U.S. Presidential Anthem: Hail to the Chief
Hail to the chief
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I had to say goodbye to an old friend this past weekend. I would have posted this on Monday, but there was the Medicare thing, and I had to tease the HealthTalk MS program on cognition on Wednesday. It's okay, if anyone would understand politics and publicity, it was my old friend, Jed.
Jed had MS for years before I did, but not many people knew about it. Funny thing was that I found out about his MS just a couple of weeks before my diagnosis. Over the past five years, I have seen Jed deal with his MS (good days and bad) in a way that I hope I have and will deal with mine. I learned much about MS in those early days from Jed, as did many of us.
You see, the friend of whom I speak may have educated more Americans about MS than anyone else in history; probably more than anyone ever will again. My "friend" was one Josiah "Jed" Bartlet, President of the United States â€“ well, at least according to the NBC drama "The West Wing" anyway.
No, I haven't gone off the deep end thinking that a television character is real. But it can't be denied that, for those of us with MS, this fictional character has done much.
If nothing else, Jed Bartlet made it easier for us to talk about MS with people. Before "The West Wing," it seemed that all most knew about MS was that Annette Funicello has MS. If we have relapsing-remitting MS, we could say, "It's the kind President Bartlet has." For some of us, Wednesday (then Sunday) episodes became the topic for water cooler discussion, which brought MS into the workplace, maybe before we did.
I don't doubt that many of us were approached and questioned about multiple sclerosis days or weeks after an episode dealt with the topic.
Well, our friend Jed Bartlet is gone now, moved back to New Hampshire to finish out his days away from the scriptwriters and advisors (which included the LINK National MS Society) and millions of weekly viewers.
To Aaron Sorkin, Tommy Schlamme and John Wells who brought us the program, to Martin Sheen who played a powerful man with "our" debilitating disease, and to Stockard Channing, whose acting chops bit into the part of an MS spouse and partner with an uncanny knowledge of that roll, and to all involved in "The West Wing"; I'll miss you. I'll miss you, but living in America with MS is just a little bit easier because of the work you did over the past seven years.
Goodbye, old friend.
Wishing you and your family the best of health.
Video: Hail to the Chief
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