Friday, 22 December 2017

What a Pain in the Back!

I have Multiple Sclerosis. But it is not the MS that plagues my day, it is the back pain.

I can barely walk any distance and I can only stand for a few minutes without something to lean on.

When I go shopping I can barely make it through the store, and believe me I don't attempt every aisle. But, as it is, I cover enough distance to make my back ache horribly. Why, I ask, do the refrigerated items have to be at the back? Why not the mops and brooms and all the water and pop?

I know, I know, it's because of the refrigeration and how they fill the shelves from behind, from another refrigerated area. Still.

I was out with my son yesterday, just company when he had to pick up a gift from a store out of town. We grabbed our coffee and hit the road. Mother and son time.

The store was in the country, on a highway heading north, and was a supplier of all and everything related to hunting and fishing. The store was huge and had everything you could imagine and more. I was curious and went in to look.

On the drive I had been talking about how far I could walk before hitting my limit. I managed to get through the front area, up the step to the back section and did a circle through. Then the pain hit, mild at first, then getting worse as I continued to walk.

I looked at my son and said, "This is my limit".

I walked down to the cashier as he checked out and made it to the car with little problem.

At home I needed to sit, glad I didn't have anything to do, no groceries to put away, nothing but to say goodbye to my son and thank him for the day.

I see now why those shopping days really torture me. It's the walking, the lifting, the loading and unloading of the car. I get the frozen and refrigerated stuff put away and forget about the rest, needing to lie down.

It's a cruel fact of life that when you want to shop more frequently (so you carry less and don't have to buy so much fresh fruit and vegetables at one time), you can't get out that often. How nice for younger people to just drop by the store on the way home for  those few items needed. We older and less able people don't/can't get out as often and so need to stock up.

I hate having so many fruits and vegetables that I can't eat it all before some of it goes bad. I know I shouldn't buy so much but it's hard to resist.

Here I am, a few days before Christmas, sitting in my comfortable chair, complaining. I should be glad on a day like this to be old, older, and less abled. I don't have to worry, as a manager, that needed staff can't make it to work because of the snow, or that I need to go to work and my kids are home from school, yeah, a snow day.

We all have our challenges, life is never easy, but we can help each other and make our burdens less.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Facing Dreaded News

I have a friend, an older lady, who got the bad news the other day that all older people dread...that she can no longer drive. For her it's a visual thing, and she is no longer safe to drive even the local streets of our small town.

She knew it was coming as she'd already quit driving at night or to out of town places that were not as familiar. But knowing it's coming is not the same as hearing those words that make it true.

We talked the day she'd been to the doctor and she seemed fine, accepting.. I called her today to see if she wanted to go to the store with me, but she was stuck at home waiting for a service call. You know the old 'he'll be there between one and three' kind of thing.

She admitted yesterday was a bad day, reality sinking in. It wasn't that she had anywhere to go, it was the idea that she couldn't just 'get up and go'.

As I've been dealing with the changes in my own status I can sympathize. The list of Can't Do gets bigger than the Can Do's.

I'll have to think of her more often, see if she wants to accompany me on my shopping trips. It's fun to have a friend along, maybe to turn shopping into a lunch out and some conversation.

Always a plus for those of us who live alone.

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Brain Blip

I haven't written for awhile, and though I'd like to say it's because I've been out and about, too busy to write, that is sadly not the case.

As prepared I was for Christmas, or so I thought, I had a little brain blip that caused me and everyone else needless stress.

I have a journal that I use to keep track of my Christmas shopping. I find this necessary as I start my shopping in January and have to find spots to hide the stuff throughout the year. I could tell you what I bought everyone on my list going back about 10 years.

I divide the pages so everyone has a column, and it takes four pages with 7 grandchildren, my two kids, their spouses and the other friends and family I buy for.

I'm a bit OCD, as I not only write it all down, I highlight it when wrapped. That way I know when I have to search for the gift I hid away eight months before.

I was wrapping what I though was a few last minute gifts and found my journal almost empty of entries. How could this be? I had the feeling I'd shopped a great deal and my first thought was I'd neglected to write it down.

I asked my son about gifts I'd wrapped and given to him to store. My daughter had one bin and I thought my son had two. Unfortunately he couldn't find them. And I was adamant they were at his place.

Stressful times. Here I was thinking I had all these presents and now, weeks from our family gathering, I had very little.

Given that I have not been out much this year, my back pain greatly limiting my activity, I figured my son was right. The 2 boxes of gifts I thought I'd given him were from the year before. I made my apologies to all concerned.

What I had was a plethora of crocheted items. I had made 4 sweaters and numerous hats, scarves and mittens. I also had the 15 items that I make, different each year, one for each person. This year it was stuffed animals, a fun change from socks, slippers and hats.

I did do a mad dash of shopping to complete my list, easily done through gift cards as the older grandkids are fussy and too hard to buy for, particularly clothes.

I got it all done but this total loss of awareness of my shopping/buying status, and the prominent memory of last year that was so dominant scared me. I hate any of these brain blip episodes as they come without warning and jar what I think of as my reality.

At least I can stand by my journal and its effectiveness. My system works, it's my brain that let me down.

Wishing you all the best for this holiday season.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

As Days Go By

I'd like to say that the reason I haven't posted of late is because I'm busy and having a good time, but unfortunately that is not true, or not completely true.

