I like music with lyrics, lyrics that make some sort of sense, lyrics that I can understand and relate to. My choice in music has varied over the years and many tunes have faded from my memory until I hear a familiar one again and then it sticks in my mind for a while. One such tune that returned during lockdown was ‘All My Life’s a Circle’ by Harry Chapin (and the New Seekers). Lockdown! You remember that time earlier this year when we were all housebound and one day melded into the another and then one week and then one month and not so suddenly 3 months had elapsed and all thanks to Covid-19. We are all getting older and time is passing us by. How do you measure its’ passing?
Birthdays that come around annually are one method of measurement and then there are the ‘significant-number birthdays’ – teenager, pre-adult 18, young-adult 21, and the ‘noughties’ which only come around every decade but as we get older every decade seems to have passed faster than the previous one. Regardless of how happy the occasion it still marks the passage of time. Jean and I celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary last year; where did all those years go?. For those lucky enough to have children and grandchildren, time passes differently with each milestone achieved. I am more keenly aware of the major milestones achieved by my grandson, Jack, probably because I have more time to appreciate them. I missed many of the milestone s of my own children due to work and other commitments.
The saddest measure of the passage of time is the passing of a loved one and the 1st anniversary arrives unbidden and unwelcome and then suddenly I realise that a number of years have passed; 5, 10, 20? Where does all the time go? Remember that we can’t save time, we can but spend it wisely.
In addition to those personal passage –of-time- markers people living with long term illness have other unwanted ways to mark the passing of time; our medication and treatment regimes act as another calendar. Medication is what keeps our world on an even keel or at least not spiralling out of control and it comes in various packaging; blister packs, bottles/jars, or infusion bags but what interests me is the measurement of the passing of time.
Some of my tablets come in blister packs and they are usually split into 7-day or 10-day packs but each time I open a new pack it signifies that more time has passed. One of the meds that I no longer take came in a 28-day blister pack and another came in an infusion bag which necessitated a hospital visit every 28 days. A long-forgotten treatment required self-injecting every second day. My latest meds come in tablet form, in a blister pack of 6 tablets which are taken over 5 days and then repeated a month later; the whole process repeats 12 months later. My SP Catheter is changed every 6 weeks and an MRI Scan or a KUB Scan means that another year has fallen by the wayside.
These medications and treatments have 2 things in common; they are all related to my Multiple Sclerosis and they all mark the passing of time in a way that most people won’t relate to. I am now overburdened with methods to measure the passage of time.
When I open any package of meds the lines of the song that come to mind are
“It seems like I’ve been here before
I can’t remember when
but I’ve got this funny feeling
that I’ll be back once again”
And finally, these lines resonate with me and my MS life;
“There’s no straight lines make up my life
And all my roads have bends
There’s no clear-cut beginnings
And so far no dead-ends”