Category Archives: MS Brain Skills

For Those Who Might Have Forgotten—Forget-me-nots

An Official MS Flower

As I do, I have been complaining about Spring quite a bit lately and will probably do it more in the future.

But for those who actually like this season, I thought I would re-post this past blog in dedication to them.   Please allow me to send you some flowers in the form of this particular repeat post-

Do you have a favorite flower, friends?

I am not just asking my female readers; men can appreciate flowers too.

Although their flowering tastes likely go to something masculine like a braided money tree or a Venus fly trap (both of which are actually plants but so what?) Men enjoy money, eating things and things that eat things, so these plants are great for them.

 

But speaking of eating things, men may also enjoy edible flowers with a sports theme like the bouquet I found above. Or, maybe a flower that reminds them of a night out with their buddies, like the red hot poker flower.

One time a beau called my mom and asked what my favorite flower was before he sent me a surprise. Yes, he was a keeper but try as I did, I wasn’t able to keep him.

She didn’t know and so she tried to casually call and ask me. I didn’t know either.

And frankly, if I did know, I likely would have forgotten.

Which brings me to the basis of this particular blog. It is spring time and spring reminds us of flowers. But lately, what I have been reminded of is all the things I keep forgetting.

I told you last week that when parking my car I forgot to put it in park. How does one forget that? Drive, means drive so you move the gear shift to the D symbol. Shouldn’t it be easy to remember to move the little symbol to the P for park when you want to park?

 

You would think so but then I did it again when I was recently driving my mom’s car. (Shhhh- don’t tell her. She will totally freak out!)

Luckily, I was still in the car when this happened and so I was able to quickly remedy the situation.

Later that same day, I forgot I was driving her car. I told my sister that we needed to go get mom’s car even though we were already in it.

 

Speaking of my mom, I thought it would be nice to send her a surprise for mother’s day from her whole family. I ordered online, typed out the card on the form and hit send.

My mom’s family consists of her three daughters, (I am one of them in case any readers are having a brain fog kind of day,) and her five grandsons.

Here is what I wrote on the card-
Happy Mother’s Day from your loving daughters and nephews

The next day I was brushing my teeth when I realized my mistake. The boys I meant to include in the card were my nephews, but her grandsons.

What was really upsetting was why I remembered that while brushing my teeth.

Sometimes it is not my fault when I forget something. Like the two times I have forgotten that milk belongs in the refrigerator, not the pantry. Doesn’t it make more sense that milk would be kept in the pantry, right next to the cereal, the peanut butter and the cookies, where it is paired so well?

 

The other day I was looking at my website and my name looked off. I thought my wonderful web guru had misspelled my name and I was bummed that the website had been up over a year and I had never noticed. I got distracted for a bit and when I looked again, my name was right. My web guy hadn’t messed up. I had briefly forgotten how to spell my own name.

The weirdest thing I have been forgetting lately is how to swallow. Swallowing isn’t something you should have to remember; you should just do it. The youngest of my nephews (my mom’s grandsons even though I called them her nephews on her card, just keeping things clear,) have been swallowing on their own since they were tiny babies. So how come I have trouble remembering how to do it?

This forgetting to swallow doesn’t happen when I am eating or drinking and it usually happens at night. I am joking about it here, (cause that’s what I do- take that MS!) but it is actually very scary. Slight panic ensues and I have to stop, calm down, and desperately try to remember how to swallow.

 

I have talked to other people with multiple sclerosis and it turns out this memory lapse is quite common, as opposed to all of our other memory lapses that are slightly less common.

It is important that I do some research on each of my blogs so I spent five seconds looking up how swallowing works. Turns out, in the long, complicated, Google description, words like ‘complex process’, ‘neuromuscular’ and ‘controlled by neurological mechanisms,’ are part of the descriptions.

It makes sense then, that it would be something our MS brains would forget how to do.

 

So this spring while I am forgetting important things, I have no clue or memory what my favorite flower is or should be. Then it came to me, forget-me-nots!

What a perfect flower for us MS’er’s, the flower that just screams to be remembered……

In further researching this blog I looked up forget-me-nots and learned some information that made me even more convinced that they should be the official flower of multiple sclerosis.

