Tag Archives: cape cod

You Can STILL Call Me Oscar!

A multiple sclerosis transformation

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I originally posted this blog on 9/6/13 but ironically, with the heat and humidity and all, it still applies today.  Except for the “it’s autumn” part.  I have to wait a couple of more weeks for that.

But trust me, I’m counting the days!

I slept really well last night, despite the two nights of lousy sleep before last night’s night of good sleep.

I blame the two previous lousy nights of sleep on the incredibly obnoxious bladder issue that the meds don’t always help.

That pisses me off.

(Get it- pisses me off??  I have used that one before and it’s not my own but it IS a classic.)

Anyway, last night was a good night’s sleep so why did I wake up so crabby?


Well, first off, after my morning bathroom run I turned on my computer to discover that an email I expected and eagerly anticipated was not in my inbox.  On top of that, for some reason, I couldn’t open my other emails, even after logging on and off a few times.

Things went downhill from there…

I turned into the biggest crabapple ever!

AKA, a sourpuss.

AKA, Oscar the Grouch.


Email is a completely silly thing to get that upset over, especially since overall, things are well.

I had a doctor’s appointment yesterday that ran on time, went smoothly, and all my results were good- miraculous.

After a miserable summer, autumn is here and the weather is fine.  (Don’t you dare nitpick- I am in no mood.  For Cape Cod folks like me, autumn begins the day after Labor Day!)

I was settled in my new place

I was making decent progress on a project I was enjoying.

So what was with the lousy mood???


When I don’t know the answer to something, I blame MS.  And in this case, there is some merit to that blame as it was the morning after my MS shot.

In addition to my email annoyance, other things that could be MS related went wrong.

My lack of concentration caused me to have trouble saying my morning prayers.

I spilled tea all over myself.

My clumsy fingers had trouble opening my cereal box.


My lack of coordination dropped some of my breakfast on the floor.

My MS meds hangover was starting to cause my head to ache.

So what was I to do?

It occurred to me that I wouldn’t be very productive until I cleared my head some and I needed to be productive today.  Since the weather was gorgeous, perhaps a walk on the beach would help.


It was at that minute that the sky darkened and scary looking storm clouds passed over my new home.

Then it started to rain.  Not a light, pleasant, stomp in puddles rain.  But a heavy, raging, life sucks with a vengeance downpour.

Oscar the Grouch was alive and well and had moved into my body and I was helpless to stop him.

I figured since I was now officially Oscar the Grouch I should do some research on him.

What I found was terrifying!

Oscar is not actually a monster, but a Grouch.

He was born in 1969- just like me.

He is rarely seen outside of his can.  (Hmmm, when was the last time I left my can, I mean, my house?)ID-100154859

He complains, A LOT.

He likes to say things like “Scram” “Get Lost” “Go Away” and “Ding Dong- you’re wrong.”

And scariest of all, he used to be orange.  And as most of you know, orange is the color of MS!

Oscar is actually MS and MS has actually taken over my body and turned me into Oscar.

Need more proof?


It has long been known that multiple sclerosis is associated with depression (what is more depressing than being told you have MS?) and also with major mood swings.

I looked into this further and learned that MS is also known to cause “frequent bouts of anger and irritability,” and “are likely to affect everyone in the family.”  (Unless they run and hide.)

So what to do about it?  My doctor already has me on mood drugs as I snap at her as soon as I get to her office.

Like Oscar, I was tempted to hunker down in my can and pull pillows over my head.  But that seemed too unproductive even for the grouchy and unproductive me.

Plus, the remote control for my bedroom TV died.

So I wrote this blog instead.

Now, I will hide.

But not before first sticking my tongue out at the world and saying “Na, na, na na na!”

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Do to legal issues that I may or may not describe in a future blog I was not able to include an image of Oscar the Grouch in this blog.  Your imagination and emoticons will have to do!

Quotes on emotional changes with multiple sclerosis are from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s website.

