Over the last week, I’ve had a cough that refuses to leave me.
I’ve been to see two shows and a film recently and at all three I was that annoying person who had a fit of the loudest and most hideously-sounding coughs there has ever been. I sound like someone is strangling me, which is obviously disconcerting, or more likely irritating, to other people.
I kid you not, one woman edged away from me today like I had the plague and there was a chance she could become infected.
So, I decided to take matters into my own hands and go to a Boots to get some cough medicine, but I came away empty handed. I walked up to the counter and asked the pharmacy assistant’s advice about which type of the sugary syrup would do the trick. She asked me if I was on any medication and I said yes. Now, I expected her to ask me what I was on, but she looked at me and said: “What’s wrong with you?”
I was quite taken aback by this, as you can imagine, but told her I had MS regardless. Firstly, she asked me if that had something to do with my blood pressure, to which I said no, and then she went to speak to the actual pharmacist. On returning she recapped our discussion, but somehow my MS had become cystic fibrosis and she told me I could maybe try a particular type of cough medicine, but I was probably best of seeing my GP.
On reflection, my response may have seemed a bit rude, as I just burst out laughing and thanked her for all her “help”. It just made me think of all the times I’ve told someone I had MS and they just look at me blankly, as they honestly have no idea what I’m talking about.
Awareness of what MS actually does is lacking and more needs to be done to educate people about what it is and how it affects people. As there is at least 100,000 of us in the UK alone, which is a fair chunk of the UK.
However, when someone has no clue what you’re talking about, it’s really tempting to have a little fun with them. Next time someone asks you what MS is or does, tell them it’s infectious, it can make your hands fall off or even gives you the ability to speak to animals.