Sunday, July 30, 2006

Follow-up to a Floater

Geez, geez and geeeeeez! I'm looking at the darned thing right now, since it's spotlighted by the white Blogger posting screen. And I've just finished, with a great deal of trouble, a crossword puzzle, and screwed up (beyond all repair) a Sudoku.

All with the nasty thing impairing my vision. Boy, do I hate growing old. Because that's all it is. Old age, I've been assured by the opthamologist. It will eventually succumb to gravity and slide down.

Will it? Does anyone know from experience? The stupid thing looks like a starburst, or a tin pieplate with way too many cuts in it. Or even, (dare I say) an anus. Having raised two children, both born naked and needing plenty of attention down there, I've seen enough to know one.

It's not dangerous, and I need not fear it. But it's a real pain in the eye. Figuratively speaking, of course.

Little Pond

Saturday, July 29, 2006

More relief: Little by little

Last night was no fun and that's no lie. However, since we always build up a bad crescendo as the week progresses, we expected it. Major rule of Recovery: Expect the worst and you won't be disappointed.

So we were expecting the worst. For me, six full hours of non-stop, mind-boggling brain teasers. What happened to the advertising, and how can we fix it? For my immediate boss, four or more hours of how can we avoid all the problems we had this week? For graphics coworkers, how do we pile fifteen pounds into a five-pound sack, while our clients are poking holes in it? For weekend worker, seven and one-half hours of watching the unfolding trainwreck and reporting to all sides of it.

Icing on the cake? The circulation manager/physical plant supervisor had to personally bring in the niche product that was forgotten in Central. He's a wonderfully burly guy, the sort who watches your back, and you are glad it's your back he's watching.

In the end, we'd solved a huge boatload of troubles, and yes, that will bring the crescendo down to a screaming roar. Intermediate fixes buy time for true redirection and actual solutions. And there were chicken wings for everyone. At midnight, however, nobody in our department wants them. But the gesture was a lovely one, and Warren went up miles and miles in our esteem. And those who were called in to load and unload the publications (on such short notice!) surely did them justice.

Sometimes a bossman just needs to throw on his sleeveless jersey and pitch in, tossing encouraging words in passing. Result? The happy demise of the stuffed shirt image. We back-room production guys despise "suits."

We are still not satisfied with my morning paper, though. Ah, well. Little by little.

Maybe now I can begin to heal from this nasty exacerbation.

Little Pond

Friday, July 28, 2006


Too soon to tell. But.

But. They began repairs on the AC. That is to say that the building super is on vacation. This is actually a good thing, because the word is that the AC wouldn't be fixed by him; he would simply file a report that it can't be fixed without those parts they need. But.

My boss (yes, the one that went total jerk on me the other night) went over everyone's head and said I was playing the ADA card. The person in charge of the building super said he would see to it that it's fixed. That brought in our departmental boss, who's been stalled up at Central, doing Our Lady knows what. He used to be the building super, and apparently has some real chops. He cobbled a repair, just for little ol' you know who. It's not wonderful, it's still not real cool, but it's not hot and muggy any more. In fact the worst hot moments last night were courtesy of menopause.

And you can bet they will effect a complete repair. Been there, done that. It didn't happen like before because the Advertising Boss is now in charge of us. (This sort of nonsense cycles in and out every few years, with the change in regimes.) They always come to ask if I need any "accommodation." It never gets done, and I will point that fact out to them. It's been over ten years; they should have done something by now, and they simply haven't. Only now I am keeping score: should they come to me to ask, I have an errand list for them. We can start with bars around the toilet stalls; I will need them when I learn to self-catheterize.

I may have to go to Human Resources for that one: wouldn't pay to advertise the sordid details. I'm looking forward to that: maybe they will recognize the ADA card.

Little Pond

Thursday, July 27, 2006


Fighting it, fighting it... But I am just about ready to give up. Last night was so bad, what with the malfunctioning system, and lack of air conditioning, and on top of that, hints that we are simply using so much overtime. We spent all night fighting the poor conditions.

I am now exacerbating, with almost overwhelming dysaesthesia in my feet to my knees, my hands, that strange electric feeling in my neck, loss of hearing and increasing incontinence. I mentioned it to my boss, who exploded, telling me to sue and be damned (or some such).

I was up all night changing protection, to keep the bed dry.

Tonight I will ask for a status report. If the place is not making some sort of progress, I will need disability time.

There's another lady who has MS, and I think she just disappears when there's no AC in her department. Just quietly falls out of sight.

I'm thinking I won't go quietly. They've had more than ten years to adjust and provide accomodations. I'll be damned if I'm going quietly. If Mamma ain't happy...

