Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Thoughts in Poem-Style

I try not to whine

But I know that I do

When unable to do things

I want to pursue.

I want to tell others

How MS can be

Tell friends and tell family

That I rarely can see.

I try to share knowledge

Of things I have learned

To let others know

How often we’re spurned.

Being out in the public

Takes plenty of nerve

For most that we meet

Are both cold and reserved.

Most don’t want to know us

We are different than they

They just turn and ignore us

They don’t know what to say.

Most of us do learn

Many people aren't really mean

They just don’t know how to handle

Something they rarely have seen.

Then there are the others

Who smile and say hi

Who offer their friendship

Not just walk on by.

For these I am grateful

They truly are blessed

They are unique in their being

Set apart from the rest.

I guess sometimes I want

All the world to see

That we are really no different

Than others can be.

We live and we love

We are happy and sad

We are hard and we’re gentle

We are good and we’re bad.

So please when you see us

Don’t pretend we’re not there

We have friendship to offer

And happiness to share.


Monday, June 24, 2013

Missing Things

Funny how much you can miss something.

Over the years, I have come to miss my brain.  One of my biggest joys at one time was being presented a problem and search to find the solution.  The joy was not in the solution but in the search.  Research, exploration and testing were things I enjoyed and things I was good at doing.  Finding solutions to problems was something I was very proud of being able to do.  I fear more and more each day that I am no longer a person with that ability.

I am also missing more and more of my physical abilities.  At one time in my life, I worked two jobs with no problem.  At another time I often worked up to eighteen hours a day without missing a beat.  When I was awake I was able to go as long as I needed to.  When I was asleep I would rest and wake refreshed.  Now, sleep is hard to come by and when I do sleep, it does not give me the rest I need.  My energy level is minimal at best.

Reading has been one of my passions since I first learned how to read.  I have spent countless hours losing myself in the wonders of the printed page.  There are few things that bring me the peace and contentment that reading a good book does.  I am slowly but surely losing my eyesight.  My eyes get so tired from trying to read through blurry eyes.  I rarely try to read very much now.

It is so easy to get discouraged from all the things MS is robbing from me.  I recently had another.  The bones that hold my teeth in my mouth are deteriorating. Although I have had several root canals and crowns, the part of the tooth that they are attached to are beginning to let go and become decayed.  I lost two jaw teeth some time ago.  I adjusted to that and it was not noticeable that they were gone.  When I lost one of my front teeth, I knew something would have to be done about this.

I don’t think I have had too much trouble adjusting to change over the years.  As each year has passed since MS began to take over my life, I have had to make changes from my normal routine.  This tooth problem was just another such change.  My dentist suggested I have these tooth bases pulled and for me to get fitted for a partial.  After some consideration my husband and I agreed that this seemed like the best solution to the problem.  The teeth were pulled and the finished partial was put into my mouth.

It is really strange to have something in my mouth besides teeth and a tongue.  This foreign object takes some getting used to.  I think I am doing pretty well with this newest part of my mouth.  I am eating most foods and learning the fine art of brushing “my” teeth as well as my adopted teeth.  All in all it has worked out well so far.

I still miss a lot of things that I once had the use of and took for granted.  I hope I am adjusting to this and not whining and complaining too much.  After all, most changes are supposed to be good.  Living our lives in the past and crying for our losses only makes us miss all the joys of our lives in the present.  And, with my newest adjustment, it is so much nicer to smile without a gap showing where a tooth should be!


Friday, June 21, 2013

Times of Mush

I looked at a blank page this morning.  I had not written anything and had nothing in my head that seemed like it would be interesting to anyone.  There are a lot of thoughts drifting around in my brain, but none of them seem to stick together and form an idea. 

Some days are like that.  Random thoughts flying around with no purpose and no hope of giving me any type of direction.  It reminds me of games where you see how many words you can make out of a bunch of letters.  The words are not in any one category and do not really fit together.  They are just words.  My brain is like that a lot of times…………countless words floating around with no rhyme or reason to their direction.

I call these moments “times of mush”.  It is at these times that I take it easy and try not to have to get into any type of project.  If I try to cook, clean or do a craft, I will not get it finished and end up with a mess.  My thoughts do not go from point A to point B and end up at point G without making any sense.  For instance: I may want to get a meal started.  I look in the freezer and see what meats I have.  I get one of them out.  I look in the pantry and get some things to go with that meat.  I set them on the kitchen counter.  I just stare at them.  The idea I had started with for a meal just drifted away and left me with a puzzle.  What are these objects doing on my counter and why did I put them there?

