Life Lesson 118: Having Multiple Sclerosis & Attending a BSU Football Game- It doesn't feel like it did when I went to college!
By HeidijSwenson on September 30, 2011
There is nothing like watching a good football game and the icing on the cake is watching your own infamous college football team win on their home turf. Combine that with great friends, tailgating, good food and drinks and you have one of the best days of the year. Now add Multiple Sclerosis to the equation and depending on the circumstances, you may have a recipe for disaster. I love football, especially college football, so when one of my best friends offered me a ticket I couldn’t have been more excited. These days getting a ticket to a home Boise State football game isn’t so easy, especially if you don’t have deep pockets. So no matter what condition I woke up in that day, I was prepared to have a good time, regardless!
We spent the week looking forward to the game, called our friends to see who else would be attending, arranged a carpool (now days parking is almost impossible anywhere near the stadium) and then planned to make it an all day event. We clad ourselves in BSU attire and were proud to see all the vehicles with Boise State flags flying from their car windows as we drove downtown to have lunch before tailgating. From there we headed (via complimentary shuttles thanks to BSU) towards the stadium to join the masses of diehard fans who had set up their tents in style, adorned with big screen TV’s, BBQ’s, tables, chairs, you name and they had it. These are experienced tailgaters!
Unfortunately the day of the game, Boise hit an all time record high on September 24th of 98 degrees and none us were prepared (at least the other girls had tank tops underneath) but not me! I was in jeans, a BSU T-shirt, and a sweatshirt tied around my waist, prepared for a cool fall evening. From the minute we were dropped off, I began to sweat, and it continued to pour down my face, back, stomach, and the rings under my armpits continued to swell as the day wore on. Gross! The first thing we did was look for the usual tailgaters we knew who would provide us with shade and ice. Mission Unaccomplished. Secondly, we searched for and found our own bit of shade and nestled in. While cowering under a tree I got a text from an old friend who said they were in an RV several blocks over. We decided it was worth the walk.
Ten minutes later we were welcomed aboard, not sure how much cooler the temperature was inside but at least we were out of the sun. We were told it was cooler in back of the RV, so I B-lined it back there and hit the deck (in other words I did what my dog does and I laid out on the floor where it’s the coolest because duh- heat rises ;). We weren’t in there for more than 15 minutes when the generator went out, no joke. They teased us for being a curse and told us all to jump ship. I didn’t even have the energy to get up at this point, let alone go back out on the jet black asphalt and pull out my guns to take back over some shade again (not my real guns, my biceps). I was a wreck at this point. I told my friends that the only way they could drag me out of that microwave oven was for us to go inside either an air conditioned restaurant or bar.
So they dragged my heavy, sweat soaked body over to a local place which was nearby and soon we were all happy. I found a place to sit and other than the restroom, I didn’t move. Speaking of restrooms, who designs them anyways? Certainly not a woman, because without fail there is always no less than 10 women in line and the men never have to wait. I call BS! As the time came for the game to start I was thinking in the back of my mind I’d rather stay in the AC versus sit in the ridiculously hot stands. However it was a privilege to be in the stands so off we went. I was two breaths away from passing out from heat stroke while standing in the never ending line to get in. (Thank goodness I have a sneaky friend.) Once I was inside, we found our seats in the end zone, in the much appreciated shade, and I made myself as comfortable as possible. Stadium seating however, is not the least bit comfortable.
The game was a blast, and there is nothing like watching football live with all the other excited fans in face paint cheering at the top of their lungs. I learned quickly that in the end zone they have you stand up for just about every play to show you are the ultimate supporters. Right away I started to feel it. Unfortunately with my poor eyesight I could only see the plays that were on our end of the field. The screen was too far for me to see as well so a lot of the game was a blur. I coveted a couch and flat screen TV numerous times. By half time I was a mess. I left the stadium (my only shot at using a bathroom) and was able to exercise my back and legs as I headed back over to our favorite spot. I relished in the AC, comfortable seats, and a TV where I could actually see the whole game. I had a very hard time making my way back to the stadium.
A little while after halftime, very slowly but surely, I walked back over and enjoyed the last part of the game. It was a sure win by then and every time we stood up and back down by then was just sheer pain. My back was seizing and although it was a good game I couldn’t wait for it to be over. We shuffled out of the stadium, waited in another seemingly endless line for a shuttle to transport us back downtown to our car. As we were walking we heard a one man band playing music and talking so we decided to stop for a short time and enjoy the cool night air. The musician/comedian put on quite a show and totally reminded me of Zack Galifianakis. I laughed until I forgot all about my aching back and joints.
It was the perfect end to the perfect day (on the pain scale it rated a slightly lower than perfect). Once we were home, kids dozed off in bed, sleep wasn’t hard to find. However, getting out of bed the next day was much harder than expected. In fact, it has been four days now and the pain in my back has only gotten worse every day. Whether I’m sitting, standing or attempting to walk like a feebled old woman, I can’t get comfortable. I strained my eyes trying to watch the game and the heat didn’t help, so I’ve also seen a temporary worsening in my vision as well in my good eye.
My point in telling you all of this isn’t to complain. It’s to tell you that given the chance to do it all over again, I’d still say “Yes!” when she offered me the ticket and I absolutely wouldn’t have missed the game for the world. Just because I have MS doesn’t mean I have to stop living. I’m going to have setbacks, some minor and some not so minor. But in the end, I’m going to take advantage of every opportunity and live life to the fullest while I still can. I have enjoyed a lot more in life by saying yes than saying no. So the next time an opportunity comes your way, just say YES!