Monday, November 25, 2013

Taking MS to Jury Duty


MS and I went to jury duty today.  Jury duty at County court.  Which is in a busy city.  With parking garages and parallel parking.  And lots of one way streets and lanes that randomly end with little notice.  Don't forget functional railroad tracks.

I don't know about you, but one of my biggest coping strategies - developed over the course of 14 very stubborn years of living with ms - is "habit".  Like a Wonder Twin power, if you will.  For instance, I grew up in the area in which I reside.  I park in the same row at the grocery store and the gym so that I don't lose my car.  If I can't find a spot in that row?  I leave.  I know about how far the restrooms are at any place I go, which translates into knowing exactly how long I can (or can't) hold it.  Ya heard?

Take me out of my little town, my office, my grocery store, or my gym?  Well, let's just talk it out...

Google said today's drive would take 43 minutes, so I left 1hour and 15 minutes ahead of my arrival time.  What Google didn't account for was sun glare, road construction, school buses, and the fact that every single person in the world was driving to work at that hour, though none were in any particular hurry.

While that brightly shining sun poses difficulty for each and every one of us on a morning commute, it (along with any extreme brightness or darkness) borders disaster for me.  The reality is?  My eyes do not adjust very well since the flare of the early 2000's.  By the time I reached the city, about 5 minutes after I was due to report for duty, I could only see a few letters on the street signs.  I was so busy trying to solve the Wheel of Fortune puzzle at each intersection that I didn't notice the lane closure up ahead.  At that point, I had 2 choices...#1) be even later, due to the miles of cars who got the memo and were actually in the correct lane...or #2) get back in touch with my inner drag racer.

#2 ;-)

Parking garage was next.  Fellow ms'ers with eyes like mine!  What's the most exciting thing we can do when our eyes are seeing nothing but white spots?  If you said, "drive into darkness!" are on my level!!!  By God's grace, and only that, did I get my car into a space.  I parked on a floor that was fairly empty so that I didn't risk putting black pinstripes down the sides of any fellow motorists.

Fast forward to entering the courthouse, where the elderly security guard with the gruff tone was barking at us to put our car keys and cell phones in the bowls prior to placing our purses on the conveyor belt.  As I approached, I couldn't help but feel that it was my duty to not just be considered a juror, but to make this guy smile.  So I said, in all my outward snark, "where are you goin' (with my keys and phone)?"  To which he stopped, stared, threw me a half smile, and said, "to hell, maybe!"

Winning :-)

From there, I had to be escorted to the marshalling room (because I still had the ginormous white spots in my eyes a la flash bulb and could not read).  Apparently, I was walking directly into a court room and that sort of thing is frowned upon.  A very sweet attorney saw my near-tastrophe and guided me to safety.

My eyesight slooowwwwly returned in the marshalling room, where facebook kept me company and a select few jurors pointed and laughed at/with me for my interactions with the security officer, or maybe for the fact that I needed to be taken to the proper room, or maybe because I decided that a bottle of water did not qualify under the "no food or beverage allowed in this room" designation, but I didn't want to get into trouble, so I concealed it in my purse and drank it that way.  Because come on.  That ms thing that randomly grabs me by the throat makes me kinda thirsty.

:::another perfect opportunity for the "I'm not drunk, I have MS" t-shirt:::

The rest of the day was rather uneventful.  Thank You, Jesus.  Until it was time to leave.

The parking garage?  Yeah, about that.  I never looked to see which floor I was on, so I had to stop the elevator at each floor, get out, walk up to where my car would have been, had it been the proper floor...rinse and repeat.

I finally found my car, but the spaces that were open on each side of me?  Weren't anymore.  Not only that, but I was parked in...both cars over their lines and within approximately 6 inches of my car.  No matter.  The diagonal parking made it possible for me to squeeze into the one rear door.  I began utilizing this strange combination of twisting and pushing and pulling and stuffing myself into the slim opening of the rear door.  All I could think of was that time I got my head stuck in the wrought iron railing when I was a child.  Mom had to put Blue Bonnet margarine on my ears.  How embarrassing it would be to get stuck in my own car door - and not by the ears?  I doubted that anyone at the security booth would have butter, and I was positive I wouldn't want it if they did.  Alas, despite my laughter and resulting weakness, I found enough leg strength to push myself through the door.  That's when I realized I was not alone.  A woman had witnessed my sheer brilliance and...cheered for me.

I don't know what to say, people.  I just keep it classy ;-)

I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried.  Thus the title of my blog.

Be well, friends!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Getting Back on The Horse

That awkward moment when................. wake up at 6:30am with a burst of energy and drag a laundry basket full of towels that you can't see over the top of down 2 sets of stairs and get those in the washer and then come upstairs and unload the dishwasher and get the coffee on and preheat the oven for hash brown potato patties and whip the eggs up in a bowel for french toast bend your head down to test your body to see whether or not today is another day of hanging out with your BFF, L'hermitte...but he isn't there.  Neither is the gaggle of spiders that had been crawling all over you.  And that little guy with the sharp object?  Nope, he's not hanging out on your left shin anymore.  The belt around your neck is gone, just like the vice in your chest.  And you must have kicked your blanket of depression off the bed at some point last night, because it's not tangled up all around you.