Cleaning may be the same way.  I get my cleaning materials out of the closet.  I organize them as to what purpose they serve.  When I go to start doing something, the little groups of things I have are just that……….little groups of things.  The idea of what to do with them has been erased from my brain and the little groups mean nothing.  After a while I just put them all back to wait for a time when what they mean will be clear to me.

I love to crochet and sew.  My husband just bought me a new sewing machine.  It is a little portable one since most of the sewing I do now are only simple things.  I took it out of the box the other day and began to get it ready to start sewing.  I threaded the machine down to the needle and wound a bobbin of the thread I wanted to use.  I got my material and started the machine.  It only made a jumbled mess.  I rethreaded the machine a half dozen times.  I still had a jumbled mess when trying to sew.  There is a disc that came with the machine.  I put it in the computer and started watching it.  I had threaded the machine wrong.  When I rethreaded it again, it worked.  It was very discouraging.  I used to make most of my children’s clothes.  I also made some of my own clothes.  Now, I am lucky to be able to sew a hem that has come loose.

People will often call and ask what I have been doing lately.  I hate to keep saying “nothing”, but for the most part it is the right answer.  Some days I do very little……not because I don’t want to do something, but because I can’t think it out to get it done.  I have some days that I feel fairly well physically, but my mental state is a disaster.  Most people do not understand that so I don’t try to explain it to them.

In some ways our mental state is more important than our physical one.  Although being unable physically to do things is a terrible place to be, being unable to do things mentally is worse to me.  There are many things I can no longer do because of my deteriorating physical abilities.  There are more things I can no longer do because of my deteriorating mental abilities.  There are many times I cannot write this blog because I can’t put enough words together to make a logical sentence.  I try to push through these times but often it just will not work.  On those days, I just forget writing and feel sorry for myself.

I remember all the times I have heard the phrase “A brain is a terrible thing to waste”.  Boy if they only knew!!


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Young and Old

My cousin and I were talking the other day about some of our aches and pains.  One of the things we agreed on was restless legs and pins and needles in our feet.  It is getting really sad when one spends at least part of any conversation discussing health problems.

Another thing we agreed on was the fact that even though our bodies were aging and aching, our brains wanted to stay young and were constantly on the outlook for new ideas and things to do.  She is around young people more often than I am so she knows the “in” stuff and people more than I do.  And, I reminded her that on any given day, MS can override my brain and turn it to mush for a length of time.

My husband loves westerns. Old ones, new ones and any other type of western.  He spends most afternoons watching them on the western channel.  I don’t mind.  Some of them I like and when there is one on I don’t, I mess around on the computer, cook or do other little odd jobs.  One of the kinds I don’t like are the really, really old ones.  I just can’t seem to get into them.

It is funny, but the older I get, the more I like modern things.  I used to love to write letters and mail them.  Now, it would be quite a chore to do so.  Many days I can’t hold a pen to write with.  Other days I can hold the pen but it won’t go where I am trying to tell it to.  I would hate to be the recipient of a letter I would write on one of these days.  An email is much easier and the response is so much faster.  I do, however, have some friends I write (type) letters to and correspond with through the postal service.  It is very frustrating to me after having an instant email response.

I also prefer email to using the telephone.  It may be a pride thing, but I hate to try and talk with someone when my thoughts won’t come together and my mouth won’t form words of any known language.  That, too, is very frustrating.

I have decided I am getting old……….or at least becoming one of the older generation.  I say this for several reasons, most of which I will not put in this post.  I have a short list of some to share, though:

(1)    I must be old because I cannot make myself get through the first five minutes of Magic Mike much less watch the whole thing. 

(2)    Going out to the movies seems so unnecessary when the movie will either be on HBO or disk in a few weeks.

(3)    I am satisfied with snacks for meals and don’t need a meat, veggies, salad and dessert to think I have eaten. (Meals are a hassle to figure out with Crohn’s)

(4)    Being near a bathroom when I venture from the house is more important than seeing everything in the store.  (This can also be applied to MS)

(5)    Being at home is a treat rather than a punishment.

