Tag Archives: bruins

Lessons from an MS Semi Pro

Things NOT to do when you have multiple sclerosis, things your neurologist might not mention

 

A couple of weeks ago, I was preparing to do an injection of my DMD. For all you MS newbies out there, DMD actually stands for Disease Modifying Drugs.

I’m not being condescending defining that for you; I only recently discovered what it stood for myself.  Before that I thought it actually stood for the Don’t Make me Do them meds or those Damn MS Demon shots.

Despite all the oral medications that have been recently developed, I’m still doing shots.   Even though I don’t like them, they seem to be working.

In order for me to get through the self injecting process, I need to use the auto injector.  One push of an awful button and then I’m done.  But this time, when I pushed the button, nothing happened.

As far as I could tell, I had done everything right.  In investigating this issue, I held the tip of the injector up to my face and looked inside.  HUGE mistake.

Picture 77

The injector fired suddenly and thankfully, miraculously, I was able to jerk my hand quick enough to keep the meds and the needle from my eyes.  Instead, the medication dispersed all over my thermal Bruins blanket which was just silly.  I have owned this blanket for 15 years and it is still one of the best Christmas gifts ever!  It is super warm, super strong and super healthy and it doesn’t need any drugs.

(Unlike the time I used one of my injections to fix a wobbly coffee table but you’ll have to read MS Madness! for THAT story.)

Picture 75

Anyway, after the auto injector blunder I realized I had just learned a valuable lesson in an MS thing not to do.  Then it occurred to me that this incident happened on 12/17, the five year anniversary of my MS diagnosis and I didn’t even realize it at the time.

I never forget the date of my diagnosis but I also never remember it either.  (If that makes sense to you, you may have MS.)

 

The coincidence of the trouble with this particular shot made me think back to the many other lessons I have learned on my MS journey.  I decided the right thing to do would be to share them with you.

So here you go- I hope they help.

Note- not all of them are MS related but they are all MS related.

(If that makes sense to you then, again, you may have multiple sclerosis.)

The first one we already covered- don’t look down the barrel of a loaded gun- oops I mean, loaded auto injector.  (But don’t look down the barrel of a loaded gun either- that’s not good.)

Secondly, if you are prepping your upper left arm to give yourself a shot, don’t inhale the alcohol swab. It’s not Jagermeister.  It won’t taste good or be any fun.

 

You CAN inhale the alcohol swab if you want to go on your own weird cleanse as you won’t feel like eating or drinking anything for days.  Except pretzels.  You may want lots and lots of stale pretzels…

Third-don’t look back after a cute guy smiles at you.  You may just wind up tripping over the threshold of the door you are supposed to be coolly walking through, not awkwardly falling through.

The fourth lesson is similar to the first.  If you are deciding whether or not you like the scent of an air freshener, don’t spray it into your face to figure it out.  There are easier ways to get the information.

The next two lessons take us into the kitchen.  The fifth is that salad dressing is for salad, maple syrup is for waffles.  Perhaps it might help to remember if you don’t keep them side by side on a shelf in your refrigerator.

 

Sixth, don’t spray your kitchen floor with cooking spray.  Believe it or not, that’s not what it’s for.

And it doesn’t matter how much you like hockey, the sprayed kitchen floor doesn’t cut it.  Nor does it mean your favorite hockey team (the Bruins) might show up just because your kitchen is now as slipperery as an ice rink.

Maybe if you have multiple sclerosis you just shouldn’t use spray things at all…

The seventh lesson is this-don’t sell drugs.  Not even if you have the purest of intentions.  Not even if you are offering such a discount that they wind up being free.  Not even if the drugs will go to waste if you don’t pass them on and people desperately need them.

(For the ugly details on how I learned that lesson check out my prior blog post Lawbreaker.)

 

Since it was near Christmas time when I almost accidentally injected my eyeball, the next two lessons are related to the season.  The eighth lesson is don’t try to wrap presents with double sided tape.  It will not work, not even if you’re Martha Stewart.  Better yet, don’t buy double sided tape, even if it’s a good deal and looks just like regular tape except for the tiny words that say it’s double sided.

The ninth lesson is don’t buy Christmas cards with glitter on them.

 

Yes, the glitter is pretty.

Yes the glitter is festive.

But is also a pain in your injection bruised behind.

It will get everywhere.

It will multiply like termites.

It will cover you and everything around you.

It will get in your hair.

 

It will get on your teeth,

It will get on those Christmas cookies you are not supposed to be eating.

It will get on your double sided tape and the two will conspire to enfold you into an endless glitter filled world.

The tenth and last lesson is the most important.

Here it is-

Seriously, very seriously, don’t take yourself too seriously.

Here’s hoping for a healthy, happy, humor filled holiday for all of you!!

