Saturday, April 23, 2011

What's That Smell?

I've lost a great deal of my sense of smell over the past 3 or 4 weeks.  I don't recall it being gradual in any way, moreso just...bang.  I don't smell things like I used to.  And I'm not quite sure what to make of it.

My uncanny powers were reminiscent of Jaime Sommers, aka The Bionic Woman.  Except I don't recall whether or not she had superfreak powers of smell.  Hearing?  Yes.  But I ask you...what's more important?  To hear the train coming at you?  Or to smell it 5 miles away.  I say smell.  Hands down.

I used to smell the cigarette the guy 5 cars up was smoking.  Forget following a diesel powered truck.  I'd immediately turn off the fan and pull my shirt up over my nose.  I bionically recognized that our home oil tank had sprung a pinhole sized leak, 'cause I smelled the oil...2 floors up.  I can be solely credited with preserving the lives of our family and pets with my bionic nose when our previous home filled with carbon monoxide.  I remember my husband losing his patience with me as he slept that night.  I woke him and said, "something's very wrong...I smell it.  Don't you smell it?" and he was all, "oh you gotta be kidding me.  Go to sleep." and I was all, "it's exhaust or something, like carbon monoxide!" and he was all, "that doesn't even HAVE a scent!  You're CRAZY!  GO TO SLEEP!"  Instead, I ran out to walmart, bought a CO detector, plugged it in, and it was screaming within seconds.  Pack us up, big boy!  I'm crazy alright...crazy BIONIC!

Ordinary things like going out to eat were challenging.  I was hit with the scent barrage of every dish in the restaurant and every flavor of alcohol in the bar area and at neighboring tables.  As soon as I'd get home, I'd toss my clothes in the laundry and wash my hair.  But I had lunch a few weeks back with a friend and, despite being seated right next to the bar, I had the most enjoyable lunch ever.  No smells!  I can now cook and burn meals without being overpowered by the smell.  I no longer have to jog through the laundry soap aisle of the grocery store.  I can even open a can of spaghettios without gagging at the smell.

Wait.  Is this impairment of sense of smell...or am I now normal?  Because I have to say that it's a bit liberating!

I looked up "multiple sclerosis heightened sense of smell" and found that, not only is it a real thing, it's got a cool name!  "Hyperosmia"! 

I'm not sure I want my freak smelling powers back.  Hey, can keep that one, kay?  I've got a few CO monitors in the house.  It's safe now.  Plus, my husband enjoys the fact that I'll now heat up spaghettios for him.  It's taken our marriage to the next level...

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Waking Up In Worry = Journey Around Town!

Ever wake up in this sense of...doom?  Yeah.  I woke up like that this morning.  Wide eyed, feeling approximately 150lbs of heaviness in my chest, worries playing over in my head.  All out of nowhere.  At 5:17am.  Joyce Meyer writes about the Battlefield of The Mind.  I had that goin' on, let me tell ya, and it was extremely detailed!  It went like this:

Mind: "yesterday wasn't a very good day for you.  All that cognitive stuff?  Whatever will you do without me?"
me: "I am a child of God.  He leadeth me..."
Mind: "and you don't even have a neurologist anymore.  (mine retired)  No one knows your case like she does.  You're SO up the creek."
me: "I don't need a neurologist right now, didn't even go in over a year."
Mind: "you need a neurologist, dummy.  You have ms."
me:  "casting all my anxieties on the Lord, for He..."
Mind: "you're not going to be able to make that mortgage payment you promised, because you forgot about needing oil.  Again.  You're not going to catch up.  Ever." 
me: "God will provide"...I looked over at my sleeping, snoring husband.
Mind: "John is disappointed in you.  He works all the time.  You can't even keep things straight.  Whatever will you do without me?  He'll have enough of all this sooner or later."
me: "John's not disappointed in me.  I talked it out with him last night and he said he could never feel that way"...still staring at my sleeping, snoring husband.  Eyes welling up with tears.
Mind: "no neurologist...bills you can't pay...forgetful...not what you used to be..."
me: "that's it!  I'm outta here!"

Up I rose, pulled a sweatshirt over my head, stepped into my sneakers, grabbed my keys, phone, and set out to find the highest points in town from which to watch the sunrise.  Wanna come with me on a narrated tour?  Okay then!  C'mon!

Ah yes, that explains it.  This is the "black cloud" that was comfortably situated over my house, as taken from a local school parking lot.  I sat there, thinking.  But the thoughts weren't positive ones and I was still arguing with myself.  So I thought...hey, there are other views.  Ones where my mind isn't still louder than the Lord's beauty and His promises.

I drove across town to a church parking lot on a hill.  Black cloud is gone;-)

And then a guy came into the church parking lot and I felt funny standing there in my pajamas, hair looking fierce, taking pictures with my phone. Surely his mind was telling him, "hmph, looks like the guys at the institution forgot to pick one up." So I went back home and took this shot from my front porch.

Home sweet home. Negative thoughts - gone. Anvil on chest - gone. Sleeping, snoring husband -upstairs. Beautiful, healthy children - safely tucked into their beds. Four dogs - staring at me through the picture window.

This is why I love the sky so much. It's like a daily letter from God that says, "I love you, I got you covered...and I'm waiting for you to really get that."

