Living with M.S.

"Living with M.S. is sort of like training for a long race. The harder you try, and the longer you keep at it, the stronger you become.
Eventually, looking back, you may be amazed at the power you possessed, even when you had no idea it was within your reach." (Linda Ann Nickerson)


A-Z promising quotes: Noise

Certain sounds can be lovely, but noise overload is disconcerting to anyone wresting with multiple sclerosis.

It’s not really an auditory issue.

Usually, our ears are absolutely fine. It’s more like sensory overload. Jumbled, discordant noises seem to set off MS symptoms like loss of balance, spasticity, vertigo, and more.

And it’s not just about noise levels.

I’ve been in very loud rock and country music concerts and been basically fine. But loud, bouncing sound waves in venues ill equipped to handle such decibel levels usually make me reel.

We actually left a church we loved, after more than a decade of active membership, because of the sound issues in worship services. Going to church began to feel sort of like going to a pop music concert, except that the facility was built to absorb organ and piano music, rather than cranked up electric guitars and modern drum sets.

It was heartbreaking to stand in the lobby, simply because entering the church sanctuary made me unable to stand on my own feet or walk in a straight line. Often, I would grasp the chair in front of mine to steady myself, as my knees would buckle under me. Sunday afternoons became rather fruitless for me, as I struggled to recover from the neurological stress of that noise environment.

I am sincerely glad their worship music attracts and blesses tons of people. It’s just medically dangerous for me to be there.

I’m not pleading for silence.

Music is a special love for me. In fact, I sang in that church’s choir for years, back in the day. So this has felt like a real loss. Fortunately, we have landed in another wonderful church, where I can stay and participate in the entire congregational service.

As an MSer, though, I take some comfort in this quote from English poetess Christina Rossetti (1830-1894), one of my personal favorites.

“Silence is more musical than any song.”

Sometimes that is simply so – and especially when MS rattles our nerves so much on its own that even the most harmonic sound feels like confusing noise.

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