They can only tolerate partial sun and enjoy the shade even though the need some sun! How perfect for MS’ers is that?

They like moist habitats. Ok, that one is a stretch.

But, while they can exist anywhere, they are most common in Northern Hemispheres, just like my MS friends and I.

They don’t come in orange, the official MS color chosen because all the other cool colors were taken.

 

And they are not the prettiest flower, but so what? MS isn’t very pretty either.

But when you see a bunch of forget-me-nots, they are absolutely lovely to behold-just like my MS friends!

Plus, how can you possibly forget their name?

Well, give me a few minutes and I probably will….

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Some exciting news to share!

MSstation Book Club has named MS Madness!  A “Giggle More, Cry Less” Story of Multiple Sclerosis their book of the month for May!

Check it out here-

MSstation Book Club

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Press One for Dumb

MS Stupid is as MS Stupid Does

For the record, I’m not saying that people with brain fog or other cognitively limiting chronic illnesses like multiple sclerosis are dumb. That would be wrong.

And it would get people really, really mad at me just as I am trying to sell them a book or two-too dumb a move even for me!

What I AM saying is that too often, MS makes ME dumb, (ie, stupid, slow, dim-witted, ignorant, simple minded, etc).

True, I did many a dumb thing before the onset of MS. But since no one can really know when the onset of MS was, that is kind of a dumb statement.

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The point is, the dumb things I have done since then are immeasurable.

Just the other day I stressed myself out trying to jam my mug of tea into the toaster oven. It would not fit. I kept trying. It didn’t make sense. I re-heat my tea all the time; it had to fit.

I had brewed a whole other cup before it occurred to me that I usually re-heated my tea in the microwave. I tried to fit the mug into that and of course, it fit nicely.

The two machines aren’t even near each other.  Are they even machines?

Last summer a friend took me and her family out to dinner. She asked me to make the reservations. The party was made up of me, my friend Sam, Bunny, Jack and Lexi. I made the reservations for the 6 of us.

There was an extra chair and place setting at the table. I couldn’t figure out why- me, Sam, Bunny, Jack and Lexi-six.

Eventually the waitress removed the extra plates and silverware but I was still confused. Clearly the waitress didn’t know how to count. (If this sounds familiar to you it might be because I have whined about this incident before and so no, you are not dumb.)

My mom recently bought a Jitterbug phone, a phone specifically designed for older people who may not have owned a cell phone in the past- in other words, super easy. Guess who had a hard time setting it up for her?

Oh eventually we got through it. But it took both of us reading the instructions repeatedly and at least four calls to the company to do it. And while I sat on hold with them, all my brain could come up with is “jitterbug, boom, boom, jitterbug) the opening bars to a popular 80’s song of my youth.

Smart phone indeed!

The fact that MS makes me dumb is further complicated by all of the paperwork that comes from living with a chronic illness. Recently I had to go to three different offices two times each (one office three times,) just to change my address. Apparently I messed up the forms on the first go around.

As I sat in one particular office my frustration grew as large as the giant high tech TV screen in front of me. The screen announced all the different options for people who have trouble with paperwork.

One by one different segments would flash that said say if you are Spanish and need an interpreter to help you with the paperwork, press two when dialing the main number. If you are French and need an interpreter to help you with the paperwork, press three. If you are Vietnamese and need an interpreter to help you with the paperwork, press four. If you are German and need an interpreter to help you with the paperwork, press five.

Please don’t think that this blog is a comment on closing our borders, as it is definitely not. My own grandparents took a boat across the Atlantic to live on our great shores and more power to them for that.

Nor is it a commentary on illegal aliens as I am way too dumb to try to sort out that issue.

What I am asking is where was the screen that says if you are too dumb to handle all of this intense paperwork yourself, press one when dialing the main number. Or even better, where was the screen that says if you used to be smart and are now dumb but still look normal and smart, press one.

Thing is, this is another frustration of living with an invisible illness. I look normal. My work history and resume shows that I was normal at one time.

When I try to explain that I am now dumb, I am too dumb to explain it well. That is when people decide that I must be lazy. Why can’t they understand that cognitive difficulties from MS can make me dumb, not lazy?

Seems kind of stupid to me….

