Ambassador MS Chick. I am strangely comfortable in this label. As my friends are finding out, I will try to convince you to try derby with religious zeal. I will talk your ear off about how much fun it is. I will explain the subtle nuance of the game that I am just starting to understand.

As Ambassador MS Chick, I will tell you to make sure that you are getting your Vitamin D. I will encourage you to make sure your kids take a daily multivitamin. I can tell you all about my symptoms and reassure you that you are most likely OK.

I can show you that I am OK. Better than that, I’m great. Mostly.

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