I had that awkward moment this morning.  And yes.  That's pretty much what a single thought sounds like in my 200mph mind.

I suppose I can consider this flare gone, at least for this moment in time?  Looking back, I realize it had been around for a few months.  I tried everything that my medicinally challenged body can do to speed the "get outta here already" process along, but failed those as well.  I ate and drank my dark berries.  I switched from coffee to green tea + honey (GASP!).  I tried, desperately, to exercise.  For the first time in 14yrs of life with this very unwelcomed guest, exercise seemed to make matters worse.  Walking hurt. A lot.  Riding a stationary bike was better, but made everything vibrate before going numb.  I couldn't recover for days and, by recover, I don't mean "let's do that again".  It was more like "let's just sit nice and still".

Just this week, someone at work had asked if I'd lost weight.  I politely smiled, thanked her, and said I hadn't noticed.  Total lie.  I haven't lost weight, but I've certainly lost a great deal of tone and strength.  As complimentary as she intended to be was as hard as her kind comment hit me.  I'm so used to an invisible disease and I've always liked it that way.  Looking fine on the outside and fighting an inner war suits me just fine.  But now, someone saw that my clothes aren't hanging off of me in the same way.  What looks like weight loss?  Is atrophy.

I came to the conclusion, while slouched like a blob in my desk chair, that this may just be my new "normal".  MS-y, depressed-y, fluffy, saggy, and kinda weak.  I had a lengthy conversation with God, which went pretty well, considering the fact that I was totally content with my pity party.  As a result, I was reminded of all my "can do"s.  My thoughts moved from my MS-y limitations to my family, friends, and the amazing stuff my kids are doing...all that they're becoming.  I knew my weekend would be stellar.  Breakfast with a friend!  A special Saturday night worship service!  Hang-out time with my daughter!  My son's playoff hockey games!  I realized that I have too much to look forward to...too much to give thanks for...and there's simply not enough time to feel depressed-y about some atrophy.  And that it's okay not to accessorize my work attire with necklaces.  Because with that belt-across-my throat sensation, I'd rather throw a necklace than wear it.

See?  I got over myself.  With the Lord's help :-)

But?  I suppose waking up this way means it may be safe to try and get back on the horse.  I'll definitely need a stool and lots of handles with which to drag myself back on, but...I suppose trying is the only option...

Be well, friends!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Follow Up to "What's On My Mind" - our son's healing

I had such an overwhelming response to my last post that I thought I'd do a quick follow up :-)

(thank you, really...)

My son went to the dance.  Well, maybe we should refer to it as "the sit and talk", because that's what he said he did.  And you know?  He *loved* sitting and talking with his beautiful friend.

...yet another thing he struggled to do years ago.  Hold conversations with peers.

In fact, he and I will occasionally joke about the one instance, during social story homework, where his inner sarcasm peeked through.  It nearly caused me to wreck my car with both of us in it.

The story:

When did a mother (who worked a full-time-plus-over-time job, not-to-mention-dragging-MS-around) squeeze a portion of that homework in?  On our 45 min drives home from therapy appts.  I would slide the bottom of the ginormous packet under my thigh, quickly look down at it to read, and send a question his way.  Exhausted...he would process, sometimes longer than others, and present his answer.  We would then discuss whether or not that was the best response.  I recited the following question:

me:  "Can a hot dog be angry?"

:::one miss-i-pp-i...two miss-i-pp-i.................twelve miss-i-pp-i:::

me:  "Bud, did you hear me?  Can. a. hot. dog. be. angry."

him:  "...yes."


I was shocked.  Stunned.  Trying to think of ways to help him understand that hot dogs did not have emotion, though maybe they should?  Who are we to judge?  I stared into my rearview mirror with mind blown wonder...and drove off the road.  But.  Once I got the car back on asphalt, removed my heart from my throat, and regrouped...I mirror checked once more.  I saw his face, pointed out his window toward the beautiful scenery we were blessed with on these appts, and saw something even more beautiful.  His smile.

me:  "so you're kidding?"

him:  "...yes.  What kind of question is that?"

me:  "dude..."

While his struggles are behind him and I give the Lord all praise and glory for every ounce of healing, I can see the abundant blessings that came out of the journey.  The hours he spent with therapists at that facility gave me hours of hermit time in their chapel.  I didn't fit in with the other moms who clipped coupons for hours on end and talked about their homemaking responsibilities.  They just reminded me of who I wasn't, so I went to hang out with my Lord...where I always fit in.  Another blessing is the very close relationship my son and I have.  He will not hesitate to talk through things he is experiencing as a teenager.  To 'check himself', if you will.  He is all the more in tune with the emotions of others.  He is empathetic, nearly to a fault.  Most importantly, he recognizes the Lord's hand in his life.

Some of you have asked what therapies we did that helped.  We had done many, but the program that helped bring about his healing was through The Family Hope Center:

I'm not saying it's quick, easy, or the cure-all for everyone...I'm saying it worked for us.  In addition, certain facets of the program helped restore function to my left side after a particularly evil flare.  Thankfully, help and/or healing come in so many packages and God is the ultimate multi-tasker.

The money shot:

And this is the limit:

Be blessed, friends :-)

Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.