 

 

Still a Little Lazy

Too Lazy Even for Me Makes an MS Comeback

 

The plan was to post a brand spanking new (where does that weird expression come from anyway?) blog today.  It really was.  Especially since the last two blogs have been repeats.  

But then important things got in the way like visits with friends, a big Bruins win, Facebook, Christmas preparations, church, MS fatigue and the Season 1 True Detective DVD rental from the library.  

In the balancing act of multiple sclerosis that we MS’ers do all the time, well a brand new blog got pushed off the list.  I was just too tired.  And maybe a little lazy after all those delicious Christmas sweets.  

Which got me thinking about a blog I wrote in 2012 about just how lazy we, as a human race, can be.  

And so I decided to repost this blog from 2012.

 And I promise, no I SWEAR, that I will post a brand new blog NEXT week.  As long as I have finished drooling over Matthew McConaughey in this riveting new drama…

Too Lazy Even for Me

 

So I know that I mention (complain, whine, lament) here a lot about the extreme fatigue that comes with MS.   But it is a fact and with this fact, comes the fact that many an MS’er has learned to take shortcuts to save energy.

Most of these shortcuts involve skipping unnecessary tasks.   Some MS’ers are pretty good at this.

Me, I’m still learning.

Even though I skip watching TV commercials as much as possible (especially in an election year- so glad THAT’S over), I was drawn to a particular commercial recently.  I think what caught my attention was that the commercial started by asking the question “how many buttons does your car have?”

I had never really thought about it.  My car is a paint chipped 2005 Toyota Corolla that has served me well since I bought it pre-owned in 2004 (don’t ask.)

With the exception of the incident where a tree fell on it during a freak winter storm (another don’t ask but now you have the root of the paint chip problem,) I have been very happy with it.

It has buttons but I have never counted how many.  I just push them and go.

 

The commercial was for a 2013 Cadillac XTS and the reason why the commercial was asking about buttons was because this new model of Cadillac has far less buttons than your average vehicle.

The car has sensors that tell the car’s control panel (essentially its dashboard) everything that is happening on the road around you.   It has a Cue which means it can give you infinite listening features as well as unlimited access to all your contacts.

It can connect up to ten different Bluetooth devices and it has Natural Voice Recognition so that you don’t even have to lightly touch the control panel, you can just tell the car what you want it to do.

You can buy this car and go from a few buttons that you have to manually push in your current car to this car where you don’t have to move at all!

 

Maybe it’s me, and keeping in mind that I am all about conserving my energy, but I can’t help thinking that if I am too tired to push a button, then I am probably too tired to be behind the wheel.

Arms too achy to maneuver the steering wheel? Perhaps I don’t belong behind the steering wheel at that particular time.

Only a day after seeing that commercial, a friend sent me an email warning about a problem with newly issued credit cards.  All you shoppers out there, take note.  It seems without you even requesting it, credit card companies are issuing new cards that have a teeny tiny wireless symbol on the back of them.

 

What this means for you is that you no longer have to stress yourself out with the tedious task of swiping your card thru the credit card machine when you purchase something.   You can just pull your card out of your wallet and the WIFI signal will tell the credit card machine all your card info.

Thank goodness!  After a long day of hitting the stores, that little swipe at the register completely does me in.

Again, maybe it’s me, but I am thinking that if I am too tired to be swiping my card for a whole two seconds when I buy something, maybe I shouldn’t be shopping.

Let’s see- I’d really love the new Cadillac XTS but I am just too exhausted to swipe my card.  Oh, I can just hold my card while I walk by the machine.  Great- let’s do it, the Cadillac is all mine!

I received the email warning because, (surprise surprise,) thieves have learned how to use these new cards to steal from you.  They just hold up a flat screen as you happen by a credit card machine and they are good to go.

 

On the days when my fatigue really sets in, if you don’t know me or my MS you could try to call me lazy.  (Try it all you want but I bet I will suddenly find some energy to belt you.)  But in my super long list of things that are exhausting, pushing a button and swiping a card don’t come up.

If they could make a gadget that automatically gives you a shower, puts on your clothes and make up, and styles your hair, I might be interested.

How about a gadget that cooks dinner AND washes the dishes?    Now you’re talking.

If I could recline on my sofa resting my very achy body and just tell a gadget to do the laundry, I might get excited.  I’m not too particular, I would even understand if I had to push a button to activate the thing.  As long as I didn’t have to push the button more than once or push it too hard, I’m all for it.

 

Hey Salt-N-Pepa, the eighties are over, we don’t have to push it anymore.

Unless we want too of course.

Have a fabulous New Year dear friends!!!

 

 

No Spring for You!

A multiple sclerosis weather report

Harvey Leonard majorly annoyed me yesterday.

