Wednesday, 26 September 2012


There seem to be too many ouch points in my life with MS. Many of them are not physical pain. Recently there’s been

  • the fish food fail - my flatmate was away and, in typical MS fashion, I put a tiny bit of feed in the lid of the fish food container and then, instead of tipping that little portion of granules in the lid held in my left hand into the tank, I tipped the whole container held in my right hand. It was horrible. There were fatalities. My flatmate was ostensibly forgiving;
  • the falling fails – the most dramatic was one I tweeted about. Jemima and I fell in a tangle in the new venue for the show we were in. That was an ouch of physical pain. My bruises were spectacular like this on my thigh
  • the oil cap drop – I was topping up the oil in my car and dropped the cap. It got caught somewhere in the engine and I couldn’t retrieve it. I was in danger of being late for a roleplay job so I drove the short distance to the venue. After the job which finished mid afternoon, I phoned the AA because I couldn’t risk driving further without an oil cap. The very nice man came, reassured me it was not the most stupid thing to have done, shone a torch, saw the oil cap and managed to reach the ledge it was balanced on and replaced it;
  • the scripts that make no sense leading me to query is it my mind or is it poor writing?
I’m tired. I’m very tired. I look at my diary and it’s full. But only for a couple of weeks or is that three… I don’t know any more. I don’t quite know where I am or what I’m doing. I’m suffering.

And I miss MyMan. I miss that person to share my life with. He said on the phone recently, because we still talk (occasionally, not like the phone calls every evening after 8pm meds unless we were together)… Anyway he said: “that’s who I am”. He was talking about going to the gym and cycling and I’m not sure I gave that enough weight.

If that’s who he is, does that mean he’s found himself? And have I lost myself along the way. Maybe I have.

Today of all days is not a day to be lost. Today has been Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement. In years gone past, I would have gone to the synagogue. We would all have gone. The whole family. We would all have fasted. The full 26 hours (yes, 26 not 24). Now there’s just me. My brother and sister both have families of their own. I’ve not eaten a meal today, just had fluids to take my meds with and stop MS collapse and I have done some contemplation.

But I do not class myself as a practising Jew nowadays. I probably haven’t done so for years. I am Jewish. I always will be. As a vegetarian I don’t have to consider whether or not I would stick to kashrut (best known as the Jewish dietary laws that include not eating pig, shellfish, any animal that doesn’t have cloven hooves, rodents, reptiles, amphibians, not mixing meat and fish nor meat and dairy at the same sitting – that is not kosher). I have never eaten bacon, pork, shrimp, prawns etc and, if I wasn’t vegetarian, I would be unlikely to start now.

I grew up in a kosher household – for the most part that is, from a food perspective, including having separate crockery, cutlery, saucepans, washing up bowls and tea towels for ‘meat’ and ‘milk/dairy’ or ‘parve’ (neutral) dishes. Meat was bought from a kosher butcher. Friday night was special every week with lighting of the candles, blessings and a meal. Similarly, most festivals were observed. You might say religiously.

However, my mother used to say you can fast anywhere and on this, the holiest of days in the Jewish calendar – the Sabbath of Sabbaths – she professed not to mind if we couldn’t be with her and my dad. I think she would have minded if I hadn’t observed Yom Kippur at all. Hadn’t gone to synagogue. Hadn’t said the Al Chet (confession of sins repeated several times throughout the Yom Kippur services). Hadn’t recited yizkor (a service of remembrance particularly for those for whom one or both parents have died). Today I didn’t. Ouch! That’s my conscience pricking me.