Monday, 26 September 2011

Will all those with MS please stand up

Years ago, I worked for Social Services. I had an admin type role but worked alongside Social workers. What I remember most notably about that time, was the diversity of personality types that were attracted to Social Work as a profession. Entering the social work office, you were met with people from all walks of life; all with a unique and diverse outlook. Of course, looking back on it now, I realise that that is as it should be. Social workers have the unique task of meeting people often when they are at their lowest ebb, and need help. And all of those people (or punters, as one of the more colourful social workers used to call them) come from different backgrounds and have different expectations and needs. It is only fitting that the team of people who help to satisfy those needs should to be equally heterogeneous.

Now, when I look around me at the people I know who have MS, the same multiplicity is what I see. The longer I live with the beast, the more I come to realise that he stalks his way between us and his pathway is indiscriminate. The stereotypical image of an MS sufferer as a wheelchair user no longer applies. I have met mums with young children, grannies, fitness instructors, yummy mummies, men with stressful jobs and a penchant for speedboats: all of whom have met, and are on first name terms with, the beast.

We each deal with him in our unique ways, with a little help from the neurologists and the ever growing pharmaceutical industry. And at some point, it will be our turn to accept the assistance of the social workers, and we will be comforted by their individuality and the fact that when you open that door to the social work office, the diversity of personality is as extensive as the reach of the beast.

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