Some things my inner self still loves even though I am getting older:

(1)    Loud music.  (It isn’t good if it isn’t loud)

(2)    Crazy clothes.  I can’t seem to make myself shop in the women’s section.  I tend to lean towards the younger styles.  I also like off-beat types of clothes.

(3)    Trying new foods.  When I was young I knew what I wanted to eat and rarely ventured out of the box.  Now I love trying new foods and learning more about how to prepare meals.

(4)    Playing games.  I was an only child in a neighborhood of few children and most were boys.  I learned to play by myself a lot with “pretend” being the main one.  Now there is a whole world of games to play on the interest.  (Big Fish is one of my dearest friends!)

There are many more, but you get the picture.  I guess we all are a mixture of young and old.  I hope that all of us stay more in the young category rather than the old.  One of the sayings when I was young was “don’t trust anyone over 30”.  Can we move that !along to at least 80?!


Monday, June 17, 2013

Slowing It Down

Like most towns, ours has a K-Mart Super Center.  It is in a complex with a McDonalds, Biscuitville, Bojangles and other such businesses.  Sometimes, when Howard and I are going shopping, we drive by and get breakfast and park in the K-Mart parking area.  It is a large area with many trees around it.  At the time of morning that we are usually there, we have the place to ourselves.  That is, except for the birds.

One of the reasons we love to go there is because of the many types of birds that hang out there.  It is obvious that a lot of people go there to eat because as soon as your park, they start hopping around the car anxious for any piece of food you might offer them.  When we do offer them a morsel, they immediately pounce on it.  There is a definite pecking order, but usually this is carried out with no squabbling or violence. Unlike the human population that inhabits this earth with them, they seem to accept each other and wait their turn. We have seen cardinals, catbirds, gulls, sparrows, blackbirds, crows and many more birds while eating our breakfast. 

Most of us have spent the majority of our lives in a hurry.  There is an AT&T ad that asks, “which is better….slower or faster?”  I doubt there is anyone who would answer slower (except that silly little girl in the commercial!).  I have found that I have missed so many wonderful things by being in the fast lane with everyone else.  As I am having to take my time eating (so as not to choke), walking (so as not to fall), talking (so others can understand my words) and so forth, I am noticing so many things that were just blurs in my former life.  I am totally amazed at all I have been “too busy” to notice.

When you wake up in the morning do you jump out of bed, go to the bathroom and start getting dressed?  Do you ever lie in bed for a moment and watch the sun begin to light the eastern sky with its beauty? 

When you are driving/riding down the road do you notice the trees along the way?  Do you see the way they change each month into something different, whether summer or winter?

Have you ever watched as the birds fly around your home?  Some of them sing beautiful songs and others just flutter around and see what they can get into.  Some fly solo, in pairs or in great flocks.  No matter what their habits are, each is a wonder all its own.

Have you noticed the people you pass each day?  We all see people in the stores, on the streets and riding in other cars.  Do you pay attention to them or just go on your way?  Do you see the sadness, happiness, sorrow, joy, pain or other emotions that run across their faces?  Are they in as much of a hurry as you are and ignore you also?

As I have slowed my pace in life, I wish I knew more about photography.  There are so many great scenes I would love to catch on film.  I wish I could take them out of my mind’s eye and put them on paper.

In my lifetime I have been in all but four of our fifty states.  I have seen so many beautiful places and things.  I have few pictures of those travels.  Most of my journeys related to work and I was not prepared to film them.  Many times I would just stop and stare at some wonder that I suddenly came upon and was not expecting.  It is one of the sad things in my life that I have nothing to share with others of these things.

I don’t expect to suddenly start taking pictures of everything I see.  I do hope that I take the time to enjoy the things I do see.  Maybe one day someone will invent a way to download all the great moments we have stored in our brains.  I hope they do it soon……… brain is getting so short-circuited that they would have to defragment it several times to make any sense of what they find!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Planning A Party

When I was in my teens I had a terrible ulcer.  At one time I spent a few days in the hospital and received treatment intravenously.  I took medicine for over ten years for this problem.  Eventually it calmed down enough to where I could get off the medication if I was really careful with my diet.

Right now I think it is trying to cut my stomach into little pieces.  I feel like there is glass floating around in there and trying to find a way out.  I hope that it will ease up soon.

I almost want to cry.  It is not that I am in any worse shape than anyone else, and definitely in better shape than a lot of people.  But right now, I am wanting really bad to throw a pity party.  I am inviting no one to share it with me.  I will bring my own party favors, food and entertainment.  I do not plan on it lasting a long time, just long enough to get some of this pent up emotion out.