What, you don’t know who Harvey Leonard is? He is the Boston area’s head honcho in the meteorology world. He’s been at it for over thirty years, cutting his teeth as a somewhat newbie during the infamous Blizzard of 78.

What, you’ve never heard of the Blizzard of 78? It was the weather event of the millennium. You can’t call yourself a true New Englander unless you have a Blizzard of 78 story. I was nine. My story featured me panicking about a giant tidal wave wiping out my town. The snow was nothing, just an excuse to miss school for a bit.

 

Anyway, I was watching Harvey yesterday when he said something that really made me mad. I was so furious that I actually wrote it down. And then I accidentally threw the piece of paper away. But he said something kind of like this, “you’ll definitely need a coat today and no one is happy about that.”

How does he know? He doesn’t speak for me. Perhaps I AM happy about it Mr. Leonard, thank you very much.

 

You may know your weather, getting your reports accurate about 35% of the time as opposed to the 32% accuracy rating of your fellow weathermen,-statistics courtesy of yvonnedesousa.com which means they are totally made up- but I doubt you know what is in the mind of the entire population of Massachusetts. Most of the time I don’t even know what’s in my own mind, so how can you?

As many of you know from some of my past blogs, thinking especially of Chop Their Happy Little Heads Off, I do not like spring. Spring is the least favorite of my seasons.

And may I remind you that I have not once complained about what many seem to think was a treacherous winter.

 

I have not complained about the cold, the rain, the snow, or the wind.

I have not once complained about the several predicted storms we heard about whether or not they actually showed up.

Going back to last October, I did not complain about how dark it gets so early following Daylight Savings Time.

I DID complain about how confusing Daylight Savings Time is in my post Falling Backwards but that was a complaint about math, not the onslaught of winter or the cold or the dark.

 

I am an autumn/winter person and thus was happy when the Farmer’s Almanac talked about a long winter and was even happier when their predictions came true- take that Mr. Leonard!

By not complaining about any of that I respectfully reserve the right to complain about my least favorite season spring, and my second to least favorite season summer. Let’s begin now shall we? Except the irony of all of this is that we who live in the northeast part of the country don’t even have a spring!

No matter what the calendar claims on March 20th, spring does not exist in our world. Oh, we try to pretend it does. We bring out flip flops and line up for Ben and Jerry’s free cone day, snowflakes falling on our Phish Food like nature’s very own sprinkles.

We tell the world that we are turning the heat off for good only to creep out of our beds at 2AM trying to use our frozen fingers to crank the thermostat.

 

And some of the crazy among us take selfies by the annoying daffodils spreading through a blanket of snow. But let’s face it, we’re cold.

And we’re cold every year. And it rains, a lot. And we walk through these days covered in pollen and talking about how soon spring really will be here. And it never arrives. And we’re surprised.

Then one day we wake up and there are no more school buses blocking traffic and suddenly there is a heat wave and the Fourth of July is in three days. Yes, spring does not show up.

So how can someone like me, with weird temperature sensitivities likely due to multiple sclerosis dread spring when it never even appears in my area anyway?

Because the world around me insists on celebrating spring and acting like it is with us all the time.

The bugs still show up.

The allergies still kick in even on the chilliest of days.

You fall into the mindset of those around you and put on a light jacket and freeze as you do your errands, eagerly anticipating going home and burring yourself under your super warm thermal Bruins blankie.

 

(Slight shout out to the Bears of Boston- this time of year does bring the NHL playoffs on which the Bruins are splendidly skating their way through!)

And here is a complaint I only recently came up with- since everyone likes to pretend spring has sprung suddenly all you hears is super obnoxious home repair noises.

Yes my friends, in addition to my weird temperature sensitivities, MS also gives me weird ear noises that are greatly increased by the sounds of construction, street sweeping and landscaping.

Funny how I’m not troubled by snow plow sounds. But the hammering and motoring sounds of seasonal neighborhoods coming alive make me want to grab some ear plugs, build a blankie fort and live under it forever.

So yes, I admit it. I do not like spring, even when it doesn’t exist. I didn’t mind the ten inches of snow that arrived on March 26th. I don’t mind that my landlord keeps putting my snow shovel in the basement and twice I have had to go back down to grab it.

 

What I did mind was being afraid for my safety when people around me lamented about the horrible winter and expected me to agree. For fear of being attacked, I kept my anti-spring thoughts to myself, smiling as if I agreed while I tucked my hands deeper into my warm mittens.

I do mind that Harvey Leonard, who I used to think was pretty smart, thinks I mind needing to wear a coat today. I don’t.

And while those around me think I’m a fool in my heavy coat and insulated socks, my feet aren’t turning blue from the sandals you should not be wearing yet.

So, to Mr. Leonard and all those who think everyone agrees with them about being ready for spring, my MS challenged brain knows something that you don’t.

