Tuesday, November 30, 2010

"They're" Rushing Me...

Am I right that the stores began advertising for Christmas sales somewhere around Halloween?  And now that we're at the end of November, I just heard a couple of folks starting up with talk of 2011?

Forgive me, but...whaaaaaat?  How about this.  How about "they" try to see things through my unfocused eyes for a different perspective...

Clearly, "they" don't look at their children and wonder where the years have gone.  I mean, didn't I just give birth to them?  Or is it just that I look like I did...because the baby fat never disappeared.  And now they're suddenly in middle school?  And "they" didn't just celebrate a 20th reunion, which was yet another reminder of just how quickly time goes by.  I'm pretty sure "they" haven't spent hours, days, weekends, weeks, and months by the bedside of a dearly loved grandmother...one who was incredibly vibrant just...wait, wasn't that just yesterday?  Sure seems like it.

Maybe I'm not wanting time to pass me by, because I begin each day with a physical inventory of current ms symptoms in order to know what sort of day it's going to be.  Or because I occasionally hear the depressing prognoses of several neurologists playing in my head.  Let's just say I've learned not to rush things. 

I love sunrise.  I don't love that I'm awake for it, but I do enjoy the beauty of it.  I get that flashback of "senior week" at the beach, the peace of that exact moment, the comfort of being in the company of a dear friend.  Makes me feel young again.  I find the moon and stars fascinating.  I love the changing leaves.  I love blue skies, cloudy skies, and everything in between.  I love watching the woodpeckers that come to feed at the woodpecker smorgasbord my husband crafted out back...just for me:-)  I love the sound of my kids' laughter.  I love the way my dogs run to and jump at me when I walk in as an expression of their unconditional love.  My husband no longer runs to and jumps at me.  My novelty has clearly worn off after 17 years of togetherness.  (lol!)  But sometimes we do throw pillows at one another, or balled up socks...and I love that, too.

I'm trying to enjoy today for what it is, because tomorrow comes soon enough, especially when you're an insomniac.  Tomorrow is its own hot mess!  A new day to try to get my hair just right (not happenin'), a new day to find my keys (that are in my hand) and a new day to sit on the sunglasses I forgot to put in the proper place in my car.  Poor little things...they never stood a chance, nor saw it coming.  Size matters.

Holiday milestones will be here soon enough.  Until then, my advice is to be blessed by today, check your left hand for your keys, and consider the safety of your sunglasses when you carelessly toss them on your seat.  Anything less and you're missing out;-)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Taking MS To A Class Reunion...

Ah yes...class reunion time! 

Preparation meant:
  • Try on approximately 16 different outfits to see which one makes me look less spherical. 
  • Find which jeans elongate my 5'1" stature.
  • Find which shoes have the largest heel I can walk in without falling, again, to give the illusion that I've not lost an abnormal amount of height since graduation.
  • Accessorize in a manner that says, "I still got it".  Whatever "it" is.  Or was. 
I was a What Not To Wear episode.  In summary, I felt like I shouldn't wear any of it.  But the reality is...I've known these folks since about 1977.  I'm not fooling anyone with a crafty pair of jeans or dazzling top.  I'm not 100lbs.  I'm not 5'7".  Let the secret be out. 

So there I was, entering the establishment and immediately checking in at the...ladies room.  When I'm anxious, my bladder shrinks to the size of a pea.  No pun intended.  Upon exit, I was scanning the crowd for anyone who looked like someone I used to know...but in a "20 years later" fashion.  And wondering if, when I approached them with a warm hug, my head/neck tremors would act up and they'd look at me sideways.  Or that I'd lose my balance a bit, as I do when I hug someone...which results in a slightly longer-than-appropriate hug.  That can be very awkward for both parties.  Thankfully, before I had much more time to consider the possible scenarios, I spotted one classmate...and another...and look there's another!  Yaaaaay!  My friends!  Oh how I'd missed them!  They seemed to know me upon first glance and vice versa.  Whew.  That was easy...

