This book - Fall Down Laughing, is one that I read early after Cir was diagnosed with MS. I read parts to him and we laughed at the life experiences of "Squiggy", which is how we referred to him. His real name is David Lander, and he was one of the characters on the show "Laverne and Shirley", a sitcom back in the '70s.
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I know I'm dating myself when I say I used to watch this show after coming home from school. But what can I say; time goes on.
The book, "Fall Down Laughing: How Squiggy Caught Multiple Sclerosis and Didn't Tell Nobody", is both a hilarious and poignant account of Squiggy, or David's life. He tells how even during the show he had symptoms of multiple sclerosis.
Thinking back on the "Laverne and Shirley Show", I can't even tell that there was anything wrong with the actor. He was very good at hiding his symptoms. Plus, as many of you can relate to, MS is sometimes called the invisible disease. In his case, this was true.
David wasn't actually diagnosed until after the last show was filmed in 1983. And he didn't tell the public about his MS until 1999. His strength and determination to continue doing what he loved, in spite of having multiple sclerosis, are inspirational.
For us, David was a big reason why we began to laugh at all the symptoms Cir would have on a daily basis. And we still laugh today. Maybe not when the event is happening, but most times after the fact. It helps to relieve the tension and stress that accompanies an otherwise uncomfortable and sometimes embarrassing situation.
We rarely take ourselves too seriously. When things happen, it helps to look at it from a different perspective if you can. If you really think about it, some of the symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis - especially when you put them all together - are pretty comical.
I know some of you won't think so, but Cir and I have to think about them that way, at least some of the time. When he has painful days, or fatigue is getting him down, watching something on TV or videos that make him laugh helps take his mind off the discomfort.
Hopefully you won't "fall down laughing" too many times. But it doesn't hurt to laugh when it's all over and done. Find the humor in everything (well almost everything), and you will be able to deal better with the difficult times of MS.
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Cir & Akrista
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