Monday, August 4, 2008

The Mermaid in the Pool

[Begin reading my story with Eyes in the Back of My Head]

Once upon a time, many moons ago, there was a young mermaid. She lived on the land among the humans yet did not know she was a mermaid.

In her dreams, she shared the ocean waters with the giant manatee and the baby sea turtles. When life on land became troublesome, she felt trapped in a riptide and dragged beneath the darkness. But when life was fine, the water was crystal clear and sky blue.

The mermaid told of her dreams to a very good friend who suggested that she test the waters and go for a swim. 

The water felt cool and the pressure against her limbs was soothing. A few trips to the pool and the mermaid was hooked. She began to look forward to Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays each week and began to count how many laps she completed, each day, each week, each month.

The mermaid was thrilled the very first time she swam a full mile in the pool. She had never swum this way before. Oh sure, she had splashed around, but never relished in the flow of each backstroke. Nor had she ever tried swim flippers.

Not long, the mermaid saw clear blue waters during the day, everyday.

Then one day, the mermaid was swimming glorious laps in the pool. Flying through the water with the help of flippers and stretching far overhead with each backstroke.

Suddenly the mermaid hit a wall. Not the edge of the pool, but something nearly as hard and dangerous.

The mermaid had run head-on into a woman who had entered her lane and was lolly-gagging as she was chatting with friends.

Bam!! Right into the woman’s back, going at a rather quick clip.

“Damn, that hurt!!”

My head was crushed straight down into my spine. Muscles tensed, headache surged, all as the neck felt “cricked.”

The pain in my neck continued for days as I tried to recover. My shoulders were tight and playing my horn became uncomfortable. But that is not new, cause musicians often play through pains of which the audience is never aware.

The mermaid had a doctor’s appointment just a few weeks later and mentioned the tingling in her left hand. But she also mentioned the crash in the pool and both thought pinched nerve.

“Keep an eye on it and if it gets worse, let me know,” said my doctor.

A month later my new Sweetie (who I had just met the week before that doctor’s visit) was gently rubbing my shoulders. Then he was rubbing my back.

“That’s really weird. What’s going on?” she thought.

The mermaid couldn’t feel his hands on the left side of her back. The right side was fine, but the left side was numb.

Really numb.

So she called her doctor and scheduled a visit because she also noticed that her left arm was numb. From finger tips to spine, numb.

That’s when the doctor wanted to know more about the pinched nerve.

“I want you to have an MRI. Just get a better look at what might be going on in your neck,” the doctor said.

In the following month, the mermaid was meeting with a neurologist for an expert opinion. A monumental month.

July 2005, 100 MILES in the pool since the New Year and the transition to neuroland.

Next time: The doctor never said the words, “You have MS.”


  1. The poor mermaid. She never knew she had a nerve cover eating bug inside her for a long time. Her swim might always remind her of the collision with a swimmer, but; alas, 'twas a collision that may bring other indignities like fibromyalgia, often tagging along with MS, to nip at her sleek mermaid body. MS waits like a Mermaid under the sea to sing her captive song, slowly...slowly...until a sailor hears her.

  2. Wow, I don't know what to say. That was poignant.

  3. hello miss mermaid! wonderfully written story. keep on telling your experience...we are listening.