Sunday, September 04, 2005

What's In A Name?

I was sitting in the van today waiting for my daughter to finish up soccer practice, and the phrase settled in on my brain like an elusive jigsaw puzzle piece.

"It has a name."

That pain in my knee. That numbness in my hands and feet. The tremors when I sit still. My legs jumping and lurching when I lay down at night. The fatigue that feels like someone has slipped me a mickey. The inability to even drag my rolling suitcase through the airport, or lift my carry-on up to the overhead compartment on the airplane. The forgetting the names of familiar objects. Of not being able to finish a sentence because I don't even know what I was saying. And the double vision that haunts me late in the day.

All those things have a name now.
And while some of those have been with me for many months, they didn't bother me too much until they got a name.

Multiple Sclerosis.

It just sounds terrible. It doesn't sound even remotely pleasant. And then if you know what the word means, it's even worse -- Multiple (many) Sclerosis (scars) Well, yuck.

And so, sitting there waiting for practice to end, I realized that it's the name moreso than the symptoms that bother me. For the most part, they are a annoyance...a reminder that I am an organism made of billions of cells and chances are good that some of them are going to konk out at some point.

But that name.

"Getting older" -- sounds mature.
"Creaky bones" -- sounds like my grandmother!
"Growing pains" -- ok, I'm a little old for that one.
"Out of shape" -- that can be remedied.
And there are probably a bunch of other cliches that reference the creaking of our joints as we get older. But those are names WE give those aches & pains & sensations...but this one has a name that was given to me.

So, I have to think about what I'm going to call it.
Because I see that there is power in a name.
Will I call it a blessing or a curse?

There is so much power in a name...but it will only have the power that I give it.
And only I can decide what to call that thing that already has a name...only I can determine how I will address it. And I must decide whether I choose to call it blessing? Or do I choose to call it a curse?

After all, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet...
(A suggestion that a thing is what it is, not what it is called.)

But aren't the monikers that we bestow on people and places and things an indication of their character? So I pose the question (more for myself than for anyone else, although I'd love to hear your thoughts) -- does it really matter what we think something 'is' if it simply 'is' what it is?

And now I'm back to my original question...what's in a name?

(For those of you wondering where I have disappeared to -- I have been traveling quite a bit over the past three weeks and simply haven't had the time or inclination to get on the blogs. I guess I needed a rest from it as I marshaled by mental energy toward the tasks at hand. I may be lurking over the next few weeks as I get back into it, but rest assured that I have not gone anywhere. And thank you for your kind notes and concern -- I am good.)


At 3:01 AM, Blogger Latigo Flint said...

Don't use your hands. Pass to space. Never trust parent/referees.

This is everything I know about soccer. I hope it helps.

At 11:21 AM, Blogger amberdusk said...

Your writting flows nicely. I enjoyed reading your blog. Hopefully you will find your rose name. Make it yours:)

At 11:58 AM, Blogger Bill said...

Why a name anyway? Just gives things like pain more power than they deserve.

As always a great post, you've been missed, welcome back!

At 10:53 AM, Blogger BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

You write so beautifully...

Welcome back to blogging, by the way.

How about just accepting it as changing with time?

Hope you are well, Whit!

At 12:58 PM, Blogger jenbeauty said...


At 11:49 AM, Blogger Trevor Record said...

Oh my god, how scary! When did you find out?

At 1:23 PM, Blogger Whit said...

Trevor -- found out late June. Waiting to get into 2nd opinion in November...muddling through until then. I am fine, but I find that this thing is stealing other things in my life which just ticks me off to no end.

But don't worry about me -- I am fine. I'm tough.

At 2:05 PM, Blogger amberdusk said...

Did you read trevor record's blog lately? I think things are tough for him now too. I hope everything is going well.


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