We have talked about the camel and the straw before.  It really is the small things that throw one for a loop.  When we face big hurdles, we have prepared for it and meet it head-on.  The little things sneak up on us.  They are lurking around each corner just waiting for the chance to pounce.  Once they see us, they watch us for a time to hit us at just the right moment.  They really are quite sneaky little devils.

I am wondering how we could make everything in life a circle.  That way no little things could hide behind corners and catch us by surprise.  We would see them coming and be able to prepare in advance for their arrival.  Not only that, we could continue to travel in a circle and they would never catch up to us.  Yep, seems like a plan to me.

If we all held hands, we could watch each other’s sides and backs.  Each person would be responsible for the person on their right and everyone would be covered that way.  No one would let the person next to them get surprised because the others would find out and not watch out for them. 

Right now I am considering what kind of party I might have.  I am hurting too bad to start the party yet.  I am still trying to figure out what other type of medicine I can try to see if it helps.  It is hard to plan a party while plowing through the medicine cabinet.  I might wait a while to think about that party……….maybe the pain will ease up a little so I can think about it………….maybe it will quit hurting in a short while and I won’t need a party…..oh yeah, I like that idea better!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

On Demand

I have really gotten addicted to the On Demand feature of our cable system.  There are several programs that I like to keep up with and never seem to turn the TV on at the right time to see this.  With this feature, you can watch them when you wish.  It also allows you to watch certain movies when you want.  One of the best features of this is that there are very few, if any, commercials.  That is a big plus to me.

I usually spend several hours sitting in bed watching TV before I manage to get sleepy enough to go to sleep.  It is often very boring.  There are so many shows on that are obnoxious to me or ones that I have no interest in at all.  A lot of movies also fit into one of these categories.  I don’t feel that I am all that picky, but there are some things I just will not watch.

Most of the comedy shows that are on now are not in my taste.  They are either overly vulgar or are making fun of something I do not think should be made fun of.  I like comedy that is funny without having to involve curse words, sexual innuendoes, or intimidating someone.  I guess the type of comedy that Red Skelton and Bill Cosby used is out of date.  Both of them stated often that if you have to use off color language or throw barbs at someone, you aren’t really funny.  I agree.

I really am not writing this to get on a bandwagon.  My initial though was “wouldn’t it be nice if you could On Demand some pain medication, sleep aids or coolness?”  I think that would be a wonderful idea and some really smart somebody should invent this.  It would make a world of people grateful and happy and make that person a gazillionnaire.

It would be offered by all the cable and satellite companies at a special rate that only people who qualified for it would be allowed to get it.  The qualifications would involve obtaining the doctors records and/or a disability acceptance letter.  Hopefully, this would help cut out those who just wanted to get high and stay in bed all day.  I know that there are always ways to get around things, but maybe it would be monitored closely enough and very few would get it that did not deserve it.

It would probably involve some type of box one could fit into that would have the necessary equipment to perform whatever was needed from it at the time.  There would be a cable from the box that connected it with whatever provider one was using.  This cable would feed the information to the provider and receive the signal to allow the box to perform its task and renew any medications and such that were needed.  All insurance carriers and Medicare and Medicaid would be under a mandatory rule to carry this equipment.  No one who needed it would be turned down.

As I have said before, I would love sometime to demand a visit with Peter Pan in Neverland.  I don’t want to stay there, just visit.  I would also like to demand to win the lottery.  Then I could help all my family and friends who needed a little assistance and make my children and grandchildren financially independent.  I would also like to demand Peace On Earth……… but that is in the Hands of God and He has not appointed me His assistant or permission to take over His job!!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Hotter Than…….......….Whatever!

I think it is going to be one of those summers.  The temperature is supposed to be in the mid-90s most of the week.  I am not sure I am ready for this.  I know I don’t have a choice.

It really bothers me that there is no way to explain to someone what the heat does to me………..and I am not talking about 90s, I am talking about 70s.  If the sun is bright, the 60s are sometimes hard to deal with.

I was sitting with Mother in the waiting room at the hospital the other day and started talking with the lady on the other side of me.  She commented on the fact that I would pick up a magazine and fan once in a while.  She said she knew how I felt because she had hot flashes for many years.  She was over them now and was so grateful.  I told her that I have MS and getting overheated is a constant problem.  She looked at me like I was a visitor from Mars.

