chronic illness, life, MS, writing

Grant, the cabbie has the cure!

I wake up slightly hungover and more than ready to get home. Strung out after four days facing my own anxiety and the fact that some women never leave high school, I need some serious solitude. I phone a cab and wait outside in the crisp morning air, dying for coffee.

The cab pulls up and the white-haired driver gets out. Red suspenders hold up dirty brown pants and a stained blue dress shirt stretches over an enormous belly. Sparkling blue eyes magnify curiosity behind enormous glasses.

“Where are you off to this fine morning, young lady?” He peeps at me in the rear view mirror and tips his grimy white baseball cap.

“Home to Victoria. I missed my bus yesterday so I was staying with a friend.” I’m taking shallow breaths because the air in the cab is custard thick with that sickly-sweet old man smell. It doesn’t feel right to open the window. I don’t know why.

“And what do you do in Victoria, young lady?”

“Well, I’m a teacher by trade but I don’t teach anymore. Now I’m a writer.” There, I said it without air quotes. Yay me!

“And why is it that you no longer teach, may I ask?”

“I have MS. I would love to —”

“I know how to cure that. It’s one of two things.”

Jesus. “Oh yeah?”

“Absolutely. It’s either a yeast overgrowth or a magnesium deficiency.”

Haven’t heard those before.

I try to stare out the window as he pontificates nonsensically but he keeps eyeballing me through the rear view.

He tells me he sells essential oils and I want to laugh, but I can barely breathe.

The longest ten-minute cab ride finally ends. He hands me a card with the words ‘wellness advocate’ under his name before he gets out to open the trunk.

He lets me get my own suitcase as he starts telling me about his prostate. Seriously. I finally cut him off and say I need coffee. He makes sure to tell me that he’s going to get coffee too, but in the car.

I’m sitting in Starbucks with my headphones on and see him drive by, glasses peering through the window. Several minutes later, I spot him in my peripheral vision. He’s come inside and he’s trying to get my attention. Oh for the love of all that’s holy.

Thank god for technology.


This is an excerpt from a short story I wrote after the writing retreat I went to in September. This dude just may pop up in my fiction at some point – who needs to make characters up when these kinds of people show up in your life? I wish my powers of description could do him justice, he truly was something else. His card is still on our fridge – haha!

Just to be clear:

1) There is NO CURE for multiple sclerosis.

2) Warriors find it really annoying when people suggest they know how to fix us, if we just follow their latest fad. Most of us have tried many, many different therapies and medications. MS is a complex disease that affects every person in a different way on a different day. If you have something to suggest, I’m all ears – if it’s done with sensitivity and respect.

Do you have stories of people giving you the magic cure? I’d love to hear them!

Have a wonderful week!

❤️ Amanda

29 thoughts on “Grant, the cabbie has the cure!”

  1. Yep! But for me it’s with my mental illness, and it’s usually not even products. It’s things like “I bet if you smiled more” or “you should try looking at the glass half full”. I try to respond nicely, but really I want to look at them and say, “You mean all this time I just could have (gasp) smiled?? And here I wasted all that money on therapy and medication?!” I also get occasional suggestions for weird cleanses – which is always AWESOME to suggest to someone with IBS – herbs, oils, and the like. I can’t imagine dealing with these comments without coffee. (Which ironically, coffee might be the only thing someone could suggest I might need and be accurate!)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Haha – no doubt. Don’t be selling your miracle cure to me before I’ve had any caffeine. I mean, come on!! It’s hard when you know someone is just trying to be helpful but it’s so obnoxious you just want to pop them one.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh yes, the miracle cure stories….lol I don’t mind listening to anything anyone has to say if as you said, they do it with sensitivity and respect. As much as having ms sucks, tbh I would probably be one of those pushy try this that people, especially if I thought it was all I could do to help. As it stands, I talk about what works for me, today..pretty much with a listen if you want but no offense attitude if you don’t

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I’ve been sent links for healers, diets and gadgets etc., but I know my friends mean well. I just thank them and move on – well, in a Facebook/email way. But I like the scene as it wroks as a writing piece.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes!! I joined a Facebook group and mentioned my MS and a guy replied saying “I had MS a couple of years ago and I’m now cured” and sent me a link to his website! Yeah, thanks mate but I might give that a miss … it was as though he’d just recovered from a mild bout of food poisoning?? Having said that I’m a firm believer that there are things you can do to improve your MS experience – I’m currently following some of Terry Wahl’s suggestions, however even she admits that she still has multiple sclerosis and is not cured

    Liked by 2 people

      1. God, I hope you’re right. I find myself getting closer all the time then a situation like that comes along and I’m that non-confrontational doormat. Here’s to the purple-haired grannies that don’t give a rat’s ass and speak their minds – it will be us, dammit!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I think it’s because we were raised to be ‘good little girls’, which is hilarious in actual reality but comes out in those situations, especially when dealing with an older person. There is something to be said for that respect for elders that may be getting lost in these days of equality.

        I was just thinking about you as I was reading some of Natalie Goldberg’s essays on poetry. Holy mama – I wish I had heard of her years ago!!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I think you’re right Amanda. I didn’t realize I was a grown up until I reached 40! I’ve been pretty fearless since then. Lol! However I still don’t like creating a public disturbance 😕
        I’ll check out Natalie Goldberg – thanks

        Liked by 1 person

  5. What is it about humans that we always think we know how to live one another’s lives better than each other? Even when it is well-intentioned, it just comes off so insensitive.
    I don’t have a physical disability or condition. . .but it is defenitely the same for mental health. I guess really anything. Everyone suddenly becomes an expert when the opportunity presents itself haha.
    I love how you took this experience, this 10-minute cab ride, and turned it into such a cheeky yet informative short story! Thanks for sharing, Amanda


    Liked by 2 people

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