Recently I had even more paperwork to fill out and have since discovered a wonderful nonprofit organization that can help with some types of tricky paperwork for the slow folks like me. Those non-profits rock!

A wonderful woman filled out the forms and I was super grateful. But then I got a letter from the agency we were writing to and it said the paperwork was filled out wrong and since it was, I would now have to jump through even more horrible paperwork hoops to get a response from them.

But how could this be? A really smart person had filled it out for me. And she was not a person who just looked smart, she really was. Her brain functioned at total capacity.

I called her to inquire. She made some calls and it turned out that a bazillion years before, when I had stupidly tried to fill the paperwork out myself, I did it wrong. So even though the current forms were done exactly right, I now had to try to correct previous mistakes that no longer applied to anything, including the latest “done right” paperwork!

And this had to be done immediately with the nice wise lady walking me through it over the phone very slowly and repeating the directions several times. I can only imagine how that paperwork turns out.

I know there are some people in the world, who think that people with disabilities are scamming the system, making excuses or lying about their conditions. After all, these supposedly wise folks believe, if you look normal you must be normal and are just faking something.

Well, I would like to state that people like me are absolutely not doing this. Besides the major right and wrong aspect, we don’t have the capacity to pull off any of these scams.

We are way too……, well, you know.

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Want to fight your MS cognitive difficulties by doing a super smart thing?

Want to purchase my book, MS Madness! A “Giggle More, Cry Less” Story of Multiple Sclerosis AND  donate to an awesome cause?

Purchase through this link below by the end of March and 50% of the proceeds from the sale will go directly to the Nancy Davis Foundation Race to Erase MS campaign!

Race to Erase MS!

 

The Bladder and Fatigue Duke it Out

A multiple sclerosis war of the personal kind

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I am trying to better appreciate my bladder, but it sure doesn’t make it easy.

By far, my most annoying MS symptoms are fatigue and the unruly behavior of my obnoxious bladder. Cognitive difficulties are high on the list too, but since my cognitively limited brain often forgets what I am forgetting, cognitive difficulties come in third.

The problem with the bladder and fatigue being my two most annoying symptoms is that I could handle one without the other. I could rest my fatigue away, but my bladder won’t let me! I could constantly empty my bladder a thousand times a day, but I get too tired to do so.

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Please allow me to explain as delicately as possible. I, the lover of babies have changed hundreds of the worst diapers known to man; yet do not like talking about bladder/bowel stuff. Luckily, I only need to focus on the bladder here.

Fatigue is a constant battle, especially in the morning. If I absolutely have to wake up at a certain time, I need to come up with tricks to do so. Just setting my alarm clock doesn’t work. My tired brain has trained itself to shut off the alarm in my sleep.

“What’s that horrible sound?” my brain asks itself. “Oh, here it is, let’s get rid of that.”

This soliloquy goes on without my consent.

So I set my cell phone alarm as a backup, but to no avail. My brain has learned to turn that off in my sleep as well. Funny how my brain works brilliantly when I am asleep, but hardly at all when I’m awake.

When I need to wake at a particular time, I try to make this happen by setting both my alarm clock and my cell phone and then, placing my cell phone away from my sleeping body. Want to start my day early? The cell phone goes on the nightstand on the side of the bed I don’t sleep on.

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Have an early doctor’s appointment? The cell phone goes on the dresser across the room- the logic being the further away I have to get from my sleeping position to shut the alarm off, the more awake I will be when I do it.

Need to catch a plane? That only happens once a year but as it’s a crucial reason to GET UP on time, the cell phone goes in an open dresser drawer. The trick being that I open all the drawers and have to sleepily find the one actually holding the cell phone.

Soon that won’t work either and I will have to hide my cell phone outside of my bedroom and who knows if I will even hear it then.

But the battle between fatigue and bladder take place on the days when I don’t have to get up at a certain time. Or, I do, but my tired brain has already shut off the alarms disturbing my sleep.

I could take all the rest I need, and boy do I need rest, but my bladder won’t allow it. The morning bladder alarm doesn’t fool around, the bladder alarms at 12 AM, 2 AM, 2 30 AM, 3 AM, 4 AM and 5 15 AM notwithstanding. My fatigued body just sleeps through those. One might ask how I know they happen if I am sleeping. The answer is that my fatigue is so pissed off about them, (pissed off- get it?) that it makes sure I remember how obnoxious all those interruptions were the next day.