Side note:  I love that most of the guys are bald.  My husband didn't feel so out of place.  Seriously though, how could they not be with the abundance of hair gel and mousse they wore circa 1988-1991?  If they only knew the price of having that impressive, spikey hair...oh who are we kidding, ladies.  They wouldn't have changed a thing!

So when you're used to drinking water and you decide to enjoy 2 Cokes in succession, the bladder isn't pleased.  It identifies the black, caustic liquid as a foreign substance and wishes to rid itself of the offender as quickly as possible.  After 4 bathroom trips in the first hour, I switched to water...which resulted in another 3 trips, though better apportioned. 

Finding my way to the restroom, maneuvering through the large crowd of folks...many of them swaying...became quite an obstacle.  I had to navigate a series of steps, as well.  They were narrow, which added an extra little spice to the venture.  All I could envision was taking a spill similar to the one I had about 6 years ago at a child's birthday party...where I fell down narrow steps, hit the back of my head, and knocked myself unconscious.  It ain't a party 'til someone wants to call an ambulance for your mommy, right kids!  RIGHT!

But I made it...all 7 times.  Without falling, without so much as tripping.  Sure, I bumped into a few folks, but they didn't seem to mind...probably didn't even notice.  And then it happened out of nowhere.  The lights went dim, the colored disco ball spun, and the music began.  Oh no.  I never, ever used to turn down an opportunity to dance!

I immediately took a step toward the dance floor, but stopped myself.  I decided it was a "No" with a capital N.  I simply couldn't dance.  I'd get overheated, my eye would blank out, my legs would shake, and I'd stagger out.  But wait.  These are the people I've known since 1977.  And these are my favorite songs.  MS...may I have this dance?  Just this once?

It Takes Two!  Apache - Jump On It...complete with applicable "cowboy with lasso" dance!  Lady Gaga for good measure!  Perfect!  As predicted, I lost the majority of my vision in the left eye, my legs began to shake, and I knew it was time to take my "dance partner" home to recuperate.  But I'll tell you, my head/neck tremors coincided perfectly with "Bad Romance".  It's not the easiest song to dance to, so I just sort of moved my body a bit and let the tremors do the rest.  My girlfriends were clapping with approval, so I must've been doing something right.  Come to think of it, maybe that truly is the correct way to dance to a Gaga song?  Hey thanks, ms! 

What was I worried about, you know?  I was able to be there and have a blast!  I got to dance, which is something I've always loved to do and used to be fairly good at (though not anymore, but it's still fun)!  And I was able to reconnect with some wonderful folks that I've missed dearly over the years.  I think that's worth some leg weakness, eye blurriness, and a little peeing for good measure.  That's what panty liners are for!  Did I just say that out loud?  Wow.  I really AM just like my grandmother...

But behind every wobbly woman is a strong man to shove her into the truck.  Many thanks to my dear husband for being that strong man.  In sickness and in health...in wobblies and in strength...in temporary blindness and in clarity...he loves me through all seasons.  And I love him right back :-)))

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thankfulness...For Trials?

So there was a challenge put out there...can I say I am thankful for the past trials in my life? 

Pfffffffffffffffft!  Oh that's a good one!  :::holding stomach from laughter:::  Oh wait, they're actually serious?  Hmm.  "Trials, traumas, and tragedies".  I can think of a few right off the top of my head.  I never imagined taking a moment to be thankful for them, however.  Because I could never be thankful for those past events in and of themselves.  Yeah, yeah...I know...they want me to find the blessings that came from them.  The "lemonade".  The "half full".  I suppose it's a legit exercise in counting blessings. Guess I'll play.