Little Pond

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

A quick link: Self Catheterization

This is not a subject for everyone, and I'm somewhat reluctant to post it. But it is the purpose of this blog to reach out to other persons who would otherwise feel quite alone in their struggles with losing control of their bodies.

I do not yet use a catheter. In the early years after my diagnosis, my dear Dr. Bhat suggested it because I work and was constantly in the bathroom. I simply went all the time, and I was still wetting myself on a regular basis. In spite of spending a fortune on pads, guards, everything.

Well, I finally began using incontinence drugs. Detrol, and Ditrophan, I think. And they worked. A lot of the time. But the side effects were striking. Never having been constipated in my life, I was amazed to find myself dealing not only with painful-looking, bleeding bowel movements (with no feeling, I could force it as much as I was able--and you should see my abs under the middle age spread), but also regular bladder accidents.

Finally I'd had enough and gave up the drugs. But they actually had helped some. And now, some twelve years after initial diagnosis, I am still not getting much accomodation at work. The bathroom is adjacent to my workspace, but I still must go all the way around the building to use it! Talk about needing a clue. I can practically hear them flushing the toilets, but I have to race around the other side of the floor to get there. And I don't often make it, these days. Any added stress makes it worse, and we are in the middle of a traumatic transition.

So when I came across my baby BlogSister Pearlie's post, I began to feel that a cusp was approaching. She also was coping with the concept. I wept at her reaction; it was my reaction, too. And I read the comments to see who else was facing this decision. Cathy, wonderful and caring, detailed her own experiences. We emailed a bit, and I began to read her blog, Cathy's Rants and Ramblings.

Cathy recently emailed to tell me she's posting on Self Catheterization. If you are thinking that you could never do this, if you are thinking the whole thing sounds insane, it is not. Cathy is proof otherwise.

I remember being catheterized during a medical test. Everything in the post rings true. Unfortunately, so does the nightmare scenario at the hands of an incompetent nurse. In two weeks I will once again broach the subject with my neurologist; this time I will be more amenable to the whole thing. I am long overdue for some relief.

It would be nice to stay out of the ladies room for more than one hour at a time. And make it through a day without an accident, protection or no.

Little Pond

Monday, July 24, 2006

New Beginnings or Same Old Sh*#?

PatsPond has my post regarding the last/first nights of our changeover to Johnson City. My relief at the lack of paper particulates and ink globules in the air was instantly replaced by anxiety when the higher-ups stopped in.

Our new boss was making inquiries: Why are there so many employees? Too much overtime. He seems to be all for more computers, but against the employees to work them.

He asked again why there were so many of us. We are three. There are seven nights a week to man, and ten publications to prepare. He happened to be there when all was running well, and we seemed idle. Actually we shifted to other duties; I went to advertising and my immediate boss turned to work on his comics collectors' column. We left the weekend person to his usual duties. We would simply not be there on a normal Sunday night.

New Boss would know this if he had ever come up to our workplace on any work night. Then we would seem undermanned and overworked. This may be alleviated with the new configuration, but we will still be working on advertising and layout preparation. We also compose the classifieds, and insert obituaries and other directories.

This person showed up for the ceremonial fluff, driving to Johnson City with the publisher. It insulted and demoralized us to have him come through, questioning our function and necessity. Up at JC he would be smiling for the photographers recording the launch. We will not see him again for months.

I know that later this week Prepress will be very, very busy, as usual. Mr. Bossman will not climb the stairs to see us sweating out (literally; there is no air conditioning right now) the details that make things seem to run so smoothly when the functionaries come for their self-congratulatory rites.

They are so disconnected that they cannot see the seeds of hatred they are engendering. At a time when NewBoss should be bringing us all together to work as one unit, he left us hissing with disgust and seething with resentment.

What a damnable shame.

Little Pond

Saturday, July 22, 2006


Last night I dreamed I was using a powered wheelchair on a woodsy road. I could see and hear turkeys overhead and moving across the road, and noticed there was a fox family watching their progress. A dog was with me, but it wasn't mine, and it ran into the den, chasing the fox and her kits. A person appeared, looking quite pleased, extracted the dog, and (I assume) stole it. All of this was making me very anxious, and indignant at the theft.

Okay, I understand about the wheelchair, since my BlogSister was researching them for a purchase. And I understand about the woodsy road and turkey sitings, although goodness knows I never saw a turkey when I was actually out hunting them. This area is lousy with them otherwise. And Ellie isn't my dog; she's my GrandDog. Still, I watch the Dog Whisperer a lot: Ellie requires a lot of leadership.

In the heat of the summer, I can catch a glimpse of foxes and sometimes coyotes, on the way to the Arnot Mall. I take the scenic route: what everyone else calls the "back way." It relieves stress for me. But what's with the puppy-napping?