I don’t seem to be able to get across to anyone that MS heat lasts practically all the time.  It is not night sweats, day sweats or in-between sweats.  It is heat that radiates from your insides and nearly takes your breath away.  It makes my head pound, my legs and arms weak, my vision blurry and my thoughts turn to mush.  If it goes away it is only because I am in front of the a/c or it is freezing outside.  And, sometimes, it is still there even then.

The tingling sensation that most of us feel intensifies.  There are millions of little shockwaves running up and down my legs and arms, feet and fingers and sometimes my face.  Although it is not exactly what one would call a painful sensation, it is highly unpleasant.

Per the MS website: “Many people with MS experience a temporary worsening of their symptoms when the weather is very hot or humid or they run a fever, sunbathe, get overheated from exercise, or take very hot showers or baths. For example, some people notice that their vision becomes blurred when they get overheated—a phenomenon known as Uhthoff's sign. These temporary changes can result from even a very slight elevation in core body temperature (one-quarter to one-half of a degree) because an elevated temperature further impairs the ability of a demyelinated nerve to conduct electrical impulses.  For many years, the “Hot Bath” test was used to diagnose MS. A person suspected of having MS was immersed in a hot tub of water, and the appearance of neurologic symptoms or their worsening was taken as evidence that the person had MS.”  I don’t know about you, but I am very thankful that this is no longer used as a method of making a determination of MS!

My husband probably gets tired of me asking if my face is flushed.  To me, my face sometimes feels like it is radiating (kind of like a bad sunburn feels) and should be beet red.  Sometimes it feels like my arms or legs feel like that also.  One of the worst places that burn and tingle is my back…….especially down my spine.  He often rubs a pain cream on it which usually helps.  It is hard to let him do this since it is so sensitive to the touch when having a flare up.  The cream is cooling, though, and worth the initial pain.

I have talked with several people who are so excited about going to the beach this summer.  I listen and smile, cringing on the inside at the thought.  I am happy that this will make them happy and hope that it comes to pass and they have a wonderful time.  As for me, I will stay at home in the coolness of the a/c, wave bye to them and wish them well!



Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Strength in Gentleness

My Grandma raised me.  My parents worked at night and she took on the job of taking care of me.  I am sure that it was quite a job.  I was skinny and full of energy when I was young.  Nothing like what I am now.

When I was born, she was 68 years old.  I was the child of her 10th child.  Needless to say, she already had a lot of grandchildren by the time I came into the world.  She had raised her children and now was ready to raise one of her grands.

My grandfather died when my Daddy was 9 years old.  Grandma still had several children at home at that time and I am sure it seemed like quite a burden to face when he died.  One of my uncles returned home to help her.  He was a kind, sweet man and eased her burden by chipping in to help. 

My first memories of grandma were when she was in her 70s.  She would wash clothes in a ringer washing machine, put a basket of wet clothes on her hip and walk down the back steps to the clothesline to hang them to dry.  I often wonder how she did the things she did.  She would sweep, mop and vacuum the house. She would cook great meals and still have time to play with me.  When she bought a TV, we would spend hours watching Mickey Mouse and Howdy Doody.  She was never too busy to cater to a little girl who totally adored her.

As grandma got older, her spunk didn’t.  She fell and broke her arm one time when she was in her 80s.  I remember the doctor telling her that she would probably never regain the use of her arm at her age.  A couple of months later she gleefully raised her arm and showed him that this had not defeated her.  Although she was a gentle and kind person, she had a quiet determination that I always admired.

Many days I sit here and wonder what MS will hit me with next.  Every day I fight to keep doing the things I can and hoping that this disease will not progress any faster than it has.  Even though I work hard not to do so, sometimes I feel sorry for myself and angry that I can no longer go places and do things that I could just a short few years ago.  Sometimes I would be so easy just to give up and wallow in self pity.

When I get this way I often see grandma in my mind.  Her strength always shines through whatever task she had to do on any given day.  No matter what was going on, I have never heard her raise her voice or stomp around in anger.  She was quiet, soft-spoken and the most loving person I have ever known.  

When she died, I thought my world would end.  I was 24 and not at all ready to give her up.  Even though she was 91 years old and bed-ridden, she never complained and always had “I love you” on her lips.  It was the last thing she ever said to me.  Part of me will always ache with the need to have her hug me one more time and tell me this.