Well, I suppose if it weren't for traumas/near traumas, I wouldn't have the keen intuition (that occasionally crosses over into neurosis) to protect my kids from certain situations.  I wouldn't have taken special care to learn how to defend myself.  Forget holding my keys a certain way or trying to spray someone with a highly concentrated food seasoning...I will have hit an attacker 6 ways to Sunday before he could think about my keys or whether he'd like a little salt with his pepper.  As for the tragedy?  I'd have to say it gave a portion of our family (Mommom, Mom, and myself) an extra serving of perseverance.  There sure are times we wish that 4th member of our mighty female crew were here with us.  Although, the way she was?  We might have been kicked out of more than a few of the hospitals and skilled nursing facilities Mommom's been in if she were here and helping navigate care.  I'm pretty sure certain language is prohibited when speaking with medical professionals.  It would've been fun to watch, though... 
Past trials?  Much easier to see the blessings from those.  I couldn't appreciate my husband for the man he is had I not been through the fire in the past.  I couldn't appreciate my life had it not changed direction in a 180 degree fashion.  I went from working 7 days a week in my own business, chasing medical insurance monies...to working with kids with learning differences.  I don't use "disability" to refer to my students.  Because those kids?  Are the most brilliant kids I've ever had the blessing to interact with.  Some can perform mental math equal in speed to a calculator.  Some can draw pictures that look like prized art.  Others have submitted storyboards to cartoon producers.  I'm constantly in awe that God would use me in this way.  If I've told them once, I've told them a thousand times.  When they grow up and take over the world, don't forget me:-)
Yes, ms...it's your turn.  You can stop raising your hand and yelling out, "ooooh ooooh ooooh!"  Best for last.  (spew.)
I'm  :::shaking with annoyance:::  thankful for ms, because  :::deeper and more peaceful state of mind:::  it has kept me close to God.  'Cause I know me.  I've known me a long time, now.  And what I know is, I would barrel through and do things on my own, making a lot of messes in the process.  I know this, because of  (drums rolling) self-inflicted past trials!  Hey how 'bout that!  It's like a Seinfeld episode, all tying back to the main theme!  I suppose this really is a good exercise...
If I didn't have ms, I wouldn't be able to appreciate the little things that aren't so little.  Eyesight, even when it's not perfect.  Mobility, even when it's not graceful.  Hearing, even when it's not 100%.  Cognition, even when it's running on 4 cylinders of 12.  Yes, I'm a v12:-)  I wouldn't be able to talk with others who are either newly diagnosed, or in the process of testing, and give them comfort.
Where's my comfort?  That's easy.  It's my faith.  Well, I wouldn't say it's "easy", because there are times I want others to comfort me.  But that's a tall order to place on my husband or my friends, though they do often bless me with thoughtful acts of kindness.  When my emotions are bungee jumping and my body's failing me, there's only One Who can handle me.  Yep.  God. 
Some people might have "Allstate".  I've got God.  I'm in the best of hands.  That's what I'm most thankful for.  Since the trials have shown me that, I suppose I can give thanks for them afterall:-)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I Cleaned!!!

I really, really did! 

I woke up at 7am on Day 1 of my Thanksgiving Break (capitalized, because it deserves respect) with the strong desire to...clean?  When this happens (once or twice a year) I have to be very careful to make sure it's legit.  Because if I get all the supplies out and it's not? 

After my 3rd cup of coffee, there was nothing I could do to stop myself.  I wiped the stove top.  Then, I sprayed bleach spray in the stained sink.  I watched as it morphed to...stainless!  Cool trick, Clorox!  I became even more motivated!  I attacked the counter...the face of the dishwasher...and microwave...stove...refrigerator door...and dusted the tv stand...and washed the picture window...and before I could think twice, I had the mop in my hand!  Someone call 9-1-1!

I excitedly pushed and pulled the mop with true glee, watching the kitchen floor come alive!  Adhering to my true nature, I became over-confident.  I drizzled oil soap all over the hardwood floor...and just like that, it went away.  The energy, that is.  Stupid pushing and pulling!  Get's me EVERY time!  Every time.

I felt as if the room enlarged 5x its usual size as I looked out across the floor.  I stood there, steadying myself with the mop handle, resting chin on top of hands.  My head and neck tremor gave a slight shiver.  The room spun slightly.  My daughter asked if she could finish for me, but I declined.  It resembled an athletic event at that point, and I would not throw in the...mop.

I put on some old skool funk and disco tunes, because how could I not move to those, right?  And if my head/neck tremors kicked in, maybe it would look like I meant to do it.  Like magic, the music helped me to finish my floor!  And my daughter informed me that she was proud of me:-)  If there's anything I want my kids to learn from my life, it's perseverance.  Hopefully, they'll get that part and not the "my mother barely cooked and cleaned, but she twitched and went to the bathroom a lot" part. 