Like paper to rock, the Lord's sky covers my unruly mind ;-)  

Saturday, April 16, 2011

"I Just Didn't Have It"

That's what my son said to me tonight after his dek hockey game. 

Poor guy.  Didn't matter what he did, it was one of those "day late, dollar short" deals.  In one instance, he swiped at the ball with such force that he knocked himself off his own feet and fell right on his back end...ball rolling past him for a breakaway going the opposite way.  And I heard the opposite side of the dek go up in a combination of laughter and "OOOOOH!".  Oh temper temper.  I sat there, openly sharing how "p.o.'ed" I was at that response of adults to a kid's misfortune.  Except I didn't abbreviate.  Consider that my confession of how, once again, my temper got the better of me (sorry, Lord).  He came off the dek after the game and said, "I just didn't have it tonight".  And I said, "it's okay, didn't need it.  Your team had it."  They won decidedly, 3-0.


I prepped for our school's annual pancake breakfast for several hours last night.  I set up an entire cafeteria full of tables and 108 folding chairs.  I swept the floor with a broom and collected 4 huge trash cans of garbage.  All in my dress clothes, complete with clicky shoes.  I then hit the store and shopped for the bulk items.  By the time I was at the register, after about 4 straight hours of physical movement, I was spinning, tingly, numb, and cloudy headed.  And this morning at 7am, when it was time to get myself back to school to complete the 58 additional tasks prior to opening the doors?  I couldn't think straight.  I set the alarm off in the school and couldn't remember the I walked away and figured I'd just give the cops some pancakes for their trouble if they came by.  I was laying things down and walking away from them.  I banged into 2 walls and a door.  I closed the bathroom stall door on my hand.  I couldn't remember half of what I needed to do, yet this was at least my 4th year of running this event.  I was literally walking in circles.  A gentleman said, "do you have a cash box?"...and I couldn't even answer said simple question.  Commence verbal spew in 3...2...

"I shouldn't have even done this today!  I can't even answer the simplest of questions!  I don't even know what I'm doing!  I just don't have it today!!!"

Funny how, at my son's hockey game, I'm sure I looked like a total sports nut mom...mad at her kid for having an off game.  Not at all.  My frustration was for him.  Because I felt it all morning.  I was embarrassed that I couldn't function in a normal fashion today.  I knew I wasn't firing on all cylinders, or even 1/4 of them.  But as I was explaining to him that you can't always be on top of your game, my experiences this morning became so clear.

Because yesterday afternoon, a friend carted all of the cases of food into the kitchen and stocked them for me so I wouldn't have to carry them. Another friend helped me set the tables into the late night hours.  This morning, a group of friends immediately got started with cooking the food, pouring the drinks, and even ran to get me a coffee.  And when I was in the midst of literally walking in a circle, another friend said, "you've done so much. Why don't you just relax and let us take care of the rest?"

I didn't have it today, but I didn't need "team" had it!  I'm ridiculously blessed, right?  Right:-) 

Prov 17:17 (NCV) “A friend loves you all the time, and a brother helps in time of trouble”.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Mud Run Water Girl

I remember when I was an athlete and the joke was how like, if you didn't play well, you'd be a "bench warmer" or "riding the pine" or a "water boy/girl".

Ah yes.  I do recall being an athlete.  Playing ball up and down the east coast.  Newspaper interviews and articles.  Accolades, recognition, trophies.  I'm not saying that to brag, seriously.  I'm just trying to illustrate the fact that I've always been involved in sports and that athletic contests were a way of life.  Like...I was swinging "fat bat" wiffleball bats and kicking soccer balls while the other little girls were playing with dolls.  As a teenager, I was in the batting cage and the gym while the other teenage girls were out at the mall.  In college, I was in the fieldhouse having a catch and/or playing basketball with the men while the other girls were hanging out in their respective sorority houses.  As a wife and working woman, I was still in the gym, still playing sports.  As a new mother?  Same thing.  Athletics defined me.  And then came those two little letters.

Athletics no longer define me and praise God for that.  All those trophies?  Are in my parents' attic.  The accolades?  No one remembers me.  The newspaper articles are yellowed from age.  The things I hung onto so tightly and measured my worth by?  Temporary.  Wait, not all of it.  The injuries are still with me.  I can tell when it's going to rain.  I still can't throw a ball very hard or far without the sting of the elbow injury I iced and medicated through for years.  Now?  My peace, comfort, and strength are found in the Lord.  Nearly losing my son brought me face to face with Him.  And then, hearing those two little letters?  Well, my life was turned upside down and inside out.  But some things never change..................I still like to get dirty................shhhhhh:-)

So when I heard there was a Mud Run?  I began to salivate.  When I looked at the course, I knew there was no way I could compete.  I felt a deep sadness for about 2.2 seconds until I saw a comment from a dear friend that read, and I quote:  "I'll be doing it for you!  It's the reason I want to do it! : ))"

I most graciously embrace my role as "water girl".  I'm honored to serve the athletes I was once a part of.  I'm humbled that my friends would consider me while they're out there giving it their all.  And one thing I can promise is that I will be the muddiest water girl of all...because I am SO diving in once my service is done ;-)

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. 1 Peter 4:10-11.