I hope in some small way I have inherited a part of her courage.  I know that many times I fail miserably.  But when I do, thinking of her lifts me up and puts the fight back in my spirit.  I know this is what she would want me to do.

When I get to Heaven it will be so wonderful to be with her again.  I know that God loved her so much and wanted her close to Him.  I understand that.  I am anxious to get that hug from her.  I hope she is still singing those little songs she used to sing to me.  I bet it makes God smile…………


Monday, June 10, 2013

To Hear or Not to Hear

One of the symptoms of MS that has really bothered me lately is hearing loss.  Per the MS website: “Hearing loss is usually associated with other symptoms that suggest damage to the brainstem - the part of the nervous system that contains the nerves that help to control vision, hearing, balance, and equilibrium. Hearing deficits caused by MS are thought to be due to inflammation and/or scarring around the eighth cranial nerve (the auditory nerve) as it enters the brainstem, although plaques at other sites along the auditory pathways could also contribute to hearing problems. Plaques are abnormal areas that develop on nerves whose myelin-- the fatty sheath that surrounds and protects nerve fibers--has been destroyed. Plaques cause the nerve impulses to be slowed or halted, producing the symptoms of MS.”  Not very understandable, but meaning that MS can cause hearing loss due to the damage to the nervous system that controls our senses.  (I often wonder why explanations can’t be just straight-forward and not rambling all around with words the average person doesn’t understand!)

I have noticed lately that my hearing is becoming more and more damaged.  I often find myself cocking my head to try and pick up more of the sound waves that are coming from the direction of something I want to hear.  I am not sure that it helps much because I still have trouble hearing what I want to hear.  It is very irritating.

As I have mentioned in previous blogs, my husband does not hear well at all.  He is constantly asking me “what did they say?”.  I am beginning to not be able to answer him.  I have tried to get him to go to the doctor and get his hearing tested to see if something can be done for him.  He keeps putting it off.  I don’t think I will be like that.  I am going to talk with my neurologist in July to see if there is something that can help with my hearing loss.  It bothers me too much not to get it checked.

I am not pessimistic with this problem, but I do fear that it will be one of those things that I just have to learn to deal with.  As with speech and vision, MS often damages these and nothing can be done about it.  I have periods of time when I do not talk very well and worry that it will stay that way.  Fortunately, so far, it comes back to normal after a while.  One day it may not.  I will deal with that problem if/when it happens.

I do not mind at all being fitted for a hearing aid if that will help the problem.  I have talked with a lot of people over the years that balk at this.  They always say that it is unattractive and only for “old people”.  If it means the difference between hearing and not hearing, I do not care if it is the ugliest thing on earth.  I had rather hear than not hear.  As for being for old people, that no longer bothers me either.  Everyone that is blessed enough to get older learns that things that we taboo when we were young is a necessity as we age.  Since MS often greatly speeds up these problems, age has become a moot discussion.

We live in a world obsessed with looking young, being thin and being active.  MS takes away a lot of these options.  Most of us with MS are not all that active and our diet consists of things that we are able to consume without interfering with our meds.  As far as looking young, this becomes the least of our worries………………trying to keep as much in the game of life as possible becomes our number one priority.  Looking young is WAY down the list, if it is still on it.

My husband and a friend of ours started losing their hearing on a parallel course.  Both spent most of their time saying “huh” and asking for the conversation to be repeated.  Our friend had his hearing checked and was told that the problem he has cannot be fixed.  I think that Howard might be afraid that this would be the answer he would get also.  I do hope that he will one day get it tested to see if help is available.

Until something can be done for us, I guess we will just go along with hearing less and less of what goes on in our day.  There will be a lot of “huhs” in our routine.  I wonder how hard sign language is to learn………….. J

Friday, June 7, 2013


According to the New Advent website, “Exorcism is (1) the act of driving out, or warding off, demons, or evil spirits, from persons, places, or things, which are believed to be possessed or infested by them, or are liable to become victims or instruments of their malice; (2) the means employed for this purpose, especially the solemn and authoritative adjuration of the demon, in the name of God, or any of the higher power in which he is subject.”

Like a lot of people, I am fascinated, yet horrified, at the thought of exorcisms.  It is something that is highly contested as being real and has been the subject of countless books, articles and movies.  It is intriguing to many of us to think of the fight of good and evil so apparent in a human.  That is also the horror.  Being possessed is frightening to those of us who believe it can happen.  An exorcism is quite an ordeal to go through both for the victim and the priest performing the rite. 