Anyway, how's my floor look?  Like someone with ms mopped it, that's how.  But you know what?  It's done!  That's what's up, ms!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I Am On Break

...from work.  Not from life, nor from ms. 

And it comes in good timing, because I was on the verge.  The verge of what, I'm not sure.  But it was big, whatever "it" was. 

I could tell "it" was coming, seeing as how I was having increased difficulties getting out the door for work.  See, there's this strange thing that happens to me when the going gets really, really, ridiculously rough?  I get dysfunctional. 

Like I get up for work 2 hours before I have to walk out the door, yet I can't.  I get "lost" in my bedroom, when I'm dressing.  No outfit looks right and I begin to slowly, methodically change top after top after top.  Keep in mind, I really only have about 7 of them.  My rational brain says, "you'll wear it tomorrow, why are you obsessing?  Put something on and GO!"...but I can't.  Then I can't fasten my necklace.  Fingers won't work properly.  I spend another 5 minutes trying.  Put that necklace back and get another...more time, more anxiety, more stress.

Then it's time to blow dry my hair.  I obsess over the fact that it never looks the same from the time I style it at home to the time I arrive at work.  So I find myself stopping 2 steps out of the bathroom to turn back and look at it, then 4 steps, then to the door and back.  It's like trying to catch Santa placing the gifts under the tree...I'm trying to spot at which point it goes downhill.  I've narrowed it to somewhere between my front door and the car.  I wonder if it's that I become stressed out and run my hand through it?  Nah...can't be;-)

I get to the end of the road and can't recall if I turned off the coffee maker.  Did I unplug the hair dryer?  Did I lock the door?  Drive back...yep...all 3 are done.

Late for work.  Again.

It's not always like this, mind you.  It's just when I'm coming undone.  I was faring well with the gnawing pressures and unfortunate circumstances surrounding me as of late.  So what threw me over the edge into "Dysfunctional Land"?  The award goes to...MS! 

Can't find my words to form eloquent speech.  Fatigue x 3.  My right leg has decided that it wishes to stop and smell the roses, and my left leg is wobbly and a little floppy.  Stumble...sputter...grab onto hard surface or nearest person or fall.  Then try to find the words to describe what just happened.  It is at that point where I question whether or not it was a good idea to leave the sanctuary that is my bed.

But perhaps most troubling to me is the new head and neck tremor.  I discovered that while asking a grocery store clerk where I might find the additional quantities of sweet potato chips.  "Excuse me, sir"...head and neck shiver...(omg, what the heck was THAT???  I hope he didn't notice.  Oh great, he's looking at me sideways.  He SO noticed.  Quick!  The chips!  Ask about the chips!)  It's been happening a handful of times each day.  And night.  Even when I'm just about asleep.  Don't get me wrong, I don't usually mind tremors.  I get them often in my fingers, hands, and arms.  But I'm not a fan of these.

I often fool myself into thinking I have control over everything in my life.  I appreciate the reminder that ms provides in showing me that I control very little, if anything.  So Lord, if You don't mind...I'm giving it all back to You.  Sorry I tried to carry it on my own.  Obviously, my legs aren't strong enough to bear the load.  And, at this point, ms is making me feel a little like a puppet on several strings. 

I found a video that I identify with.  And, like this guy...I'm ending up on my knees, slumped down in humility.

It's all Yours, Lord!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Oh So Misunderstood...

Call it the full moon...or the insane stress level over the past week, but I became highly reflective this afternoon.  I have this feeling of "angry yuck" and wasn't quite sure what that was all about.  I thought it could be identified as "self-pity", but I was wrong, because there's nothing inside of me that feels sorry for myself.  I've determined it to be "misunderstood". 

Feeling misunderstood is so very frustrating.  On the outside, appearing so normal, happy, even a little shiny.  I just had my hair colored.  Shiny is a good adjective.  Inside?  I'm tired, exhausted, and beaten down.  Wait.  Maybe those 3 words are really all the same thing.  Add to that - sore, and another helping of - tired.

