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This MS Moment is Brought to you by the Letters ‘F’ and ‘U’ and the Number ‘2’

Multiple Sclerosis looks to Sesame Street for support

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It’s been kind of a frustrating week.  So frustrating that I didn’t have the piece of mind to write a new blog.  And so the frustrated me offers up one of my favorites…….

It was Elmo that finally did me in.   Yes, Elmo, as in Tickle Me.  But maybe that is not fair.  While he was the catalyst, it was really his helpful, female puppet friend Betty Lou that was the root of my actual demise.

It didn’t help that I came late to the magic and wonders of Sesame Street.  Growing up in the early seventies, public television was a somewhat radical concept and the new children’s programming seemed to threaten subversive and counter-culture undertones in my mom’s mind.   The Brady Bunch and The Flintstones were much healthier- nice, safe family values.

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As I grew out of my toddler years her television concerns continued.   The Partridge Family was NOT ok.   The fact that Mrs. Partridge was traveling around the country in a bus and allowing her children to perform rock concerts in front of out of control teens was EXACTLY what was wrong with the country.  At least that’s what my mom always said.

By the time she became a grandmother she relented somewhat and relaxed her television rules.   I would watch Sesame Street with my four year old nephew and we enjoyed it immensely.    I remember rolling around on the floor laughing and crying after a recent breakup with some guy or another while Patti Labelle sang “How I Miss my X” to a very sad looking X.   I thought the scene was adorable and was speaking directly to my heartbreaking soul.

“Drew-don’t you get it?   Her ex is the letter X!   Isn’t that a riot?  And look, X misses her too.  They’ll get back together- I just know they will.”

My nephew looked at me as though I was nuts and ran off to play with his toy fire engine.

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Anyway, back to modern day.   I was in the midst of a horrible month filled with paperwork, appointments, highs, lows, good news, bad news, good advice, bad advice and whatever else one can throw into a month.   After a frustrating breakdown during appointment number six, it was recommended that I see a therapist.   Thus it was that I was at appointment number seven in the lobby of the one therapist that took my insurance and answered the phone when I called.

Much to her dismay as it was her lunch hour, I was an hour and ten minutes early.   No, I hadn’t bothered to check what time I was due there.  My MS brain knew the time.

While she handed me more paperwork to fill out I asked about her practice.

“No,” she told me, “I don’t exclusively treat children.”   It was hard to believe based on the emotion charts, animal posters, blocks, and teddy bears that sat in her waiting room.

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I started the paperwork while I listened to her pack up the hundreds of Legos I noticed on the floor of her office when she opened the door to greet me.    My mind continued to swirl with all that had piled up that month and of all the things I had to do.  But it was my fault I was early (apparently my MS brain knew something that her planner and my calendar did not).  And so, with this round of paperwork done, I grabbed the thing closest to me to read.

It was a book from a Sesame Street series called Sesame Street Library.   In it, loveable Elmo ventures into the library looking for a little black puppy.   As he searches he gets distracted from his important task by story hour.

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I do that all the time.   Could Elmo have MS too?

He meets his buddy Betty Lou and, when asked, remembers his mission.  Betty Lou offers to help.   She gives him all library info he could possibly need and then produces a book called, you guessed it, Little Black Puppy.

Poor Elmo has been misunderstood.  I can relate to that too.  More evidence our furry red friend might be afflicted with a myelin damaging illness.

He explains his plight again.  He is looking for an actual puppy that is missing and happens to be black and little.  Again, the kind Betty Lou wants to help.  Back to the card catalog they go and then to the stacks where she produces a book called How to be a Detective.

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“There Elmo, you can read this book and then you will know how to find your puppy.”

It doesn’t end there.

Betty Lou is a dear friend after all and really, really wants to help so she proceeds to find several other detective books to help Elmo in his search.   Elmo excitedly thanks her.

That’s when I lost it.  In the lobby of a therapist’s office who doesn’t just work with kids even though the only things in the lobby are kids stuff, I proceed to yell at Betty Lou.

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“Betty Lou that is NOT helpful!!!!!  What kind of friend are you?  I know you mean well but if you really want to help, start looking for the damn dog!   How long do you think it will take Elmo to read all those books before the search begins?   After reading the books he will have get the detective kit and then start questioning people and calling insurance companies and hitting search engines and all kinds of crap that take time he doesn’t have.   Can’t you just help look in corners and yell ‘here Fido’ or something?  How bout you read the damn books and then get back to him?”

Poor Betty Lou.  Perhaps she didn’t deserve my wrath but she was not alone.  Elmo was next on my “need a good talking too” list.

“Elmo, don’t be a putz!  Tell Betty Lou what she can do with her freaking books and where to go.   Don’t stand there with that stupid smile expressing all kinds of false gratitude.   Throw the books at her and start looking for the dog.”

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I suppose the moral of the story was that you can find anything in a library.   But I have yet to find a dog there and in my current state, and not being a kid, the message was lost on me.

Perhaps my outburst caused the therapist concern.  She called me in and handed me ten more pages of paperwork to take home and fill out at my leisure.

She asked me what I was looking for, therapeutically speaking.  Then she told me where I could research the answers to what I was looking for.

She recommended some books.

I smiled and expressed all kinds of false gratitude, just like Elmo.