But the 9 AM ish bladder run won’t quit. I try to ignore it as I lay comfortably resting. I realize I can’t ignore it so I start to move to address the issue. But in the process of moving, I find an even more comfortable resting position.

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Slumber filled moments go by and the bladder grows more determined. My fatigue and my bladder begin to argue.

“Let’s the girl sleep! She’s tired. Why don’t you stop being a bully and leave her alone!” argues my fatigue.

“She has things to do, first being to take care of me! I’m important too you know. Why do you always get your boring tired way?” my bladder argues back.

One might try to defend my fatigue by saying when you need your rest, you should get your rest. But this fatigue/bladder diatribe often happens after 12, 13 plus hours of sleep.

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One might defend my bladder by saying I’m just being lazy. The girl needs to get up and get moving. Except I WANT to get up and get moving. I don’t get bored easily and always, always have things I want to do. In the morning the first thing I really want to do is have my beloved cup of tea. Except I am so damn tired and when I’m not, I am in the bathroom.

Eventually the bladder wins this particular battle. Should fatigue try to lean me towards going back to bed, the bladder shouts again with another urgent message, only seconds after I have taken care of the first. And so it goes.

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I’ve been told the bladder is a muscle and muscles are supposed to make you stronger. If stronger means getting up and moving if only from bed to potty and back again, then I should be grateful. I’m trying to be. But mostly I’m just pissed.

That is, when I’m not too tired.

Dear sleepless MS friends-please know that I do understand that I am lucky to be able to sleep, even if I am getting up constantly to pee. I know that many of my fellow MS’er’s have extreme trouble sleeping and for that I offer my condolences.

What can I say? Your MS is not my MS and your MS is weird.

January Contest-

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So only one more contest left until next month’s release of MS Madness! A “Giggle More, Cry Less” Story of Multiple Sclerosis!

What do you think of the book cover image, posted to the right of this blog?

While it’s too late for the book itself, I’ve been thinking that the MS monster on the cover needs a name. Nothing cuddly or loveable, he is an atrocious beast after all. But something fitting that I may call him while I promote the book.

Do you agree? If so, this month’s contest asks you to come up with a name for him. The most creative, appropriate name for him wins a $10 Amazon gift card and an autographed copy of the book as soon as it’s released!

Please feel free to post your ideas in the comments section, on my Yvonne deSousa.com Facebook page (and please like it if you have not already done so,) or in a private message on my website. Be sure you are comfortable with giving up the name. I may ask you to sign something giving me permission to adopt your prize winning name to my MS monster.

Contest open until midnight on 1/23/14.

The winner will be announced in the 1/31/14 blog!

 

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Falling Backwards

An up close, in depth, comprehensive look at multiple sclerosis “cog fog”

 

First things first with today’s blog post- please don’t sue me. I did not come up with the name of multiple sclerosiscog fog.” I found it on the internet on two different sites and so I have no clue who to attribute this clever phrase too.

But it certainly fits to describe when your MS cognitive difficulties collide with ongoing brain fog. Thus I am using this expression to help others understand one aspect of “cog fog.”

And yes, I know that I said this was a comprehensive look at “cog fog” and yet, I am only focusing on one aspect of it.  That is lesson number 1. When you have “cog fog” you often have no idea what you’re talking about.

Anyway, tomorrow is the day when we will have to change our clocks. This is incredibly stressful for me. While autumn is my favorite time of year and I actually don’t mind winter, this clock changing thing is horrible.

 

What is it all about anyway? Everyone grumbles and complains about it getting darker earlier, (I think that is what happens.) Why can’t we just leave it to the mighty guy upstairs to tell us when it is time to settle down for the evening and put our PJ’s on? Why stress about it and then try to direct the hour of the setting sun?

I have adorable little relatives in the western part of the country who don’t change their clocks; which is a good thing because they don’t know how to tell time. But their parents and the rest of their state don’t change them either.