Maybe part of the problem is my lack of disclosing to others how I'm feeling from day to day, but come on, that's not realistic.  So I don't.  I go to work, I come home, I take care of my kids, go to bed, stare at the ceiling for a few hours...rinse, repeat.  The only time I really delve into ms and its effects on me is here, in my therapy-esque blog.  Aren't the readers lucky?

It's like walking a tightrope, really.  I want the validation, but I don't want anyone to make a fuss.  I want people to understand, but I don't want them to feel sorry for me.  Man, that's not an easy feat for anyone to achieve.  I need to remember that and not get annoyed with people when they can't magically understand where I'm at.  I still think my t-shirt idea would solve everything...

I give thanks to God for my friends who "get it".  It brings me to tears to walk out my front door to a medium DD coffee on my porch, 2 handfuls of sugar and cream balanced on the lid and a note that says, "hope you feel better".  It means the world to have a friend look me in my blurry eyed, beyond exhausted face and say, "I love you, I'm thinking of you, and I'm proud of you" for being at work today.  I don't ask for these things, but it's a welcomed blessing when they happen.

Sometimes I feel like I completely understand my life with ms, seeing as how I've been living with it for almost 12 years now.  But there are times I feel like I'm back at square one!  I think there's a reason "lunar" and "lunatic" are similar...ha!

The New Cool...

It's late on a Friday night and I'm sitting here at my computer, listening to dance music.  My cat is laying across my desk, staring at the screen.  Sometimes, if I type really, really fast, he'll try to catch the letters.  My dogs are snoring and passing gas.  My husband is snoring and passing gas.  Could someone kindly pass the Febreeze?  Thanks much.  And I have a tall glass of spring water to my immediate left.  This is the new cool.

The old cool?  Well, Friday nights meant making my hair as ginormous as possible, stuffing myself into some acid wash jeans, poppin' the collar underneath a sweater, picking up my best gal pal, and hitting the town.  If we weren't out on the town, we were at the teen dance clubs.  But mostly, out on the town, cruising up and down the local streets, racing boys who thought they had faster cars, and generally wreaking havoc.  We belonged to no one's clique.  Everyone was our friend and vice versa.  Plain and simple?  We were pretty cool girls in a pretty cool car who drew a pretty sizable crowd.  And can we all agree that the strong aroma back then was Polo cologne and Drakkar?  To me, it didn't matter that the guys bathed in it.  Stuff smelled good.  Okay, so maybe that's one positive point to the olden days...cologne vs pet gas.

I saw my ol' best gal pal in the grocery store a bit ago.  Haven't seen her in probably 20 years, but thought of her often with nothing but the fondest of memories.  When we noticed each other, we both let out a shriek that was audible throughout the entire store!  People were staring as we squeezed one another until our eyes felt funny.  It was determined then and there...we're still cool.  Because now, we're pretty cool ladies who drive pretty cool family cars and yes, we still draw a crowd. 

I used to love dancing under the strobe lights in the club.  I'd have them playing "The Men All Pause" in no time, because how cool was that to dance to?  But now?  I enjoy seated jamming to "Who's That Chick".  Not Madonna's version, I'm talking Rihanna and David Guetta.  Seriously, if I tried to dance to this with my stiff and sore and creaky ms body?  I'd end up in traction, but it would be well worth it.

Throwback mall trips are now grocery store extravaganzas.  Light-to-light races against silly boys is now a speedy game of what I call Traffic Frogger, because I have to go to the bathroom and am praying to make it. 

MS sure has thrown a wrench into things, but I'm pretty sure this is the new cool for most of us 30-40 somethings...neurological disease or not.  Yes.  This is the new cool.  And the men?  They still pause, but for very different reasons.  Maybe because I've tripped over nothing, dropped something, walked into a pole in the aisle of the grocery store, or achieved a week's worth of groceries in a tiny cart...nonetheless, I've still got it, baby!

