Sunday, 30 October 2016

No Frills...No Thrills

No Frills is a bag-your-own grocery store, that has great prices. Right now they are having their famous 'Dollar Days' sales.

As much as I love the produce, the sales and the selection at this store, I rarely shop there. First is because of the parking. They do have disability parking, usually full, but the lanes are small, and the place is so busy, you have to be on your toes when backing up. Pedestrians think the back up lights are meaningless.

Second, after walking about the store, when it comes time to check out, I'm usually tired and hate the stress of having to rush to bag my groceries and get out of the way of the next customer.

My 89 year old neighbor is sick and needed groceries, so I volunteered, as my cupboards were looking a little empty too. Her list had a lot of heavy items, soup and more soup. She is sick after all.

Anyways, I arrived at the store, all disability parking full, so I parked off to the side, in a No Parking, where numerous other people had parked.

I had the neighbor's list out, mine was a mental one so, of course, so I forgot a few items I needed and picked up  a few I didn't.

The nice thing about Dollar Days is that most of the sale items are located at the end of the aisles and save a lt of searching. I found the soup easily, all in one spot, and picked up the 6 of one, the 2 of another and 2 of the third. I found the cereal, hers and mine, and everything else on her list.

I was tiring, couldn't think of what else I needed and was ready to check out...and then I remembered. I needed toilet paper. I grabbed the package on sale and headed for the cashier.

I did my order first, then hers, and pulled my bags out to pack everything up. And there's something else, I hate those bags. They won't stay open so you can pack in a logical way, which is why my daughter has these great bags the are open and easy to pack.

I struggled and struggled, and had to lean on the counter as my back hurt. I lifted and packed, and lifted bags much to heavy for me until I finally got everything on the cart. By then I was totally fatigued, in pain, and overheated from the stress and struggle.

I made it to the car, again more lifting, home, more lifting, and finally had the groceries delivered to the neighbor and mine in the door.

I wish I could have left it all where it was, but...frozen I put the necessities away. Left the rest. Today, after a night of pain and feeling totally worn, I still have groceries to put away.

I grabbed the package of toilet paper, and, as I was down to the last roll, proceeded to rip the package open to put it all away,


The one item I needed, toilet paper, and what did I buy...paper towels. I'm not going back to the store, not today anyways. I figure if I run out I can borrow from the neighbor, I figure she owes me that at least.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Cognitive Testing

Years ago, early into my disease process, I went through two very painful days of cognitive testing. I was never genius level, but I was smart, and I had a terrific memory, especially for numbers.  I could feel when it changed, the lapses in memory, short term, and knew it was affecting my job performance. That was when I sought help, and ended up in testing.

At my recent visit to the MS Clinic, the Occupational Therapist did a short test of my cognition and memory. It's a painful process...when you fail, though there is no real pass or fail, more like you remember or you don't.

I couldn't repeat the five words she gave me without repetition, and after a delay, not without prompts. There was a test for sequences and patterns. 1 to A, then what follows? Of course, it was 2 to B and then 3 to C and so on. It took me a few minutes to get it going, not a good start.

What really surprised me was the clock. She gave me a circle and told me to put the numbers on it. Easy-peasy, I thought, and did it right. Then she said "Put the hands on the clock at ten after eleven."
I did ten to two. I couldn't believe it. I know how to tell time, not all my watches are digital. But the brain is a strange and wonderful thing.

The rest of the tests were simple, at least I didn't struggle or make any big mistakes. Still, those lapses are enough to give you a moment of consideration. Have I made mistakes I'm not aware of, what have I forgotten that might have been important?

When you've been smart, held a responsible job, successfully, it's a hard thing to accept.

What's that old saying...A mind is a terrible thing to waste. That's exactly how I feel.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

A Trip to the MS Clinic

As I am not under any specific treatment plan, my visits to the MS Clinic have been a yearly affair. But the clinics have been so busy, as each serves a large geographical area. My trip is 200 KM, so imagine the area they pull from.

My annual appointment became every 18 months, and this year even longer. So, when they called with a cancellation, I grabbed at the chance, better than having to do that drive in winter.

