Saturday, April 01, 2023


Eye Drops and Dental Floss


Many years ago, when I was a little girl in a big family, eye-drops and dental floss were not really invented yet. Oh, I would guess that they were invented, but not mass marketed.


They were not on television and in the newspapers, nor on the radio. No doubt the very rich and the very sick were using them, but we weren’t.


The wheel of fortune (not the game show) has turned on such things. Eye drops began to enter my consciousness with Visine, which would “get the red out.” And dental floss eventually would be spoofed on Saturday Night Live with Body Floss, and finally with Bum Floss or Butt Floss, depending on where in America you lived.


I have to add analgesic creams to the list, because now I am officially a senior. In fact, people with Multiple Sclerosis, on the average, die (or used to die) at 62. The good news: I have passed my expiration date, as have many others like me. The bad news: it takes a ton of grit and money and lots of advertising for Interferons.


We now, especially us women, live to ripe old ages. In fact, I am much more likely to die of some intestinal complications or heart disease, like my parents, both of whom made it past 80.


But back to the title: it is with amused regret that I notice my cabinets and drawers are full of eye drops, dental floss, and of course analgesic creams. The last are a legacy of my deceased husband, who is finally at rest from all the accumulated results of smoking, lack of aerobic exercise, and of course, premature old age. He sadly advanced his senescence considerably by sticking to old habits, stroking them lovingly and giving them free rein with all the money he had at his disposal after a long life in public service.


And the drops, floss and creams now are still close at hand for me. The result seems to be a longer life, certainly longer than my poor grandmothers, one of whom died in her 30s and the other at 68. I happen to be 68 right now, although that will change by the end of the month.


Is it good to live longer? Overall, I would say yes. My poor mémère never saw any of us grandkids and my grammy died before my little sister was born. Both left broken-hearted husbands and children, scarred for life. Even my own mom, motherless from a very young age, was crushed by the death of her mother-in-law. One grandfather drank himself to death and the other hung on a few more years to see his youngest grandchild.


Where does that leave me? Frankly, I don’t know.


I have all my teeth, now shored up with crowns and fillings. My eyes are not yet dimmed by the cataracts that threaten my sight, and I climb all the stairs in my home regularly. I even own an old-lady tricycle—actually a fancy little Mobi Triton for the summers and a recumbent exercycle in the basement for the winters.


Is it better to live longer? Will I watch as my body slowly gives out, like an old car, losing a fender or some chrome here and there? That thought is thanks to Joseph Campbell, a personal hero of mine. He died in his sleep at 83, mentally capable and intellectually busy to the end.


But the MS is taking its toll. I have to hire out most of the cleaning and upkeep of this old prairie style house. It is small with little rooms and even smaller closets and baths. Oops, no bath. Just a powder room on the first floor, and I’ve replaced the bathtub with a walk-in shower. The analgesic creams didn’t keep my knees and ankles from suffering arthritis.


I have all my grandchildren, as well as my two daughters nearby. I use a Medical Guardian whenever I am feeling unwell, or about to face the previously unknown dangers in the shower. There is delivery for anything I need and various ways to get out of the house, even when I am not up to driving.


So, I am fortunate, and I know it. Feeling good is not the top of my list of blessings, but I have learned to deal with it, both medically and mentally. I am thrilled to have survived long enough to enjoy Virtual Reality. I can see the world and experience things I would never have otherwise.


Is it all worth it? I would say yes! How long can I keep it up?


Damned if I know.

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Already I am 68 years old. My parents made it into their 80s. I have found the reason I keep chugging along.

I never knew that there was a thing called SETH, until I read a book left at my work station in college.

As I get deeper into SETH, I am learning a lot about my inner self, or what I used to call my HIGHER SELF. Not sure I believe everything about it, but the part about controlling our lives rings true.

I have outlived everybody who ever trashed me. Sadly, I have also outlived anyone my age and older who has ever loved me. My children use me as a model for themselves and their grandchildren, however.

My first neurologist told me I had willed myself past the first crisis, and I generally have willed myself along ever since.

But Old Age brings new challenges. I have been hospitalized for systemic infection, started as a UTI. Fortunately, the Covid Crisis made the hospital kick me out as soon as they possibly could.

It is dangerous to ignore my health now, but I have daughters who monitor me, whether I like it not. I also wear an old Fitbit, and a V.Alert should I need it to call the kids. 