I wouldn't mind a remix of my old favorite, where I sub in my own lyrics.  "The men. All. Pause. When I walk into the wall...the men. All. Pause.  The men. All. Pause. When I drop that jarofgrapejellyanditsmashesonthefloor...whoo!"  Clean up on aisle 8?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I Hereby Declare No-Work Wednesday For All MSers!!!

Wouldn't that be great?  Off on Wednesdays?  Or is it just me who seems to need that midweek rejuvenation?  Because I'm dragging come Thursday.  Sometimes, literally.

Today is that day.  Dragging Thursday.  I slosh my legs forward and backward and call it "walking".  Yes, I know it's a blessing to slosh...but sloshing makes me tired. Very. Tired.  You know, on account of the friction and all.  And not in that 70's corduroy way.  This is feet on floor friction.  And if someone is daring enough to touch me?  ZAP!  Do I feel badly that they got a shock?  Not really.  Welcome to my world, man!

Speaking of "Tired. Very. Tired.", I nearly fell asleep at my desk during the small amount of free time I had.  Clearly, I can't be trusted with any amount of free time...just like when I was a kid.  Wearing corduroy, bell-bottom pants.  With great friction.

The thought of going home to 4 excited dogs, who feel the most appropriate manner of greeting me is by flailing themselves against my legs, barking incessantly, makes me tired.  Let me tell you who I'm no match for.  Our basset hound.  He's long, he's strong, and he's low to the ground.  He's got the football-style chop block nearly perfected.  Thankfully, I fall in stages.  Not so thankfully, he climbs on top of me at each stage and smooshes his nose into my face, then tries to lick me in the eye once I'm completely flat on the floor.  I so love him.  Like a heart attack.  Very. Tired. 

The process of disrobing from professional attire and accessories is exhausting.  Come on, it's the 4th workday in a row of dragging a brush through my hair, lifting the bottle of hairspray, shooting myself in the face on account of a poorly timed finger tremor, re-aiming for the hair, transitioning to the bedroom, pulling dress pants over lead-filled legs, stretching a blouse over my fatigued arms, and carefully pressing the tiny gold topper of my bottle of Coco Mademoiselle lightly so as to smell juuust right...crap.  Forgot socks and shoes.  Back to bedroom.  Undoing all of that?  Tired. Very. Tired.

The Official No-Work Wednesday for MSers would mean, at least in my case:  Less black scuff marks on the tile floor (sloshing leaves a mark).  A surplus of coffee at Dunkin' Donuts (because I need 4x the volume on Thurs and Fri).  And a longer life for my rolling desk chair.  I go from not sitting in it at all, to basically living in it.  If I could scoot myself all the way up the hall to the main office, I would.  Either that, or someone should really walk the sign-in sheet down to me.  At least on Dragging Thursday and Forget It Friday.

These are just a few of the many benefits.  You know it's bad when you greet your boss, she takes one look at you, and says, "oh".  "Oh" is code for "you look like you died and nobody told you".  It means "you have the potential to scare small children looking like that and shuffling across the floor like Frankenstein".  It also means, "you could quite possibly be bad for business today".  Thus...No-Work Wednesday.  If I were allowed to take this honorary day off, I'd be fresh as a daisy on Thursday and Friday!  A daisy, I say!  A blurry, confused, disoriented daisy...like the one behind this one!  But a daisy nonetheless...

Who's with me!

Saturday, November 13, 2010


As previously mentioned...very emotional week.  Lots of communications with medical personnel on behalf of my grandmother.  Moreso than the previous 9 constant months of her courageous battle with a staph infection that has comfortably situated itself in her lumbar spine.  It has taken her mobility.  She's on a feeding tube because, and I quote, "I'd rather be fed through my stomach than eat the crap they throw on my tray in these hospitals".  Duly noted, Mommom. 

Given the latest developments and decisions that needed to be made, only "face to face" visits would do, in lieu of our usual nightly phone calls.  No matter that she's an hour away.  It's coming down to the nitty gritty, and it's all quite scary for us.  But when she's looking to me for comfort, I can't crack.  When we're discussing the possibilities, I can't cry.  When an infectious disease team and a neurosurgery team are speaking to me about my grandmother as "the patient" in an unfeeling manner, I have to categorize that in my mind and communicate effectively.  It all boils down to the fact that...I have to control my emotions. 

