Multiple Sclerosis and the Grocery Store
I hope anyone following my blog hasn’t given up on me and my ‘get fit’ plan that uses my Wii Fit and Montel William’s Healthmaster Elite. During late July/early August there were a few gorgeous, almost autumn like days where I was super productive on the plan. My Wii Fit and I bonded again and I actually achieved one of the fitness goals we had set, (a miracle close to the whole water into wine magnitude-it is amazing how much regular maintenance can heal a strained relationship).
And I made two more of Montel’s smoothies. Montel’s Green Fruit Smoothie was super healthy and pretty good. I wish I could call it delicious but citrus fans will likely think it so. And I made the Strawberry Banana Smoothie which was super yummy and hands down my favorite thus far!
Then the heat and humidity came back with a vengeance and I was done. No one likes the humidity and you will often hear people say “Oh, I don’t like it either-this weather is so uncomfortable.”
I have been told that while it is important to me to keep my blogs light and humorous (ie, no whinnying unless it is done for comedic sake,) it is also important to share with others what living with MS is like. So for educational purposes, please allow me to describe how humidity plus multiple sclerosis translate into miserable days and why the ‘get fit’ plan falters during those days.
Humidity for people living with MS is not simply ‘uncomfortable’. It is a severe ramp up of all your worst symptoms, specifically turning your body aches into pain, your fatigue into a state of comatoseness (so what if that is not a real word, this is my blog so I can get away with it), and your brain fog into a state of no brain at all. It hurts to even think.
After several days of this where Fido and I were hunkering down (Fido is the name of my portable air conditioner- see my post on MSRelief.com for more info http://multiplesclerosis-relief.com/2012/07/27/petless/ ), one morning we awoke to the news that that day’s temperature would drop to 86 degrees and the humidity would fall from 96% to 91%. What a relief!
My legs needed to move for more distance than just from my bedroom to my bathroom, I had no food in the house of any kind and only a little bit of bottled water left. It was time to hit the grocery store.
Being responsible and on a budget, I ventured out of my room for a pen, paper and my coupon file. I made a list including the coupons that would help me save. Feeling confident, I ran (which for people with MS on a humid day translates to shuffling at a slow to medium gait) from my ac bedroom to my ac car, expecting to arrive at an ac grocery store.
The store was ac controlled alright- controlled to such a low state you could barely feel it. Why is it that in May, when the temperature reaches 72 degrees for the first time, the powers that rule blast the ac into an Arctic frenzy, but in August when the temperature is over 85 degrees they suddenly worry about the electric bill and lower the ac to barely noticeable proportions?
Still, I had some energy and there was a great necessity for groceries so I proceeded to shop. In the produce section, I picked up many items including a super duper bag of kale I had come to appreciate as an easy way to get some good greens into my system. As I continued to shop, the heat and walking started causing my legs to throb considerably. I moved as fast as I could to finish and forgot to even check the list I had painstakingly created. It wasn’t that I couldn’t be bothered to check the list, it was that I simply forgot it was there even as I repeatedly moved it from my right to my left hand as I grabbed likely random items.
At the check out, I waited in the long line behind a woman whose ATM card refused to work- the heat must have gotten to it too. I tried to ignore my legs which were now in pain. I considered lying across my filled cart to rest when it was time to start unloading the groceries. When the clerk tried to ring up the kale, she noticed that the bag was ripped open and pieces of kale were now falling all over her conveyor belt.
How did THAT happen? I hadn’t noticed it when I put the bag in my cart. Did a bag of cookies on an end cap I passed reach out and slash the bag out of jealousy that kale was being purchased and they were not?
Obviously, she couldn’t sell me that bag; did I want someone to get me another? I told her that I did, I was trying to eat healthier. She hit her “need help” light and continued to ring up my purchases. No one came to help. My brain fog had a foggy idea.
“How about you charge me for it and trust me to grab another bag on my way out?”
She thought that was a brilliant idea. Did she have brain fog too? Groceries paid for and bagged, I left the counter to head to produce to pick up another bag of kale. That is when I realized that the produce section was in the opposite direction from the entrance where I parked. I refused to cry. I will pick up the kale and just be on my way.
At the kale section I saw that there were only three bags left and all of them had use by dates of that same day! I am trying to get healthier but eating a whole bag of kale in one day was just too much for even the healthiest of us. I also needed to save money and so I had no choice but to head to another line, customer service, to get a kale refund.
This line was the biggest and slowest moving I had ever seen. Now no longer simply hurting, my legs seemed to be unmovable blocks of cement. I again thought about lying across my cart of bagged items. I thought about why I still hadn’t purchased one of those canes that can easily turn into a seat if you need to sit. (The reason why I hadn’t thought to buy one was because the only time my foggy brain thought of it was when I needed it.)
Between the Western Union requests, returns and lottery, the line seemed not to move at all. The kale had only cost $2.99, why didn’t I just leave without the refund? My foggy brain never thought about that. Instead, it came up with the idea to abandon my groceries (almost $100 worth) right there and get the hell out of the store.
I was about to do just that when the line moved and it was my turn. The clerk asked if I had a penny. The daggers my eyes were throwing told her I did not. I took a brief bit of pleasure that I was 1 cent richer after this experience.
In my car, with the ac blasting, I realized I never even used my $10 worth of coupons I had so carefully collected when I compiled my list. So be it- I was down $10 but up 1 penny.
At home, it was all I could do to put my refrigerated items away. The rest of the groceries sat scattered around the backseat of my car or just inside my front door. The good news from this saga is that as I was trying to get healthy I hadn’t purchased any ice cream or chocolate or anything else delicious that could easily melt in the heat and long lines.
AND, as the produce aisle was the first stop on my grocery store journey when I still had a brain and some energy, I HAD remembered to buy the ingredients for Montel William’s Broccoli Soup recipe. I even bought actual broccoli and will make this soup. But not that day.
Exhausted and hungry I was grateful that I bought some healthy cereal and took a box of it into my bedroom for my lunch/dinner (I had no idea what time it was, only that I was hungry.) But I didn’t grab any milk. My arms and hands were hurting too much from the excursion to pour milk into the box. Ooops, my foggy brain meant bowl. If I used milk, I would need a bowl and a spoon and it just seemed too involved a process…….
NOTE- I am progressing on my plan and have received some great veggie recipes to help. But I still need more. There are only two weeks left to enter my 50 Shades of Green/Doing It Veggie Style Contest. See the details in the 50 Shades of Green Blog entry.