Wednesday, July 27, 2005

No Post Today

All right, I lied: this really is a post. An apology, rather.

My semi-annual visit with the neurologist did not go well yesterday morning. The deflation stuck with me all day and into a night of work. Finally I requested the next night off: I really need time to reflect on it all.

(Actually I told the boss I was going to get stinking, s---faced drunk and purge the whole memory. Can't do that; memory problems are part of the trouble. Still, I got the time off with his blessings.)

A working day requires so much preparation and ritual, I don't have time to truly ponder a problem, let alone solve it. Already I feel more positive. Using methods I learned in Recovery, Inc., I was able to calm down and view things more logically. Having conquered my own defeatist babbling of the brain, I moved on to just enjoying the day.

And what a day! Well, three hours anyway, my usual limit. GolferGirl buddy met me at Barnes and Noble for coffee and a discussion of how to blow what time I could muster. Not surprising to anyone who knows us, we wound up at T.J. Max. Found a few things for VeggieGirl's birthday on Saturday, and saw tons of stuff I would buy if money were no object. But it is. After a quick triage, we exited with a much pared-down inventory of treasure. The game's the chase, after all. Then on to Charlie's for Philly cheese-steak subs and chips. We are never able to visit so long, and it was refreshing. We have a lot in common. What's not in common, we discuss and enjoy. It's good to have girlfriends.

So life is good, after all.

Little Pond

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Pearls melting in the heat

My buddy PK of Pearls and Dreams is facing a really tough time. The heat out there is breaking records and exacerbating her physical woes. Please pop on over and add a comment and a prayer for her. When I'm stuck inside waiting out the heat, my computer and blogging is about the only thing that helps. Please let her know we are thinking about her. Thanks.

Little Pond

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Musings on the meaning of life

Today's post to Pat's Pond are some simple links to two remarkable stories and the men involved. They got me making comparisons to my own story. (You have a story, right? Everyone does. What's yours?) Not even remotely so dramatic, but my story. So far, anyway.

I don't believe that my first major MS exacerbation, while serious indeed, could have been immediately fatal. But the change of life I experienced was certainly profound. I am constantly mindful that my neurologist, Mulki Bhat, was like a gift from heaven, who provided a role model for me when I needed a new sense of direction. The consummate gentleman, Dr. Bhat was gentle, kind and firm. Extremely well-read and open-minded, a medical demigod, whose deity was only partly obscured by his own natural humility. (Bet he would hate this paean of praise...) He seemed to easily accomplish what I wanted: to treat each and every human being encountered as the most important person in the universe at that moment. And he led me through the most difficult few years of my life so far, making me feel remarkable for my own fortitude and stamina. I want to do the same for others in my own sphere, in my own little pond.

Every now and then I remember that every person I meet is the most important person in the world. Not only to me but surely to someone else. (Rather like the old saw about how everyone has a mother.) Each person should be treated as the unique living soul he or she was created to be. The rest of my life is becoming the somewhat halting struggle to remember and implement this theory, vision, goal, or calling. Guess I don't need a perfectly healthy body for that. It seems so do-able, and the timeline is great: I have the rest of my life to work on it.

So, even if Multiple Sclerosis were to eventually kill me, it will not have taken away my life. My life is always looking and reaching outward, while searching, probing inward; I won't let it be about my body and its annoying failures. Everyone has that to some extent: it goes with the territory. It's called MS, not ME. I have plenty to do, trying not to harm others with my actions or words. That's the most important skill I can hone. Good thing I've got a lifetime.

Little Pond

Monday, July 18, 2005

Roseland Hangover

Roseland trip was lots of fun, if rather abbreviated. The sun peeked in and out, but we didn't see rain until we headed back down Route 14, along Lake Seneca. This always seems to happen in the summer. Daughter VeggieGirl carried the tubes, and has about the same intolerance for heights as mine. She also had to work the next day, same as me. Cloudiness spared me the heat exhaustion I usually experience at parks.

The stairs are very high, and tiring for me. But the lovely lazy-river ride and the wave pool are both manageable for anyone. And there is a kiddie-splash pool that's easy too. We did the place in about 2 1/2 hours. With the round-trip drive, it's a pretty long day at about six hours. Stopped for a sweet breakfast at the Montage Restaurant of a lakeside motel just above Watkins Glen. Had to do battle with the WineFest traffic, you know.

Lunch was a sitdown hotdog and pretzel with nacho cheese. That must have been loaded with MSG, because I am (as is VeggieGirl, who usually is not allergic) paying the price today. Cramps and, well, you can guess. Treat the stuff with Maalox and antihistamine. And plenty of rest. Near a clean, well-aired powder room, thank you.

I'll let you know when I'm ready to laugh about it.

Little Pond

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Well, Duh!

After about of week of religiously taking my Copaxone shot, I'm faring noticeably better. Better enough to take Granddog Ellie to the Chemung River to wade. Better enough that the guys at work felt comfortable joking about my spills last week. Boss even dredged up a (now) comical incontinence near-attack:

Happened on a business trip to Delaware. Cool classes in the software we use at the paper. I'd been drinking decaf coffee. Well, they told me it was decaf. The caffeine kicked in, leaving me jumpy and over-stimulated. My bladder signalled that I needed a pitstop--like ten minutes ago. I knew I couldn't even leave my seat. Boss saw my distress and wisely decided to leave me alone. Then the instructor noticed. He wouldn't leave me to recover my composure. Probably wasn't more than five minutes of discomfort, but seemed hours. I finally s-l-o-w-l-y rose and waddled to the restroom. Forget dignity, the aim was to stay dry. I'm smarter about decaf anything, now. Made Boss swear he'd never tell, but heck, can't laugh about it if we don't relate it.