But, I still hate the drive alone. Well. not the drive itself as it's an easy highway drive, it's the city streets in a city I don't know (previous visits aside).

I called my brother and he drove over an hour to get here and another almost two hours to get to the clinic. We stopped for lunch half way there, and did a small tour of Kingston, as we got turned around. Obviously my skills as navigator are not the best.

The visit takes time, as you see the nurse, the physiotherapist, and an occupational therapist. This time I had some tests done that support the balance issues I have, and the memory and concentration concerns.

In these cognitive tests, they give you patterns to repeat, like a list of words, and test immediate recall and recall after doing a different task.

They gave me a sentence and I was so surprised, I burst out laughing. Then I had to explain. The sentence was something like (I can't remember exactly, of course) "A man named John will help you today." Of course I laughed, as my brother's name is John, and he was a big help that day.

They asked the date, and of course I knew the day, Tuesday, the month October and the year. But the day gave me a moment's hesitation. I said the 16th, as my bro and I had been talking about it in the car, and he told me it was the 16th.

The OT said it was the 18th. And I said maybe it was my brother who should be having these tests, as I was following his lead. The dates get lost sometimes, once you're retired.

All in all it was a good day. I like the staff, especially my doctor as he's so easy to talk to, and love my brother for his ongoing support.

And the trees were beautiful heading east, the sky glorious on the way back, what more can you ask for?

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Paying for Activity

I love that quote from the movie 'Unstoppable' about the train being "a wreck on a wreck". That is exactly how I feel today.

It seems as if all the good work from my pain workshop has been for naught. I had a great day Saturday, a day trip through the lovely fall countryside with my son and his family. Hours sitting in the car, some walking, maybe a lot of walking for me, but well worth it.

That night it was pain meds and the heating pad, as it was the next day. "The cost of doing business" one might say. And I accept that, have lived with that for too many years.

Yesterday, I had a turkey dinner for Thanksgiving with my daughter and her in laws. Not so much walking, but more sitting around. It seems the choices to sit are low, cushy sofas, or hard wooden kitchen chairs. I made it home but, now pay the consequences.

If I had my choice, I would still be in bed, but it's garbage day, a day I like to get things cleaned up and organized. I barely made it to the curb and back.

Pain is one thing, something I've lived with for too many years, it's the all over lousy feeling, the headache, the brain fog, the extreme fatigue that I find distressing. I can work through the pain, it's this other that I have a hard time coping with. The feeling of being a wreck on a wreck.

The garbage is out, and that may be all I get done today. Such a waste as the sun is shining and it is a beautiful fall day. I would have loved another day trip just to enjoy this Ontario autumn.

At least I have left over turkey for a sandwich...which may be the highlight of my day.

Maybe tomorrow will be a better day. Sing it all together.....tomorrow, tomorrow...and I don't know any more of the lyrics, sorry Annie.

Monday, 3 October 2016


It must be the change in the weather, but I have been so tired of late. After a few days of marathon napping, I found myself wide awake at that awful time...4 A.M..

I read, but wasn't making any sense of what I read, so I watched television, but I felt restless, unable to focus. So I picked up my crochet. Lucky for me I always have a project on the go.

Today, I took my neighbor to the lab so she could get her blood work done, and then we headed to Walmart. I needed groceries, and my prescription, and of course, yarn.

There was a notice in the paper, calling for knitters and crocheters, and yeah, I qualify. Apparently there are winter games being held in January for those over 55, and they want to present people with a scarf, so they need about 1000 to be made.

The requirements were simple, colors to be a medium to dark blue, a medium to dark green and some white, 65 inches long and 6 inches wide. Any design, any combination of those colors.

I can do that, so I bought some yarn.

I wore my best loved jean jacket but it was too much for the weather today, too hot to wear wandering the store. I sat on the bench to wait for my friend, and remembered my prescription, and had to wander to the far end of the store and back.

By the time I got back to the bench I was in a sweat, so tired I needed to get home to rest, cool off, and in such pain with my back and hip.

I see another nap in my future, and should start setting a timer, so I don't overdo it and interfere with my night time sleep.

I do hate this kind of fatigue when I have things I want and need to do. Oh well, tomorrow is another day.