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This makes the time difference even more confusing when it changes in my area twice a year. I can’t even remember the time difference once a year. Is the whole concept of some parts of the country manually changing the time while other parts don’t just a huge conspiracy to keep me from calling the little ones hourly just to hear them say, “I wub you, auntie.”

The next stressful thing about this process is getting it right. I can never remember if I am supposed to move the clock an hour forward or an hour backwards. Right up until the minute I do it, I am still confused.

Plus, they “the official people in the know,” say you should change the clock at midnight. What if you are not up at midnight?

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Here’s what happens. I call my mom twenty times that evening and ask her to remind me what I am supposed to do. Exasperated, she will say, “Yvonne, in the fall you move the clock back one hour. So if it is midnight, you would move the clock back to eleven. In the spring you do the opposite.”

“Ok, I will write it down so I don’t forget.”

And then I will forget to write the info down and will call her again.

I try to always do the right thing when I am supposed to do it. So to be prepared, I turn the clocks back one hour before I fall asleep, whatever time that happens to be.

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Then I wake up for a bathroom run and to make sure I am not confused in the morning, turn the clock back an hour again. When I wake up for my crack of dawn bathroom run, I don’t remember if I have changed the clocks already and if I did, did I move the hands back one hour, or ahead one hour? And was that the direction I was supposed to move them in?

The sun outside doesn’t help because the whole point of changing the clocks is to change what time the sun does its sun thing…

To make matters even more confusing for my MS brain, in this new electronic age some things change themselves. I can just never remember which.

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The cable box has a time different from my clock- which is right? My cell phone has an altogether different time, does it change itself? How does it know what the actual time is?

What about the microwave? Who tells the microwave what time it is? And whoever does that, why don’t they tell the stove the time as well?

Next in sorting this mess out, I turn on the TV news. They will definitely have the right time.

Except, what time zone are they broadcasting from? Are they in Eastern, Central, Mountain, Pacific, Oceanic, Astrophysic or what? And does that time zone change its clocks back or forward or not at all?

You would think I could rely on the local news, they MUST have the accurate time. Except I just heard that our local news stations was bought by Fox Television and aren’t they in LA?

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So you without MScog fog” can see how something relatively simply to the rest of the world (or state or time zone or whatever,) can become completely overwhelming to someone with MS. After stressing about this over and over I wind up calling my mom in the morning to see what time it is.

“It’s 6AM and it’s Sunday. Go back to bed!” she abruptly and groggily tells me.

“Is that 6AM yesterday time or 6AM today time?”

Finally, someone helped me to see the REAL importance of this event.

“The fall time change means you get an extra hour of sleep..”

Now THAT is something I can appreciate.

I love sleep and I will take all the extra hours I can get. In order to better appreciate the extra sleep this year, I have decided not to change anything, at least not until late the next day. At that time I will call someone and ask them to tell me what time it is.

Can someone please give me their number? Funny how the operator tells me my mother’s number has been disconnected….

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And now for our DWTS moment- Thank you, thank you, thank you Jack for finally mentioning the fatigue! I have been waiting all season for you to bring up MS related fatigue and how that has got to be affecting you. Of course, when you did, your partner Cheryl Burke did not get it. BUT, she did say the key words, “you have to tell me how you feel so we can be on the same page.”

 

Oh, wouldn’t it be wonderful if all the people in our lives were to put that statement out to us and really mean it? Cheryl must have really meant it because she and Jack then went on to dance an incredible Jive!

And the biggest shock of the evening- Ozzy looked like he actually knew what was going on!

Memorable MS quote of the show- “I feel like I am turning into a zombie,” Jack.

I can relate Jack; I can definitely relate.

 

Vote for Jack Osbourne and his partner Cheryl Burke by calling 1-800-868-3402 up to 60 minutes after the show on Monday nights or by logging onto ABC.com or Facebook.com/votedwts up to 24 hours after.

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Forget-me-nots

An official MS flower

 

Do you have a favorite flower, friends? I am not just asking my female readers; men can appreciate flowers too. Although their flowering tastes likely go to something masculine like a braided money tree or a Venus fly trap (both of which are actually plants but so what?) Men enjoy money, eating things and things that eat things, so these plants are great for them.