And I'd much rather laugh about it.

Little Pond

Sunday, July 10, 2005

I'm a sucker for animals

This weekend it really hit home. Made me realize an inescapable truth:

I am a sucker for animals. All of them, even the nasty ones. Don't like to kill spiders, for instance. But my friends and family are starting to point out some glaring anomalies in my behavior.

While I'm hollering about needing a cleaner house, we keep piling on the pets. Almost picked up a cute little tramp in the shape of a fluffball yesterday. Well, okay, I did actually pick up the kitten, wondering if he were a stray (he wasn't). And I did actually start plotting how I would get him past Husband RJ and into the house for a snack. Fortunately, a neighbor disabused me of the "stray" notion; the owner was just casual about letting her tiny hairball roam freely. Not a good thing on the edge of a city with a cat-leash law. A mean neighbor will call the city to trap the little darling.

And I admit that I keep MommaDog's room open, furnished and available, clean sheets and all, for GrandDog Ellie. Not fresh sheets, mind you. Just that the soiled ones get laundered. Ellie soils them with her chewies. Don't know when I'll ever be able to redecorate the room with something sensible, bright and stylish. Dark comforters work best for her. Brindle, you know.

And we do have our bay window dedicated to the comfort and clawing needs of our four cats, only two of whom are really ours. And only Spooky was specifically chosen for adoption by us. DeeDee was a pathetic storm victim that brought in a deadly virus that killed an older pet. But she's ours now, fingernail-on-blackboard yowling, stepping on the computer keyboard, tipping the waterbowl with her paws and leaping from our laps with claws fully extended. She's Ellie's buddy who takes over the GrandDog's chore of waking Husband RJ from his nap while she visits doggie heaven in the guise of a mild-mannered Golden Glow home. Like a loyal puppy.

Let's get to the point before I adopt some other big-eyed denizen of Kingdom Animalia.

If you go here (permanent link) and here for photo, you will see the latest imposition on my hospitality and generosity of spirit. I only hope this is temporary. The porch is too hot without my awnings to cut the sun. And isn't it bad enough we are raising a full neighborhood's worth of squirrels around our bird feeders? Must we be raising the birds for the feeders, too?

I just dedicated the morning to vacuuming, dusting and pet hair removal in the sitting room. It's going to be a long summer. Spent indoors. Watching the chirpy little squatters. And sulking.

Little Pond

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Summer Better than Others

The first sure sign we are in for the long haul of summer hit me today. Took a walk to Chemung Canal Bank, just two and one half blocks away. Lovely, cool morning gently lit by a cloud covered sun. Not a cloudy day yet, just a half-hidden sunlit day.

My left leg gave out repeatedly on the way. Fortunately I have two legs, and simply shifted to the good one. Repeatedly. A thirty-minute trip took an entire hour. Time to break out the walking sticks! I have canes, but I prefer a walking stick. Love the feel of reaching a little up, not down, at each swing.

Generally, walking sticks seem to be made for men. I get lots of compliments from men on them. So far I've only purchased hand-made, naturally-shaped ones from local art fests and bazaars. I've seen really sweet ones at the Art and Frame Shop on Hoffman Street, where I go to frame anything nice that's locally made. The sticks at the Art Shop have bird identifications or animal tracks on them. Love them, and expect a moment of weakness will result sometime this summer.

Meantime, the Internet should provide some solace, in the form of links to meditative writings and photography I found
here at NatureInfo, courtesy of Darlene and her correspondents.


Little Pond

Update: I've now fallen twice at work. I had a full weekend planned, what with a wedding and all, but now I must gear down and rest more. On top of that, I have to work an hour or so overtime. We are shorthanded over the holiday week. But everything on track, workwise. I am enjoying our young people! They are hard workers who still enjoy life. And, strangely enough, they are a tad more conservative than I am. Unexpected, but makes for some interesting conversation.

How can I feel bad when I have so much to love, enjoy, and be thankful for? I can't. Rejoice with me. Rest, work and a wedding make up my weekend. Sounds good; sounds like fun. And I just heard they are registered at Bed, Bath and Beyond. So I've been worrying about nothing. I love that store! Looking forward to a quick trip to Consumer Square Saturday. Then Squeezing into my (taller) daughter's dress for the wedding. An adventure in itself, no doubt. I'll keep you posted.

Little Pond

Monday, July 04, 2005

Back in Business

Just noticed that it's been days since I last posted. Don't want to leave you all thinking I spent the Independence Day Weekend wallowing in my weakness. I did what I always do: as much as I can but no more.

In fact, a lovely cool morning afforded me the opportunity to go Downtown and shoot pictures for the Fourth of July holiday post. They are posted here and there will be more to come. I also spent a short time with the inlaws, both of whom have birthdays right about now.

And back to work tomorrow night. This is the first three-day weekend I have had in years. It's kind of nice.

Happy Independence Day!

Little Pond