On Thursday, I went to my first meet and greet session at the Santa Clara MS Society, that Tara Reed had advised me of. When I arrived, Tara immediately enveloped me is huge hug, and welcomed me profusely. She then introduced me to Kennita, a regular attendee. During our chat, I learned that she had been diagnosed with MS the same year that I had, 1998. She is originally from Columbus Ohio, so was vaguely familiar with Waterloo and Ottawa. Mostly, she identified them by their proximity to Toronto, but that’s okay. This is a relatively common reaction, which occurs as soon as you say “Ontario”.
Kennita went on to say that she had recently had to go on disability, as her MS had interfered too much with her ability to concentrate on her work. She explained that she had a master’s degree in computer science from MIT, but that cognitive fatigue had put an end to that. A diehard sci-fi fan, she told me about the ‘huge’ gathering scheduled for the Memorial Day (May 24th) weekend, in San Francisco, called BayCon. I mentioned that my hubby and my eldest son were heavily into this sort of thing, but didn’t commit to attending.
Soon, another newbie wandered into the room, named Sara. She explained that she was originally from India, but had moved to Oregon twenty some years ago. She was there when she was diagnosed with MS. She is the only member of her family with MS, and like Kennita, had a career in computer science. She is no longer able to work, but continues to take courses at Stanford, for her own interest and satisfaction.
Two hours passed quickly, and both Sara’s and my husband showed up. He works at Apple as well apparently, but is able to ferry his wife to and from meetings or appointments as necessary. Both women had agreed earlier that driving on the large, intimidating freeways here is NOT something they feel that they can comfortably do. Kennita said that she restricts herself to two lane roads with speeds of 40mph or less, and Sara agreed. Yikes! I hope that once I am acclimatized and know my way around a bit better that I can manage a bit more than this!
Both Glenn and I have to retake driver’s tests in order to obtain licenses here. We have these tests scheduled for April 9th, but Glenn won’t be able to take his until his Social Security Number arrives. Since I am not eligible for an SSN, I am able to use my passport as ID for this. However, if he has to postpone his test due to not having his SSN in hand by that date, I’ll postpone mine as well. I am definitely NOT looking forward to the test, since I’ve been told that the written portion is a multiple choice format. It is a known fact that this type of test is not good for someone with MS. I’ve had personal experience with this in my college course from a few years back, so I know enough to be VERY concerned!