But speaking of eating things, men may also enjoy edible flowers with a sports theme like the bouquet I found below. Or, maybe a flower that reminds them of a night out with their buddies, like the red hot poker flower.

 

One time a beau called my mom and asked what my favorite flower was before he sent me a surprise. Yes, he was a keeper but try as I did, I wasn’t able to keep him. She didn’t know and so she tried to casually call and ask me. I didn’t know either. And frankly, if I did know, I likely would have forgotten.

Which brings me to the basis of this particular blog. It is spring time and spring reminds us of flowers. But lately, what I have been reminded of is all the things I keep forgetting.

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I told you last week that when parking my car I forgot to put it in park. How does one forget that? Drive, means drive so you move the gear shift to the D symbol. Shouldn’t it be easy to remember to move the little symbol to the P for park when you want to park?

You would think so but then I did it again when I was recently driving my mom’s car. (Shhhh- don’t tell her. She will totally freak out!) Luckily, I was still in the car when this happened and so I was able to quickly remedy the situation.

Later that same day, I forgot I was driving her car. I told my sister that we needed to go get mom’s car even though we were already in it.

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Speaking of my mom, I thought it would be nice to send her a surprise for mother’s day from her whole family. I ordered online, typed out the card on the form and hit send. My mom’s family consists of her three daughters, (I am one of them in case any readers are having a brain fog kind of day,) and her five grandsons.

Here is what I wrote on the card-

Happy Mother’s Day from your loving daughters and nephews

The next day I was brushing my teeth when I realized my mistake. The boys I meant to include in the card were my nephews, but her grandsons. What was really upsetting was why I remembered that while brushing my teeth.

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Sometimes it is not my fault when I forget something. Like the two times I have forgotten that milk belongs in the refrigerator, not the pantry. Doesn’t it make more sense that milk would be kept in the pantry, right next to the cereal, the peanut butter and the cookies, where it is paired so well?

The other day I was looking at my website and my name looked off. I thought my wonderful web guru Michael of Kemp Resources had misspelled my name and I was bummed that the website had been up over a year and I had never noticed. I got distracted for a bit and when I looked again, my name was right. My web guy hadn’t messed up. I had briefly forgotten how to spell my name.

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The weirdest thing I have been forgetting lately is how to swallow. Swallowing isn’t something you should have to remember; you should just do it. The youngest of my nephews (my mom’s grandsons even though I called them her nephews on her card, just keeping things clear,) have been swallowing on their own since they were tiny babies. So how come I have trouble remembering how to do it?

This forgetting to swallow doesn’t happen when I am eating or drinking and it usually happens at night. I am joking about it here, (cause that’s what I do- take that MS!) but it is actually very scary. Slight panic ensues and I have to stop, calm down, and desperately try to remember how to swallow.

I have talked to other people with multiple sclerosis and it turns out this memory lapse is quite common, as opposed to all of our other memory lapses that are slightly less common.

It is important that I do some research on each of my blogs so I spent five seconds looking up how swallowing works. Turns out, in the long, complicated, Google description, words like ‘complex process’, ‘neuromuscular’ and ‘controlled by neurological mechanisms,’ are part of the descriptions. It makes sense then, that it would be something our MS brains would forget how to do.

 

So this spring while I am forgetting important things, I have no clue or memory what my favorite flower is or should be. Then it came to me, forget-me-nots! What a perfect flower for us MS’er’s, the flower that just screams to be remembered……

In further researching this blog I looked up forget-me-nots and learned some information that made me even more convinced that they should be the official flower of multiple sclerosis. They can only tolerate partial sun and enjoy the shade even though they need some sun! How perfect for MS’ers is that?

They like moist habitats. Ok, that one is a stretch. But, while they can exist anywhere, they are most common in Northern Hemispheres, just like my MS friends and I.

They don’t come in orange, the official MS color chosen because all the other cool colors were taken.

 

And they are not the prettiest flower, but so what? MS isn’t very pretty either. But when you see a bunch of forget-me-nots, they are absolutely lovely to behold-just like my MS friends!

Plus, how can you possibly forget their name? Well, give me a few minutes and I probably will….