I am even more convinced than ever that multiple sclerosis has got him too.

Author’s Note- please remember that my blogs are tongue in cheek and this post is not meant to criticize therapy as a whole.  The point of the blog is to make fun of this particular appointment in a way that makes me (and hopefully you too) giggle about how frustrating it was….

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Loopy Fruit

Multiple Sclerosis and breakfast collide

 

I grew up as a child of the late seventies/early eighties.  What that means is that my Saturday mornings were spent in front of the TV, with a bowl of the best sugary cereal possible, watching classic cartoons.

And by classic, I mean good cartoons; Scooby Doo, Schoolhouse Rock, Fat Albert, the Jetson’s and Bugs Bunny.

My favorite was The Flintstones but they were on in syndication.  Yabba Dabba Doo five days a week!

 

I would spend these joyful mornings getting amped on processed sugar until my mom would start vacuuming, thus making the TV inaudible. The threat of having to help clean forced me outside.

Because of this, I understand what “Silly Rabbit, Trix are for kids” means.

Trust me; I’ve actually been “CooCoo for Cocoa Puffs.”

I understand the difference between “they’re great” and “they’re GGGREAT!

I know that it’s not possible to say the words, “magically delicious!”  They must be sung.

 

My favorite breakfast was Froot Loops promoted by the amazing Toucan Sam. Ahh, what could be better?

I’m an adult now and I’ve learned a thing or two.

  1. Good cartoons are now actually movies and they aren’t even accurate. I met Aladdin at Disney once and he was a total tool!!  Disney lied when they made him humble, sweet and brave in the movie.
  2. 2.Adults aren’t supposed to like good cereal. We’re supposed to appreciate the “good for you” stuff instead.

Multiple sclerosis has made my adulthood confusing and frugal.  For example, I’m not sure if milk is considered good for you anymore.  And if it is, which kind- whole, low fat, almond, goat, soy- I can’t keep track.

 

And since life with MS is expensive and I’m on a tight budget, I can’t afford the good ‘good for you cereal.”  My favorite healthy cereal costs twice as much as the others and doesn’t even have fruit in it!

How healthy is that??

I’ve tried the cheaper healthy cereals but they taste like cardboard.  So let’s be honest, I can buy them and tell myself that I will eat them but the reality is that I will come up with some excuse why I shouldn’t-like that I’m bummed out that there are no good cartoons on so I need to comfort myself with sugar, etc.  At which point the healthy cereal will sit in a cabinet getting stale and will turn into stale processed cardboard and need to be thrown away.

How frugal is that?

Luckily, Cheerios seemed like a good compromise.  They’re affordable and made with whole grains and thus somewhat healthy. I’m still confused about the milk issue but hey, you need to take things one step at a time.

As I explored my breakfast options, I discovered that Cheerios come in different flavors now.  And, what do you know, they have a fruit version!   The box even looked like the beloved Froot Loops box of my childhood.

 

I understood that since it was Cheerios, they couldn’t be as good as the real Froot Loops but maybe they were close and at least they had fruit in them-yea!

I brought some home and they were delicious!  They tasted just like the favorite cereal I remembered.  Oh joy to adulthood.

But then I began to think about this.  How could this be?  How could Cheerios steal Froot Loops and not get sued?

How could Cheerios make a healthy version of my cereal and yet still taste great?

As I munched away, the question refused to leave my addled brain. As an adult, we have the internet now and so I thought to solve the issue by comparing the ingredients.  And I was shocked!

 

Brace yourself friends-it turns out the Fruity Cheerios are not that much different in ingredients and nutrients than Froot Loops!  And the real devastating shocker NEITHER is made with fruit!!!

Fruity Cheerios has a slightly better nutrition report than its predecessor and includes something called pear puree which makes no sense as I don’t think there are even pear loops in the box!

How was I supposed to process this? How could Cheerios and those heart healthy commercials deceive me this way?

I felt betrayed.

I felt that everything I knew about life was a total lie.

I felt totally amped on sugar.

It occurred to me that I should go run around my neighborhood and tease the boys next door.

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Plus, the real frustrating part was that I had two coupons for $1 off three boxes of Fruity (I feel corrupt just typing in the word fruity after my discovery,) Cheerios and thus I had six boxes I needed to consume before I went on to the plain, not so bad for you, regular Cheerios.

The whole thing seemed awfully loopy to me….

I suppose the next disappointing thing someone will tell me to ruin my childhood was that the Flintstones weren’t real either.

See how paranoid this cereal nutrition issue is making me?  Of course the Flintstones were real- they were even historical!

 

Yes friends, this getting healthy thing is hard.  This getting older thing is hard. This getting poorer thing is hard.

What’s a confused, money conscious girl to do?

I couldn’t waste the boxes and so I did the only thing I could think of.

I pulled up old episodes of Superfriends on YouTube and ate my breakfast.

I felt comforted by the fact that at least I can get some nutrients from my new gummy vitamins.

And before you argue about vitamins that taste like candy being nutritious, I can prove that they are.  They say ADULT right on the label!

 

PS  If you can’t find any good cartoons on TV but want some giggles to go with your breakfast, pick up a copy of MS Madness!  A “Giggle More, Cry Less” Story of Multiple Sclerosis!

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