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  • "I understand," she said. "I mean, I think I understand. Like when you are just really, really stressed and..."

    "Kind of... Though, it's not exactly stress," I hedge. "It is just the MS."

    "Right! It's just like when you are really, really stressed, and you feel overwhelmed?"

    "Maybe, I guess, not really. It's more like staying up all night, every night for a week and a half, cramming for a test, but you have to keep doing everything in your normal life, too, so you drink pot after pot of coffee to stay awake and you are awake. Alert. You are just monumentally tired and jittery..."

    I can feel my eyes bulging.

    "Every day of your life."

    Her brow creases as she struggles to understand. She has probably never spent a night cramming; she might not have had coffee. She drinks tea. She spends entire weekends study for her one grad school class and a sick day before each exam. I take medication geared toward narcoleptics, and it's not nearly enough to make me feel human much past 9 a.m.

    I try again.

    "Or like taking a red eye flight every night, moving forward, losing hours, crossing the international dateline back into yesterday and moving forward again. And again. And again. And again."

    I move my hand in a circular motion and her eyes follow.

    "You keep walking because you have to walk; otherwise, you'd be tired and fat."

    She laughs.

    "And working because somebody needs to pay for this flight."

    I spread my arms.

    "And spending time with family and friends," I flip my palms up, "volunteering, reading, and writing because without all of these - what is the point?"

    I shrug.

    "Night after night, you keep flying forward to yesterday, forward to yesterday, and morning after morning, you get up to pretend to be human being despite the lost hours, the sleep deprivation, and jet lag."

    She blinks at me.

    "That's kind of how I feel every day of my life; though, last week? With the vaccines?"

    She nods.

    "Last week was worse."
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