Monday, 19 October 2015

Making Things Easier

I’ve talked before about my difficulty asking for help. It’s a problem many people have as they age, or as disease takes a toll on their body and their abilities. I’m stubborn and have not given in easily to my limitations.

For a month now I have been cleaning out cupboards and getting rid of what is no longer needed. I have my new cabinet with the four shelves and it is so much easier to see what I have, clothes wise, that might otherwise have been forgotten in a bottom drawer (bad back, remember).

I’ve used up and thinned out my craft supplies, and this week went through my button box. Box is a misnomer, it’s actually one of those things with many drawers, for the tool shop, for nails and screws and such. I had my button collection in the thirty small drawers, which made it heavy. Every time I picked it up out of the closet I was afraid it would drop or spill it and have my hundreds of sorted buttons all over the place.

Last trip to the dollar store I picked up a little tool container, much like a fishing tackle box and brought it home. Okay, brought them home as I bought two. I spent that evening filling them with buttons and managed to clear out half of the thirty drawers. So, now I need two more.

I feel no guilt about buying these containers, and getting rid of the larger, more cumbersome storage thing. At this stage in my life, it’s all about what makes it easier for me. And looking at one of four, lighter, and closed containers, takes away the stress of lifting and spilling the other.

While I was in this frame of mind, I rearranged the bookcase, well, two shelves of it. I moved my printer up to eye level, where the shelf was higher and I could add paper without the struggle it has been thus far.

I also moved my wooden file holder up a level, so it was more accessible. Why, I wonder, have I not done this before?

It’s like the plastic food containers. They were on the bottom shelf of the cupboard, and with my back it was difficult to bend, and find the matching top and bottom. Now I keep a small collection in a colored bin on the top of the fridge, and I keep it organized as it’s handy.

I use the cane in public, the walker for distances and for some shopping. At home I walk unaided, as long as I have walls, furniture and doorways to lean on. I know, one of these days my disease will progress to where I need the cane or walker all the time. And when that time comes, I hope I’ll be smart enough to make the other changes that will be necessary to make life less of a struggle.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Empty Spaces

My son came this morning with the new cabinet I wanted. He picked it up from the store, took it home to assemble and now has delivered it. I am so excited to have this new space to...organize.

I’ve been cleaning closets and drawers for more than a month. Some of that time has been actually sorting, some in ‘crash’ mode and some in being creative with the craft supplies I found stashed in said cupboards.

My time of cleaning is almost done. And it’s been a discovery. There were Christmas gifts I’d purchased some time ago, (not for last year, thank you, I’m not that bad). I found a beautiful sweater I forgot I owned, and I’ve found space, and delight in empty drawers.

When I moved here almost three years ago, I did a major purge. But, there were some things I just could not give up...because you just never know, right? Now, I’m being ruthless, in both the clothes and the craft supplies.

That move cost me, even though the move itself was a positive thing. My back became a serious issue; I had an MS relapse, and a serious bout of depression. I’ve found my way through, stronger mentally if not physically better. I’m painting again, and for now that’s taking precedence over the writing. I’ve used up a lot of those craft and art supplies I couldn’t live without.

And now, writing this, I’ve had my rest and its back to cleaning. Empty drawers are calling to me. I’m sure I have something I can store in them. The bonus, I can almost see the top of my table that has been my ‘catch-all’ place since the move.

Slow but sure wins the race.

Monday, 12 October 2015

Noise Intolerance

For years I have had a problem being in large groups. Because of my cognitive difficulties, I have issue with the noise, as I can't keep up with all the activity and conversation. The article I've provided the link to below gives some explanation for this. 

I pulled one paragraph out, as it states what I feel so much better than I might be able to do.

"I am unable to carry on a conversation at a party or at a dinner where there are other people talking, as I cannot maintain any sort of attention span for either what the other person is saying or how I can respond in a normal manner."

At large gatherings I tend to sit off to the side, watching more than participating, enjoying one to one side conversations. 

For years I have had people think I am angry, or annoyed, because they see, not quite a grimace, but definitely a furrowed brow that they read as anger. It actually means I'm concentrating, trying to keep track of what is going on. There's mention of this in the article, too.

It's worth a read.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

MS and Sleep

I haven't had a full night's sleep in years. The closest I had was a 'crash' episode a couple of weeks ago where I slept about 6 hours, two night's running, and power napped during the day. For that 24-30 hour interval, I slept more than I was awake.

It was inevitable, I'd had a busy month, lot's of happy stress and high emotions, plus more than my usual activity.

When I sleep, I sleep like the dead. I don't move for those few hours, and wake stiff and sore. Usually I waken because I need to go to the bathroom, and when I get back in bed, I settle in on the other side, and go back to sleep for another few hours.

I have a hard time settling to sleep, and feel my best sleep comes in the morning, that last bit before starting my day.

I found this article about the different stages of sleep, not the usual REM stuff. As always, I wanted to share it with you.

Thursday, 8 October 2015

The Loss of Independence

My neighbour dropped by yesterday, on her way back from the doctors. She’s been plagued by an increase in her pain, and sought some cause for it, some relief.

We both live with chronic pain, and have often joked that getting old sucks. But here’s the thing, she’s more than twenty years older than I am, and much better off...physically speaking.

We live a few blocks from the downtown area, and she walks it frequently. I’m lucky some days if I can make it to my car, let alone make my way through a store. Yeah, growing old sucks, but so does living with a chronic illness.

Her doctor suggested she might get some services, to help her out. All she has at this time is some housekeeping, for vacuuming more than anything else. I can sympathize, that’s a chore that is hard on the back. It takes me a whole day to get even my small place done. Picking things up, moving things around, push, pull, push, pull.

We talked about the services that might be available to us. At my last visit to the MS Clinic, the physio and occupational therapist gave me some options to pursue. Of course, I’ve done nothing.

We get caught up in an emotional push-pull. On the one hand, we resent how age and disease interfere with, not just the enjoyment of life, but the ability to fully embrace life. We fight to hold on to our independence, but at what cost?

At least we were able to laugh at our folly. If we took advantage of the assistance that’s available, we’d have the strength and energy to do the things we want to do. So giving in and accepting help is not giving up, giving in.

Why is it that we look at the loss of any facet of our so called independence, as failure? Think what I might be able to do if I didn’t spend days trying to clean, alternating some chore with pain pills and a rest on the heating pad.

And, if I signed up for Meals on Wheels, and put those dinners in the freezer, I could have a decent meal when I didn’t have the energy to cook, or was in too much pain to stand at the counter to prepare one.

It’s true what they say; we do get stubborn, set in our ways as we age. I fully intend to get housekeeping help, but, wanted to get my closets cleaned out first. Sounded stupid when I said it to myself, more so as I write it. I started cleaning closets on Labor Day, so a month ago.

I will admit I have a car load of stuff to go to the thrift store, have sent bags out in the garbage, and have managed to use up a great deal of my precious hoarded craft supplies. It’s not been wasted time, two of my closets are neat and tidy, I have a number of completed paintings to my credit, and a number of gifts made.

It’s baby steps, a back to the beginning, so to speak. I’m almost ready to make that call, and know when I make that first connection; it won’t be so hard to make the next.

Just think what I might accomplish with all that gained time and energy.