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  • Writer's picturebridget snell

Clown suits are scary

Updated: Aug 13, 2020

There have been several questions thrown out on the HSCT forums asking those out of treatment for an update on our symptoms. I like to look at the answers from other HSCTers on the forums and see the variations based by how far out of chemo and the degree of difficulty living with said symptoms. I’m 2 years and one month since I got my stem cells back and I feel fantastic. I know you hear a lot of the bad days from me here, but compared to where I was headed, I’ll take the spasticity and the occasional trigeminal neuralgia. 

That said, however, I’ve determined that my absolute worst post-treatment symptom is embarrassing encounters with medical professionals. That’s a real medical issue.

I had a same-day visit to a doctor at my practice (whom I’ve never seen before) but I was willing to give the annotated version of my history in exchange for resolving the jet plane noises and drumline marching through my ears into my inner brain (fortunately, they weren’t hurting me, just being deafeningly loud and annoying like drumline kids and pilots can sometimes be, I guess). 

She checked me out and concluded that I have beautiful ears. She also checked inside my ears and determined they are clean as a whistle showing no signs of trauma or inflammation. Blushing, I tried to give her the old “I guess it’s all in my head, then! You know, with the rest of my MS symptoms” joke.


“Ha ha… you know what I’m saying? I mean, I don’t have to tell you that MS causes issues in my brain and so the symptoms are…” I’m making some sort of crazy motion with my hands. Almost like I’m stirring up a bowl of brownies or concocting an imaginary potion to get out of the conversation.

“You have MS,” she sort-of stated and meant to be a question. I think.

“I do. And I don’t like to blame everything on MS, so I suppose I was hoping…”

“There’s no bug in there,” she finished for me.

Damn, she’s good. 

“I think you need to call your MS doctor. A neurologist, correct?”

I decide this is not the time to give her the speech about how it doesn’t make sense to see a brain doctor for an autoimmune disease. I hoped to never see her again anyway.

I find that these nonplussed conversations are better with doctors, who are obligated to keep it between us. I say this because, despite my efforts, there is no oath taken by the pest control man’s son. 

Later that day, I called because there are rodents getting into my vegetable garden burgling my eggplant and cucumber section. My mouth opened up to say, “Sorry, I’m a little distracted right now, I just wondered if you could come and relocate them. I don’t want them killed.”

But, as well all know, MS is all in my head. So what actually came out, is “I wonder if you could come over and distract them. I like them alive.”


“I will be there on Thursday wearing a clown suit and playing the tamborine. That should do the trick.”

I really, really, really, really love my pest control man’s son.


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