That's kinda funny.  If they only knew that my med chart contains the reports of several neurologists, which confirm my most prevalent ms symptoms as "emotional lability and occasional pseudobulbar affect".  If they only knew that some of my daily fatigue is the result of trying to reign in and quantify my emotions...which are either really, really high - or really, really low.  If they only knew how often I go off to a solitary place (usually the bathroom) in order to recite the verse, "emotions can lead me astray, but the Word of God stands firm".  I control what others are able to see fairly well, except the occasional pseudobulbar affect.  The only control I have over that is...where I run to so they can't see it unfold! 

I was doing alright with maintaining a very "put together" facade.  I successfully made it through my work week, made it through screaming banshee children, and through those delicate conversations...all with a trademark smile.  That's my usual M.O., except on the inside, I'm varying between elation and sadness...for no good reason.  But this time?  Anger is visiting with no variation.  Just anger.  Huge. Anger.

The proverbial "cherry on top" came when a "friend" of my grandmother's stopped by to visit the other day and I happened to be there.  This woman's a real peach.  As my grandmother lay fighting for her life, this woman comments that she should get a wig, on account of her thinning hair.  And where is her make up, because she looks awful.  She's had the audacity to call my mother and question her as to whether or not she was doing "enough".  Nevermind that she's in the top ranked hospital.  She freely says negative things to my grandmother about the care she's receiving and belittles my mother.  Personal Rule #1:  My mother is off limits.  She's quiet.  She's sweet.  And she'd never say a bad thing to anyone, even if she really wanted to.  Because of this, I've seen people walk all over her...but she keeps it all in.  Guess who I'm not? 

From the minute this woman sat down, staring intently at my grandmother as we watched a soap opera together (why do people do that?  Stare at the sick person?), she carried on and on about how she doesn't see why "they" can't do this or that.  "They" meant my mother.  Oh temper temper...quick!  Scripture!  EMOTIONS LEAD ME ASTRAY BUT THE WORD OF....then I heard, "Tina.  Why can't she just..."  And that was it.  I let her have it.  Well, in the most controlled manner I could, but I let her have it all the same.

Another Temper Temper Test failed. 

I apologized to my grandmother when the lady exited stage left.  I was afraid she'd be upset with me, but she laughed and complimented me on my delivery.  I held her hand and felt the tears coming.  I was fighting them off with my every fabric...and just when they were about to fall?  Laughter.  Hysterical, pseudobulbar laughter!  My grandmother?  Also experiences pseudobulbar affect...and she began to laugh.  Hysterically.  At me.  And we continued to laugh.  At one another. 

You know, maybe pseudobulbar affect isn't a bad thing afterall!  Plus, it's really fun to say.  And how many points would that be in a game of Scrabble?  I can't think of a better person to share it with than...my Mommom.  Because my Mommom's cooler than...

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
Do not be afraid, for I am with you

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Not Now, Fatigue!

Why is it my old friend, Fatigue, chooses the worst of times to show up?  Don't get me wrong.  Fatigue never left.  Fatigue is like the party guest who stays until the hosts are dozing off.  Fatigue is seriously annoying.

This has been an emotional week.  Sure, it's only Tuesday?  That should tell you something.  Emotions stink.  They exhaust me.

I've not gotten much sleep the past few nights, because my mind wouldn't shut itself down to rest.  I had to increase my usual 2 cups of coffee to 4 in order to look alive at work.  Today, because I was gearing up for the possibility of pulling an all-nighter down at the city hospital with my grandmother, I had my 4 cups in the morning, plus a biggie sized pumpkin spice latte, plus a ginormous soda.  My BCC (Blood Caffeine Content) was a .32, more than 3x the legal limit.  Got through my workday with minor tremors and received a call that she would not have surgery, thus no all-nighter.  I went down to visit for awhile, especially given the emotion surrounding the events of the day. 