This is New England and that means, no spring for you!

Note- you also can’t call yourself a true New Englander if you don’t make complaining about the weather a habit, whatever the weather might be. This blog is all about finding humor to deal and thus I adopt a tongue in cheek style. However, please know that minor complaints about the weather are not meant to disparage in any way the people facing the devastating tornadoes in our country.

My deepest prayers and well wishes are being sent their way…

 

Bees and Bears and Sharks, Oh My!

Multiple Sclerosis goes wild

 

I say wild not in the wild parties of my youth kind of way. But in the real wild, like nature and forests and stuff. Neither wild is very conducive to my multiple sclerosis life now. I find myself with a lack of energy for chugging from a keg at an all nighter, or camping in the woods. Unless there is a fancy, luxury resort in the middle of the woods with turn down service and quiet hours after nine pm.

But spring on Cape Cod has arrived and with it, the creatures of the wild are determined to visit and I am trying to deal. First the bees; kids, go see your parents if you want the true story of the Birds AND Bees.

 

As I have complained about in the past, the pollen in my neighborhood is out of control. It arrived around the same day that I came home and found two bumble bees throwing a party in my house. I wouldn’t have mind if they were related to the cute little bee from the Cheerios commercials. But no, these were the noisy type that can sting and drive you crazy in a matter of minutes.

I have yet to ascertain what they were doing in my house, how they got in or what they wanted. I also have no idea what they have to do with the disgusting pollen, but both showing up at the same time can’t be a coincidence.

 

I tried to research where pollen comes from but it was like studying plant porn- the words sperm and ovule were in the description and kind of freaked me out. I swear this is true- take a look.

When I was first diagnosed, it was recommended that I eat bee pollen as it would be healthy for me. Seriously? There is only so much one can handle.

The bees belonged in the wild, not in my living room. So with clever and deft movements, I tricked them into leaving through the slider and survived unscathed, albeit sneezing and yellow green from all the pollen that came in the door while the bees were being kicked out.

If I had my way, that would be the end of my dalliance with creatures from the wild, wild as in, outside. But since it is spring and I am committed to exercise, beach walks are in order. But, it seems, the beach is no longer safe.

 

Jaws has arrived and he is hungry! Last year, he and his sharp toothed posse didn’t show up until July. But like many tourists, they have discovered the benefits of the Cape in the early season. Once he was spotted, swimming was banned for two hours.

Why is that? What makes it safe to go in the water after two hours? Do the rangers and lifeguards feel that in two hours or so the sharks might be napping? I try to nap after two hours but who’s to say that great whites do?

 

It is very dangerous to hang out when the sharks are here. I personally know of over 15 people locally who have killed by sharks. And those are just the people in the movies! Imagine how many others have been attacked and killed and didn’t it make it to the final cut.

Ok, “cut” is a bad word choice.

 

Other people in the know say that the bay beaches are safe. The great whites are only in the ocean water. But I am forced to ask, how do they know? Don’t they realize that sharks can swim? It’s not like the great whites are chatting in the deep and saying, “oh, those bay beaches are lousy. No point going over there. Let’s just hang in this water. Hey Mac, stay out of that current- that is a direct wave into the bay.”

So, getting my exercise by swimming is out. Technically, I could still walk the beach but everyone knows that if a shark is really hungry, he can jump out of the water and grab you. I’m not dumb. I saw the Land Shark segments on Saturday Night Live. It’s just too terrifying.

 

Then, just when I thought it was safe to go back in the water, I mean, go out of my house, bears started hanging around. Last year, one lone bear mysteriously found his way onto the spit of land that is Cape Cod and nobody could figure out how he did it.

The Cape is separated from the mainland by a canal and two bridges. It was thought that the bear wouldn’t willingly try to swim the deep canal so he must have walked himself across a bridge, likely in the middle of the night to avoid the nasty Cape traffic. Once here, he made his way through each town, visiting historic and beautiful sites like all tourists do.

 

Eventually, for safety’s sake, he was drugged and driven to the deep, deep woods of Western, MA. He didn’t like it, and twice tried to come back. Apparently the Cape IS the place to be in June. But he was turned around.

As far as we know, he has not come back this year. I think I heard he went to Block Island instead.

Yet, I have still been surrounded by bears. These bears love the cool weather of winter. They hang out on ice. They also like to travel. They are entertaining and only dangerous to leafs, rangers, fish and birds.

These bears demand attention; attention I can provide while safely lounging on my sofa, eating veggies and drinking water.

 

Yes, bears are begging me to enter the wild kingdom. Which I look forward to doing immensely by watching the Boston Bruins in their Stanley Cup series! And, if I am still feeling wild when the game is over, I can always put on Animal Planet.

Go B’s!