BTW, and LOL. I was stricken with the debilitating illness after bedtime, leaving me upstairs; I was too ill to get to the first floor. 

LOL again. I personally wired my home with Simplisafe and put sensors on all the doors. The EMTs had to call the police and fire department to break into my home to rescue me. 

Since I had been sick for hours, I was surprised to see that the entire neighborhood was watching as I came out the front door. The last thing I remember was noting the blue sky, morning sun--and all my neighbors. Then I passed out.

Final LOL. The EMTs couldn't get any info from me. Fortunately, I wear a Medic Alert and they tore the bracelet apart to get at the attached tag. Note to self: let the darned thing jangle: stitching it down tight is no help to First Responders!

My daughters and I were mortified. Hence the V.Alert . It notifies the kids first, then the EMTs

Just a suggestion for those who insist on living at home.

Like me.


Monday, November 05, 2018

Word of the day Big Pharma

Okay, that is really two words.

I just had a rather disheartening experience with BP.

Starting with what seemed suspiciously like a kidney stone, it resolved itself for one day in a bowlful of blood.

Okay, the kidney stone was gone, but the very next day, my bladder was so swollen and sore, that I could not sleep.  Up and down for the bathroom, and a ton of pain killers.

Stupidly, I guessed that it must have been the stone, and let it go another day.  Four days since the bleeding, with me taking those little red pills that turn the urine a bright orange, I could take no more and ran to the urgent care facility.

All our local doctors are too busy seeing healthy people on wellness visits to take a real sickness.  There are not slots for medical reasons.

I am now on a brand new drug that is an antibiotic.  Only an antibiotic, as I learned with I stopped the little OTC's for discomfort. 

Doctors love all the shiny new drugs that are shoved at them by their Big Pharma pushers.

Brand new drug, and a full day later, I am still in discomfort.  Back to the OTC for pain.  Not to mention only black and dark underwear and slacks.

Watch out for NITROFURANTN, or MICROBID.  It is bad enough to have MS, and recurrent UTI's, but incontinence creates one more  trouble.  I warned the doctor, but apparently the words Multiple Sclerosis meant little to her.

Saturday, November 03, 2018

Word of the day: Incontinence

If you are new to incontinence caused by MS, you will want to take note:

  • Never go anywhere outside the home without protection in place.

  • Never buy period protection instead.  I have a bad memory of a trip to a local restaurant where my sister gave me a period pad.

  • The bulky pads may hide well, but if your leakage is major, they don't work well enough.  Trust me on this.

  • Sometimes a cranky bladder really means that you need to empty your  bowels.  Better listen.

  • If you must self-catheterize, use a fresh one each time, or disinfect the catheter before you put it away WHERE IT CAN FULLY DRY.

  • Bladder infections are your worst enemy.  Stay home and take those little pills that turn your urine orange or blue.
  • Blue bladder infection pills can affect your eye color.  They are prescription.

A bladder infection is no joke, but it is even more unfunny when a MSer has one.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Free kindle book from JJ Leander for Advent!


In honor of the days leading up to His birth on Christmas Night, MEN SHALL DREAM will be offered FREE, so that you can enjoy my reverent and rather down-to-earth retelling of the event. Check on Amazon under the name JJ Leander or the title MEN SHALL DREAM  for your free kindle copy.

 December 5-9!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Two cleaning machines you must have

1--oreck xl, with or without hepa bags.

This is the lightest vacuum I've ever found.  The bags, even the cheaper, non-hepa ones, help filter the dust a lot more than bag-less anything.

Warning, the suction is impressive, but bothersome on those sticky, muggy days, when it causes more drag.

2--Dyson V6 Hepa

Handheld vacuum for cleaning up on furniture and walls, window sills, etc.  Very lightweight and extremely well set up for simple cleaning of filters and canister.  Cordless with three speeds, according to your suction needs.

Warning, when they say 6 minutes on the highest setting, they aren't kidding.  The lowest setting is enough for 16 minutes and seems to be enough for the amount of energy I can bring to any job these days.

Warning again.  The ad that shows them emptying the canister again and again is true, especially for those of us who fill our house with pets of varying fur length.

Prices:  The Oreck usually advertises at about US$300, but I found my latest one at Big Lots for $99.  US$299 is the current sale price on the Dyson cordless.  I went through Paypal, and got a bunch of attachments for free, most of them not really necessary.

Both Oreck and Dyson offer payment plans.

Pricey?  Yes, but lightweight and manageable, even if using a cane or walker.