I was fine until I walked out of the hospital and hit the cool air.  Fatigue washed over me like a wave.  A really, really big one.  With nearly an hour drive ahead of me, all I could say to myself was..."ugh crap".  Time to turn the radio way up and scream sing!  My singing is bad enough, but if I'm screaming it?  Not only am I effectively countering a bout of narcolepsy, but other motorists are safe as well!

...but there were no good songs on.  None.  I methodically switched between every station on the presets and realized that, hey, I'm totally not watching the road.  Too tired.  All those red lights in front of me make me anxious.  WAIT!  RED MEANS STOP!  And I was only about 10 minutes into my commute.  I knew it was going to be a long and painful drive.  Eyes heavy...foot heavy...wishing I could push a button and teleport home.  To bed.

All of the sudden, I heard the radio announcer say, "coming in at #4, the new song...Whip My Hair!" 

Whip My Hair?  Okay, I'll turn it up. 

OMG I'M AWAKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Within the first 30 seconds of the song, I went from falling asleep in the driver's seat to wanting to plant my foot to the floor and drive head on into the hardest thing I could find.  Unhooking the seatbelt first, of course. 

Obviously, I exercised self-control and didn't do such a thing.  Thank you, Whip My Hair, for saving my life and that of my fellow motorists by dislodging me from the grips of Fatigue and keeping me alert on the road.  Now I'm just hoping the song wears off so I can get a good night's sleep!

(Disclaimer:  If anyone is offended by my assessment of said song, because they love it?  Please don't be.  I'm thankful for it, seriously.  It saved me!  How can I not love it as well!)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Taking MS Out For A Hike

A two mile hike.  Great time?  Yes.  Great friends to hike with?  You betcha.  Great idea?  Nope.  Why not?  Because there are no sidewalks or roads on a trail in the woods. 

The leaves had completely covered the hiding rocks and tree branches along the trail.  And the first half was all downhill.  Downhill + stealth rocks and branches = head bent downward to keep eyes on feet the entire time.  Head bent downward entire time = dizziness + leg fatigue.

But I got to see this!

Wait!  That's the bathroom.  I meant to say...I got to see THIS!

...and THIS!

...and THIS!

...it's a tree root growing out from in between two large rocks.  It reminds me of Poltergeist.  I was a little afraid.  All I could imagine was it attacking my face.

Toward the end of the trail, my legs began to feel as if they weighed about 350lbs.  Each.  By the time I got home, I had tinglies and fuzzies and electrical currents running down both legs.  Within the hour, my feet turned into blocks of ice.  Keep in mind, as you view this picture, that I'm only a size 8.  But with two pairs of my husband's work socks...a non-matching pair, because I took them from the box of lone survivor socks...I look more like a size 13.

I don't know what song you think of when you see this shot, but all I hear is...

I'm bringin' sexy back!  Yeah!  In fact, I warned my husband that he may not want to look for too long, because I can't be responsible for the after effects.  Multiple pairs of mismatched socks could very well be the hot new item at Victoria's Secret.  Allow me to let you in on the secret.  My feet are still cold.

It's as if I've stood at an outdoor hockey rink for 4 hours sans coffee.  I can't feel my toes or tops of my feet.  And I'm really, really tired.  However, this feeling, and lack thereof, is quite a hindrance to restful sleep.  But you know what?

I'd do it all over again.  Being out in the woods under the blue sky, puffy clouds, and changing leaves reminded me of when I was a little girl, out on "hunting" trips with my father.  He'd dress me up in bright orange, so as to not be mistaken for a small deer, and take me out in the woods to watch the animals.  He showed me how groundhogs would stand upright if you whistled to them.  They instantly became my favorite wild animal and still hold that title:-)  We never actually hunted, because he knew I would have wrestled his rifle away from him in protection of the animals. 

The retro trip was wonderful, but the friends I was out on the trail with were amazing.  Just like my days of standing at outdoor ice hockey rinks for hours, feet frozen numb...the experience was well worth the physical discomfort. 

Time with friends is priceless.  Being able to even complete such a hike is a tremendous blessing.  And being out in God's beautiful creation is beyond words.  All except for that freak tree root pictured above.  I'm pretty sure that wasn't of God.

Thank you, Lord, for this good day...