The World Uphill

The World Uphill




These pages are meant to describe one man’s awkward experiences in coping with multiple sclerosis—and one day last week pretty much summed up what it is like.

Here is the play-by-play of my adventure…



The notice of my important meeting had been stuck beneath a Mickey Mouse refrigerator magnet on the frig door for months.  (It is funny how the refrigerator door has become THEE place to secure/display important documents!)

Nervous, after a restless night, I awoke early.  Did some morning chores, then showered, and got “gussied up” for my appointment.

I finished with 20 minutes to spare before my designated departure time.

Perfect.  (Those of you who DO NOT have MS cannot understand why those of us who DO need such timely, regimented schedules!)

Checking the letter one more time, I realized my meeting was one hour later than I thought.  “No prob,” I mumbled–“gives me time to check email on the computer.”

After a few minutes…and a few boring emails, I began to get drowsy (Baclofen kicked in) and decided to lay down on the couch.


Drawing by Norman Rockhead
Drawing by Norman Rockhead


Of course you know where this is going.  I zoned out and woke in a startled panic a mere 30 minutes before my meeting.

Now I was in a rush.  Like siblings who never get along, “rushing” and MS are not good partners!

I frantically zipped my coat and was out the door.

New situations/places are not “kosher” to this MSer.  I get nervous if I’m not sure of the surroundings and my meeting was one of those times.

Now, running late, heart racing, I stiffened like Frankenstein in a body cast!


Artist flunked matchbook art school
Artist flunked matchbook art school



I raced downtown and found the building situated high on a steep hill.

Parking my car across the street, I got my wheelchair from the trunk and began rolling to the corner intersection to cross.


The sidewalks were in bad-shape bumpy, making it extremely difficult to make my way to the accessible curb.

Luckily, having the strength of ten men, I muscle my chair to the corner of the busy city intersection…and wait for the light to change.


Green.  Rolling across the street I noticed two things.  One, there is no way I can roll my wheelchair up the hill to the building.  And, two, the handicap-accessible curb sucks!  It wasn’t a sloping ramp—but a mini-curb, so I will have to stand to get my chair over the bump.


I rise…get my bearing…and reach behind for my chair.


Not there.


I turn & look in horror as my wheelchair spins and begins rolling, accelerating down the street like a soap-box derby racer.


Eyewitness account.  Artist's rendering.
Eyewitness account. Artist's rendering.



My frustration peaks and I let out a flurry of expletives!


The wheelchair continues racing down the hill, through a five-lane intersection!

More expletives for good measure.



All of a sudden this car comes to a screeching halt in the intersection, the door opens and out jumps a woman in a business suit.  She begins sprinting like FloJo in pursuit of my chair.

Drawn by an out-of-work police sketch artist.
Drawn by an out-of-work police sketch artist.


Wearing high-heels, FloJo ran the 30-40 yard distance in a time that made NFL scouts proud! 

She returned my errant wheelchair and I graciously thanked her.

But I still had to get up that damn hill!



Shuffling behind the chair, I took three steps before a guy appeared out of nowhere and offered to push me into the building.

Accepting his offer, he pushed while I rode…stiff like a piece of lumber.  (Stress had made my body so rigid, I couldn’t bend my legs.  I resembled a mannequin from Old Navy—without the goofy smile!)


Anyway, I made it to my meeting with a minute to spare.

Exiting the building, I caught my reflection in a window.  My shirt collar was standing-up and the zipper of my coat had split and was gaping open.  I looked like a disheveled homeless guy–in a wheelchair no less!


So that was my day.  Maybe not a typical day, but when you have MS–what day is typical, right?

Has my story brought out experiences of your own?  Please share, as we can all enjoy a chuckle in an uphill world.


5 Replies to “The World Uphill”

  1. Hey again,
    The part of your tale where I could see you going up the hill, in a sense using the wheelchair as a walker, reminded me of how silly I wind up looking and some of the questions I inspire. After coping with ms for about twenty years I developed a heart problem which resulted in my requiring a heart bypass operation. The surgeon told me aftrward that I had to excersize and walking was the best. At the time I was getting around clumsily with a cane. I decided that since I couldn’t get far with the cane I would walk pushing my wheelchair. If I became exhausted I would have a place to sit down. My progress about the neighborhood was often impeded by people stopping me and asking, “Why are you pushing that wheelchair around, did you lose somneone?” Being a cripple brings out the humorist in everyone!

  2. I think you’re quite brave, going to the appt. alone. I would have “cased the joint” a few times to determine how I could handle it, asked someone to accompany me, and if I was going to be late would have panicked. You take everything in stride — Good for You!!

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