All About Multiple Sclerosis

More MS news articles for April 2003

The Bright Side of Life,2933,83850,00.html

Thursday, April 10, 2003
By Neil Cavuto
Fox News

I want to tell you about a woman named Emma.

Emma has advanced multiple sclerosis. Close to legally blind, she's confined to a wheelchair now, and looks decades older than her relatively young 48 years.

She'll tell you that herself. Here's what I'll tell you: We could all learn a thing or two from Emma.

Far from obsessing on her own ills, she's more prone to worry about others' ills. Take the war with Iraq -- she follows it better than most embedded reporters. She tells me she listens to FOX News all the time, "even your boring business show, Neil," she jokes.

What a wondrous sight, she imagines, of coalition forces making their way into Baghdad.

"I hope good things happen to those people now," she says of Iraqis.

She is hopeful. Even though she looks helpless.

She smiles. Even though she seems to have little to smile about.

She never bitches, or whines, or complains, or moans.

She talks of a daughter on full scholarship at college and of a son who wants to be a Marine.

Her husband left her years ago. "Can't say as I blame him," she says. "The disease was advancing so fast."

Not a bitter word. Not an angry word. She worries more about soldiers over there than her deteriorating body over here. She talks of her plans for Easter. About coloring eggs with her sister's kids, and joking they can go ahead and hide them right in front of her. "It's not as if I'm gonna see 'em anyway," she says.

It's amazing. People who deal with so much less complain so much more. I wish I could show them Emma. As much to shut them up as to hold her up.

Over the years I've seen her at physical therapy, her body has decayed but her heart has soared.

She offers me this advice: "Neil, stay away from complainers." They'll make you start complaining too.

"But wouldn't that be rude?" I ask.

No, she says. "It would be ruder to have them think you were interested in anything they had to say in the first place."

Leave it to a woman nearly blind, to see things so clearly. We're so focused on the bad when things are actually good. It's nice to see someone who appreciates the good when things are really bad.

© Associated Press