Quotes from Oscar the Grouch are from Sesame Street and me.

Quote about being pissed off about bladder issues are from my sister Laurie.

“Na, na, na na na” quote is all mine.

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Taffy Summer Revisted

An MS’er revisits a candy store


Friends, due to a crazy week and a prediction of no internet for a few days, I am posting this week’s blog early.  And also due to the above, it is a repeat from this time last summer.   Luckily the humidity hasn’t been as bad this August but I think we can all still relate……… 

This post is dedicated to all of my Cape Cod friends who are likely in the deep, deep throes of Augustitis. It’s ok my over worked, over heated, over tired, over questioned, over being run over friends- Labor Day will be here soon.


The stickiest job I ever held was at a candy store that made its own salt water taffy. (In case you are wondering, the salt water part is a myth- no we didn’t take beach pails across the street, collect the bay water and pour it in the taffy vat.)


This was my first real job at the legal age of 14 as opposed to the four not so real jobs I held before.

Those jobs included selling shells (high end shells painted with nautical themes by my very artistic uncle), sweeping the sidewalk in front of one lovely storefront at the bottom of my street, and babysitting the three year old whose parents owned the store next door to the sweeping place. A job where I would watch the child in the backroom of the parents store or take her to the beach to build sandcastles as long as we didn’t go in the water past her knees.

The craziest job was during the summers when I was 12 and 13 and ran my family’s guesthouse. I would take strangers (often single men) up to their bedrooms in an empty home and give them the keys to the house.

Luckily it was never a problem (oh, the bliss of the naiveté in days of old.)

But I have been thinking of the candy store job a lot lately, and I am not sure why.

Is it because no matter how clean the owners kept the place or how many inspections they passed, the floor of the backrooms were always covered in corn syrup? That reminds me of how sticky I feel in this miserable humidity.


In this damp sticky weather I am sticky as soon as I wake up. I am sticking to clothes, to chairs, and with my MS clumsiness, I am sticking to walls too.

The summers at the candy store I also stuck to everything. I easily ruined three pairs of shoes each season and those were the only times in my life where I actually followed my mom’s “take your shoes off as soon as you come in rule.”

I would need to allow an extra five minutes to make it back to work from my lunch break as my shoes stuck to the sidewalk with each step and added precious extra seconds to my walk as I forcibly yanked my feet off the ground.

No wonder I turned out clumsy, MS or no MS.

This weather is making me stick everywhere and I am just a sticky, icky mess similar to the sticky mess I was at the candy store. Problem is, at least taffy is sweet. I am not feeling so sweet these days.


Maybe this job is on my mind as I am working so hard on my ‘get fit’ plan and those summers were the years when friendly tourists asked me how I stayed so skinny working in a candy store.

It actually wasn’t that hard. Believe it or not you get sick of fudge easy when you smell it all day long and I never again want to even see taffy or corn syrup. Ah, but it is nice to remember that at one time people referred to me as “so skinny.”

Perhaps I am thinking of those busy summers as I suddenly realize that I used to love the season and the excitement the crowds, summer activities, and the hot weather brought.

Not so much anymore.


Now the crowds translate to noise which makes my ears hurt, much too long to get anywhere or do anything and dangerous road conditions. And the hot weather makes me want to move to the Artic.

Yes, that is it. That is why I am fondly pondering those years in the seventies. I am wondering how I survived and I don’t mean in the guesthouse business.

No one in my world had ac in the eighties. We definitely didn’t have it at home and not only did the candy store not have it, the heat from the ovens and taffy machines jacked up the temperature. Yet I don’t remember suffering like this.


What is causing me to turn into an achy, sweaty, smelly mess as soon as the thermostat hits 82? Is it the extra lbs? Age? Global warming? MS?

Oh yes, MS affects everything, especially things that happen between June and September.

I can fondly ponder all the memories I want. As long as I ponder them in an ac cooled room with a big glass of ice water and some time to rest.

And no taffy anywhere!!

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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!