Sometimes I think of MS and other diseases as possession. These diseases occupy our bodies without our permission and refuse to let us be free from them.  Being possessed by something that you do not want is frightening.  It is a constant battle of will between us and our disease(s). 

I guess in some ways our doctors could take on the role of the priest in the exorcism rites.  The doctor watches our symptoms and tries to figure out exactly what is wrong with us.  He offers treatments in the hope of easing our problems.  If that does not work, he runs tests and tries again to find something to make our lives easier.  But, unlike the priest, he is not able to completely erase the cause of our problems.

As in an exorcism, there are books to guide in the quest to conquer the evil at hand.  Each step is written out for the one who is trying to help the victim to follow.  If progress is not made at first, the “helper” may start over and try to retrace his steps to see if something was missed or misread. As some priests find out during an exorcism, no matter how closely they follow the rites or how strong their belief in the process, the possession is not easily removed.  Some of us have experienced doctors who eventually just quit trying and ease us into the back of the line of their patients.

I have been wondering if there could not be a different type of specialized doctor for MS or other diseases.  This doctor would not only have the training for these diseases, but would also be a person who was interested enough in his patients to be willing to explore different options apart from the norm.  This doctor would try to heal the body and the mind.  As most of us know from experience, when the body is constantly fighting us, our mind gets tired of the process, too.  As our body deteriorates sometimes the mind goes right along with it.  Keeping both strong is often impossible.  Keeping one strong is hard enough.

The special doctor would never tell us: “It is not a symptom of”, “this should have worked”, “there is nothing left to offer you”, “you need to go see a (blank) doctor”, etc.  This doctor would stick with us through thick and thin and always try his best to help us, not pawn us off on someone else because we don’t fit into his scheme of things.  I know what you are thinking, this doctor does not exist.  You are right.  As far as I know, he doesn’t.

But there are some really good people who are trying to make a difference in this world by stepping out of the box.  If one thing does not work, they try something different.  It may not be what they have learned in medical school to do, but it is something that they feel might help the situation.  I really feel, deep in my heart, that there will be a different breed of doctor in the near future because people are beginning to demand it. 

Until then, I will continue my search for a doctor who performs exorcisms.  If you find him first, please give him my name!


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Life’s Little Addictions – Part Two

I have been thinking about this a lot lately.  Like I have said before, I don’t understand why people are taken off medication when they are old or dying because “they might get addicted” to it.  That definitely does not compute in my brain.  Who cares if you are a 95 year old morphine addict if it eases your discomfort and helps you live until you move on to the hereafter.  And even if you are young, if you are at death’s door and in pain, what difference could it possibly make for you to die an addict?

I know that many will disagree with those statements.  I know that many oppose marijuana use for sickness and would fight tooth and nail to keep it from being legal.  I know that there are many who do all kinds of things to keep from taking medication when they are hurt or sick.  This does not make, in my opinion, those of us who do take medication weak.  It only makes us human.

I am an addict.  There are things that I take for pain, twitches, movement and such that I will only give up kicking and screaming.  Without these things I would not live even half the life I live now.  Without these things, life would barely be worth living.  Without these things, more of us would probably slip into a really deep depression or the suicide rate would go up.

Even though I take what I consider to be a large amount of medicines, there are countless others who make the medicines I take look like nothing.  I take a fairly popular pain medication twice daily.  I have a friend who takes it six times daily.  She is still in a lot of pain but fears that if she takes any more of the meds she will be unable to function.  Is this an addiction?  Most would say yes.  Those of us with diseases would say no………it is our way of  coping with the life we have now.

I know that people who have arthritis and different forms of pain take medications to try and ease their pain.  Unless it is an advanced, crippling type of this, most people would never consider trying some of the meds we try.  I know that arthritis is very painful.  I wonder if the people with arthritis know how painful MS is.

I am in no way advocating addiction or pain medication.  Well, I guess maybe I am.  But in a round about way.  Shooting up heroin and such, snorting cocaine or whatever, drinking till passed out and other types of things to retreat from society is not the type of addiction I am talking about.  These types are for people who don’t want to face life and deal with all the problems it can throw at one.  I feel very sorry for these people and wish they could make a better choice on their way to deal with life.