Some times the days kind of blend, and pass without any real sense of time. I've been out and around, but I don't call running errands or shopping for groceries a big deal. Though there are days I struggle to do even that.

There have been a number of day trips. One to Kingston to the MS Clinic, my yearly check in. Not a lot has changed, so that was the good news. Sometimes I think the MS is quite manageable, if only my back and knee were not so problematic.

I did manage another day trip out of town, went with my daughter and grandson for his doctor's appointment. We went to Costco and out for lunch.

Yesterday I met my brother at our halfway point, him coming from the west, me the east. We had lunch at our usual spot and I even managed a short visit to Michael's before rushing home to meet family.

It was my granddaughter's first night of indoor soccer, and she, her Mom and siblings were meeting for pizza first. It ended up a long day as it was also my son's birthday and as he worked until seven, the timing was right for us to all meet for ice cream to celebrate.

Today I'm a little slow, tired and my plan is to stay home and get a few household chores done. Or maybe I'll have a nap, and move my today's To Do list to tomorrow.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Anger and MS

Who would have thought there were different kinds of anger? Well, this article about anger and MS describes the different kinds of anger often found in MS patients.

I think it was a very interesting article, especially how MS may be a factor in anger. So, I may not just be a miserable bitch at times, holding on to anger, because....well...because I'm a miserable bitch. There is a disease process in the works.

I do believe these descriptions work for all people, not just those with MS. Recognize anyone in your life who has anger issues?

Friday, 13 October 2017

A Commercial I Avoid

There's a commercial on television for Voltaren gel, a topical pain medication for joint pain. It shows a grandmother with knee pain, who uses the gel and is good to go, no more pain.

I wish it worked that way for me. I use a topical called Motion Medicine that my son got for me at the chiropractor's office. I use it on my back, my knee and on my shoulders when necessary. It's my favorite topical pain reliever.

In the commercial the young boy talks about his grandmother, and it shows her being very active. His final comment is that he's glad his grandmother "is fun again."

If it were only that easy.

It made me think that my grandchildren, ages 8 to 19, have for the most part, never seen me healthy. I have been on disability since the second grandchild was born, 16 years ago. It's been a steady downhill slide since that time, MS and the arthritis.

There was the original concern, about tiring me out, but at least I was mobile, better than today. They've seen me progress...though decline is more using a cane, and then a walker.

How I wish there could be more, I could be more, but it didn't work that way.

Hate that commercial, when it's on I check the schedule or the weather, no sense being bombarded with what can never be.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

"We are Experiencing Technical Difficulties..."

I am often frustrated with simple tasks or challenged beyond my coping ability when something stops working, most often something of the technical variety. For me it's usually the computer.

Hard to imagine that for my friend, a very active 90 year old, I am her 'Go To' person for such things.. For the most part, I can help her out, though there was that one time I had to call my daughter, my 'Go To" source for technical help.

I was getting ready to go to lunch yesterday when my friend appeared at my door in a real frazzle. Her phone had a constant busy signal, and her personal alarm was flashing, and not working. For someone living alone, these are her life lines.

If I hadn't been aware of my other friend coming any minute, I might have thought things through better, but that's part of my disease process, not being able to do the quick thinking and respond appropriately.

I checked her phone, and found a busy signal. We checked all the connections and all were secure.

I had the bright, and useless, idea to try her phone in the wall jack, rather than the modem. Of course it didn't work as the wall jacks are old Bell Telephone lines and we use Cogeco, the cable company through the modem. A waste of time.

My friend is now sitting in the car out front.

I wonder if it's her phone, maybe the actual phone is no longer working, in which case she would need a new one..

"What about your cell?" I ask.

She shows me the phone, a very simple model that is dark and dead. When I ask about the charger, I'm told it's in the closet, and I shake my head, but hold my tongue. I explain that the battery on her phone loses charge, even if she doesn't use it and still needs to be charged.

Now, I'm in a frustrated dither because I'm keeping my friend waiting. I decide to hook my phone up at her place so she has a phone at least, and promise I'll check it all later. She doubts this action as she thinks it will be my number, but I explain that the number is not in the phone itself, but in the line.

So I run back home, across the walkway, unhook my phone and re-hook it up at her place.. No busy signal, no anything.

I can't deal with this anymore, the self imposed stress of trying to think and do, with the added pressure of having to be somewhere else. I leave her and tell her "I'll be back."

I calm down over lunch and come back, thinking more clearly. The stress was hard on my friend, I found her worn out and napping in her chair. To give her her due, she is sick right now and not feeling at all like herself.

I take her cable bill and my phone back home and call the cable company. Well. lo and behold, they are having technical difficulties with their digital phone lines. They gave instructions to do something to the modem and see if it corrects itself.

I go back across the path, and we grab a flashlight and try to find this tiny hole in the back of the modem the voice told me about. Of course, her modem is on the bottom shelf of her bookcase. She gets down on her hands and knees, because my knee wouldn't allow me to put the pressure on the joint and once down, my back would not help me get back up.

We poke the hole as directed and we have phone service. All is well.

I am now totally drained and take a three hour nap.

But, I have to say, being able to help my friend gave me a good feeling, my good deed for the day.