I've got to stop working so much overtime. It's messing with my mind, and exhausting me, both body and soul.

Little Pond

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Pearls and Dreams: not a positive post

My dear, sweet Baby BlogSis, Pearlie is in crisis. They are the same crises I have faced (to some degree). Note how the clinical, neurological issues are not even related to the psychical ones. Each are separate and come together to make life very challenging:

Pearls and Dreams: not a positive post

Just go there. And read the comments, because other courageous individuals are gathering to offer solace and good, solid information. Not just for my Pearlie. Thanks especially to Cathy, whose detailed narrative is such a comfort to me. My day is also coming; it's been suggested once. I reacted similarly, and the doctor answered likewise. Amazing.

Little Pond

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Just got this missive... (A requiem)

Yesterday a notice arrived in an unsealed envelope from the CVMSA. It said, among other things:
On Friday July 7, 2006, Chemung Valley Multiple Sclerosis Association will close its office. Due to funding problems we are unable at this time to stay open. The day to day expenses of running a Non-Profit Agency have left us to this decision.
So we are not supported by the United Way. Apparently, fighting Multiple Sclerosis, and assisting its patients is not a worthy cause. I have heard that MS is an orphan disease, and it certainly feels that way right now. For years I have sent donations (to an organization that is supposed to help me!) and supported their raffles. All my UW donations have been specifically marked for the CVMSA, nothing else.

The United Way is dead to me now. Can't wait till they come knocking.

I'll just hand them a copy of the letter.

Little Pond

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Two Great Posts in Grand Rounds

...caught my attention this week. Naturally, we want to thank GruntDoc, one of the working wounded this week: "Or how I celebrated Independence Day."

So link on over to RangelMD for this week's rounds.

My faves:

This little number reminds me of Dr. Bhat, best neurologist. Period.

And our own Womens' Health Center at the Arnot Hospital sounds a lot like this post. And read the comment section for more.

Guess I've been lucky a couple times in my life. Not always so. Some of the awful stuff reminds me of earlier years, and some pretty thick-skulled, low-skill providers. Soured me on medical professionals for a good long while.

Now I'm especially hardnosed. I don't pay them to be sweetie-pies, but I certainly don't pay them to treat me badly. I get what I want, or I get away from them. Not a lot of room for compromise anymore.

Works for me. So far.

Little Pond

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Independence Day!

This mottled meatloaf is a representation of our entire household this July 4, 2006. The top paw is actually a hind leg! The overcast day would be perfect for outdoor activity if everything weren't so buggy from the flooding. Elmira is flood-free but the floodplains got it in spades, thank the Lord for their continued cultivation. No walking near the river these days. At least until the bugs give it a rest. Gotta work tonight, so it's down for a nap. One more shot below.Posted by Picasa

Brown as a Berry

Geez, what a tan. I remember when I used to bask in the hot sun. MS sure changed that little habit. VeggieGirl has to work in the hot sun, and she knows she has to use sunblock. And this is still the result!

Little Pond Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 01, 2006

We are okay, thanks.

You may have wondered about all the local flooding. Our local story is here. If you are interested, there are many pictures in the photo galleries. I've linked there before.

Except for a wet basement that remains spotty with what I guess is condensation, we are unscathed.

The problem is along the Susquehanna, and not my beloved Chemung. After the Great Flood of 1972, caused by Tropical Depression Agnes, the Army Corps of Engineers constructed dams and levees, culverts, sluices and other flood diversions that have worked rather well.

When I came to Elmira College that fall, the dormitories were a mess, having been used by refugees who pretty much trashed them. (Actually they left them in about the same condition that they are left after every school term.) But the area was buggy outdoors and moldy indoors, and that is what we are experiencing now.

Some workmates fled homes that were completely covered. But!

But except for those diehards who hung around having "flood parties," those who were displaced took their belongings with them. So, unless they owned the home, the setback is temporary. I'm afraid the property will be devastated. A flooded river has enormous pull. Many homes will have floated downstream. The rest will need extensive rehabbing.

We heard about the flood parties. Alcohol and firearms. To kill the pain and shoot at the junk floating on the flood. Sort of the middle finger at all the misery surging around them.

It's hard to imagine the mess just a couple miles away. The sun is shining, the breeze is gentle, and the chores need our attention before the holiday. Everyone I care about is safe and has refuge. We will have to help with donations of time, energy, clothes and empathy.

Not sympathy, empathy. We've been there before and will probably go there again. We will help them pick up, rebuild, and move on. Big shoulders to cry on, too, I guess.

Hope the Army Corps of Engineers is up to the job of taming the Susquehanna.

Little Pond

(I completely forgot that this was going to be a medically-oriented post. It's getting too long, but let it stand. More later.)