 

Only one more week to enter the What’s in a Name contest friends!!!! Go to the What’s in the Name Blog post and help me title my upcoming book for a prize! Contest ends 5/24/13.

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Daffodil picture courtesy of Barbara Epich Struna http://barbarastruna.blogspot.com/

Image courtesy of [89 studio] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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MS Counts

Multiple Sclerosis and Arithmetic

This August I received some disturbing news; Count von Count passed away. I didn’t hear about this from the internet or TV news, but from my own local newspaper. It seems that Count von Count actually lived in my neighborhood (my real neighborhood, not Sesame Street.)

It made me sad that I had a famous Count living near me and I didn’t even know it. Technically I suppose, one would say that Jerry Nelson, the man who voiced the Count, was the one who actually died but to me that’s just semantics. Count von Count is dead and I could really use his help right about now. Vampires are supposed to exist forever, aren’t they?

 

I have said before that I missed out on the wonders of Sesame Street when I was growing up, as mainstream America, my mom included, worried that PBS and a big yellow bird might be sending out subversive messages to our nation’s children and thus, the show was forbidden. Missing out on the amazing learning techniques the Count had to offer has convinced me that is why I was horrible at math.

I have gotten over it and am not in therapy or anything, but it is still painful. By the time my nephew came around, my mom was less worried about secret messages hidden in various parts of that street and I would watch when my nephew was visiting. By then it was too late. I was still lousy at math.

As I age and MS takes over, my math skills, especially counting, have gotten worse. I’m not sure if I hung out with Count von Count he would be able to help or not, but it is a lost opportunity.

My first issue with counting is what my family refers to as “Portuguese math.”

Now before you freak out and accuse me of using stereotypes and being discriminatory, please let me explain. And I bet those of you who grew up in Portuguese households will understand and agree.

“Portuguese math” is when you take a number of something and then multiply the number by how many times you talk about that number. For example, around the dinner table your brother might say that when he was fishing he caught a fish that was ten inches long.

By dinner the next night and after he has told 6 of his buddies the tale, the fish is now 60 inches long. By the next family gathering, the fish will be 6 and one half feet and somewhere he has the picture to prove it.

Among my Portuguese friends one has an aunt who says her rosary 80 times a day and a cousin who was asked out 250 times in one weekend. With a daughter that popular with the boys the aunt needs to keep up with her prayers.

Still confused about “Portuguese math?” Here is an MS example.

Last night I swear I got up to pee at least twenty times. By the time this blog post comes out, I will swear that night (10/1) I got up to pee at least 200 times.

By Christmas the story will go like this “the worst was that night in October- remember? That night I had to get out of bed to pee at least 2000 times. Damn MS!

Speaking of MS, MS is now also affecting my counting skills. My friend asked me to make dinner reservations. I told the restaurant there would be four of us. I had counted everyone included in our party and did not leave anyone out. I even remembered to count myself. I counted twice actually.

But when we arrived at the restaurant and everyone had shown up, the hostess was surprised that there were five of us. I counted again, and again counted myself, but I still got four-me, Lexi, Sam, Jack and Bunny-four. Imagine my confusion when they sat us at a table for five and there was not extra place setting. Me, Lexi, Sam, Jack and Bunny- four. I’m still confused.

But here is where MS and math totally overwhelm me. My whole life I have been taught that there are 24 hours in one day. Most people sleep about 7-8 hours leaving them with what my calculator reads- truly my calculator, I had to go get it to figure this out,-16-17 hours left in the day. How come when I count the hours of my day I only come up with 5?

Dismissing the fact that I probably sleep about 10-12 hours a night and that when I get up it takes me a while to get going. And dismissing the fact that by 6 in the evening I am done and only able to veg out in front of the tv or computer.

If you call during that time I may be in such a comatose state that I am not responsible for our conversation. Fair warning- I may be too out of it to warn you then.

I consider it a good day if I am up, showered and dressed by 12PM, or 1 PM on a decent day. Likely, I will rest for about 45-60 minutes somewhere around 3PM and then before you know it, here is 6 PM again.

See what I mean? When I count the hours in my day I get 5, not 24. This makes no sense.

Oh Count von Count, how I wish I knew you better!

 

 

Image courtesy of / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of / FreeDigitalPhotos.net