I think I am really talking about an addiction to life.  Of being able to function in a world that thinks only the prettiest, smartest, fastest, etc people are the ones that count.  We all count.  The ones who have to walk with a cane count.  The ones who have to walk with a walker count.  The ones being pushed in a wheelchair count.  The ones who are unable to get out of bed count.  The ones who cannot carry on a conversation count.  The list goes on and on and each person in every list counts. 

Each person on this earth has limitations and addictions.  No matter how special and effective we want to feel, there are things we cannot do or cannot do without help.  For those who feel they have none, God bless you…… will really hit you hard when yours slap you in the face.

As it is, I think I will curl up in bed, drink a cup of coffee and watch one of my TV shows………I love my addictions (or most of them) and plan on enjoying them as long as possible………I hope your addictions are good ones and make life  better for you, too!


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Life's Little Addictions - Part One

Per Wikipedia, “Addiction is the continued use of a mood altering substance or behavior despite adverse consequences, or a neurological impairment leading to such behaviors. Addictions can include, but are not limited to, drug abuse, exercise addiction, food addiction, sexual addiction, computer addiction, and gambling. Classic hallmarks of addiction include impaired control over substances or behavior, preoccupation with substance or behavior, continued use despite consequences, and denial. Habits and patterns associated with addiction are typically characterized by immediate gratification (short-term reward), coupled with delayed deleterious effects (long-term costs). Physiological dependence occurs when the body has to adjust to the substance by incorporating the substance into its 'normal' functioning. This state creates the conditions of tolerance and withdrawal. Tolerance is the process by which the body continually adapts to the substance and requires increasingly larger amounts to achieve the original effects. Withdrawal refers to physical and psychological symptoms experienced when reducing or discontinuing a substance that the body has become dependent on. Symptoms of withdrawal generally include but are not limited to anxiety, irritability, intense cravings for the substance, nausea, hallucinations, headaches, cold sweats, and tremors.”Like most people, I have quite a few addictions.

There is an ad on TV that I find amusing.  It concerns an addiction treatment center.  The facility accommodates approximately 200 people and costs $7,500.00 per month, depending on what type of care you need.  They profess that they can cure anyone of any type of addiction problem.  Let me see ....... for $7,500.00 a month I think I could kick anything on my own!  I would like to open a place like that.  Assuming you are filled up, you would make $1,500,000.00 a month, give or take a few thousand.  Yeah, I think I could manage a budget like that <rolls eyes>!

Like I said, most of us are addicted to several things whether we realize it or not.  I am addicted to my coffee in the morning.  If I don’t have any, I am not a happy camper or fit to be around.  I like the taste, the smell and the feeling it gives me.  Yes, I am totally addicted to it, but will forego the treatment center.  I like my addiction and plan on keeping it.

It is probably obvious that I am addicted to writing.  I write stories, poems, this blog, letters to friends and family, emails and countless other things.  Those of us raised in the era before home computers learned to have a vivid imagination to help entertain ourselves.  As long as I can remember there have been stories dancing around in my brain begging to be let out.  Unless I write some of them down and let them have a life of their own I think they would probably drive me crazy.  A writer once said that writers were only as crazy as their readers.  That, my friend, puts the blame squarely on YOUR shoulders!

People in my age group are usually avid readers.  Television was a rare thing in households when I was growing up and reading was the “in” thing to do to pass the time and be entertained.  I love entering the imagination of others in books.  It is, I fear, becoming a lost art.  Although people who have Kindles and such read, there is nothing like holding a real book………turning the pages……..smelling the print………feeling something real.  I wish everyone could experience that love of books but probably, in the not too distant future, books will be a thing of the past and only found in museums.  So sad…….

I am developing a television addiction.  There is a TV show called “Perception” that airs on the TNT network.  Being kind of off centered myself, I find it very interesting and amusing.  The main character is a neuropsychiatrist who helps the FBI solve cases.  The part I love is not the crime part, but the fact that the character’s interest in neuroscience stems from his own long history of paranoid schizophrenia. As a high-functioning schizophrenic, Pierce's hallucinations sometimes enable him to pick out subtle clues in solving crimes.  It makes for a really off-beat type of humor that appeals to me.  If you get a chance watch the show and let me know what you think.

Since this is becoming quite long, I will continue with more tomorrow.  Believe it or not, this does have a point I am trying to make and I will get to it as quickly as possible!