Monday, January 31, 2011

an afternoon in the garden

As I type the words,
"an afternoon in the garden,"
it sounds like a foreign film title;
a little magical, enchanted, wistful...
You sense that something mysterious
is coming...

It was a bit magical,
definitely wistful,
and there was
an aura of mystery too!

Last week, while storms raged
throughout the country,
southern California was beautiful...

I decided it was time
to make some sense
out of my neglected garden...
It had been too long...

The excuses, the reasons,
all valid, well mostly valid...
were holding me back
from something I loved doing...
Tending to my garden...

I was tripping over my own feet,
strangling myself with my own arms;
I had been feeling weak and tired
for a long time...

The kind of chronic companionable
weakness and tiredness
that makes you feel anxious
and blue...
a hostage to a situation...

I knew all this...
I had broken free
so many times before...

But that doesn't mean
that each time isn't
just a teeny tiny bit harder
than the time before that
and the time before that...

Sometimes all the signs
in the universe align just so...

The lovely weather,
my friend Judi suggesting
a stroll through the nursery
before our movie date...

A gardener at heart,
I couldn't leave without purchasing
a flat of delicate pansies and
an about to bloom
lily of the valley shrub...

The next afternoon I pulled back my hair
and tucked it under my straw gardening hat...
I wriggled my achy fingers into my pink gloves,
grabbed my gingham tool bag, my bamboo stool
and got to work...

For an afternoon
I forgot that my fingers were stiff,
tingly and as tight as if glued together...

My gloved hands scoped fresh soil
from newly opened bags,
tucking it around the little pansies
as I placed them in their new beds...

I clipped, trimmed and mulched...
I bent, knelt, and squatted...
I can't remember if my legs
were buzzing or numb or both...
I didn't really care...

I lost track of time...
All that mattered was my garden...
the joy of a warm, bright day,
the pleasure of planting flowers...
the soothing feeling of accomplishment...

Saturday, January 22, 2011

how quickly we forget

This week has been one of those weeks...
A headache week,
A week filled with MS buzzes, tingles, twitches...

Day after day of carrying heavy arms,
walking on shaky legs
and fingers that short circuit and blow up,
going numb as I try to type on the computer,
write a note or turn the page of a book....

It's all happened before...
It will all happen again...
like that movie,
Ground Hog's Day...

Everything matters, nothing matters very much...

What surprised me this time
was that I forgot
or let myself forget
about the power
of my migraine pills...

It's not that I don't have headaches all the time...
I have some kind of headache daily...
A doctor once told me,
"think of the headaches on a scale of 1-10"

Anything under 5,
I use my other pills
or tough it out...
and my secret weapon,
I drink a real coke...

Well, the other morning,
it was all too much...
my left eye was throbbing,
I was restless, sleep wasn't an option...

I ripped open the packet
and as I had many times before,
took the migraine pill.

I wasn't hungry
but I never like the pills
landing on an empty stomach
so I had some tea and toast...

I try not to rush about
but I seemed to be moving
in great loopy circles
like a naughty crayon,
scribbling faster and faster...

"Just get ready slowly,"
I tell myself...
So I put some toothpaste
on my electric toothbrush...

it's not the real kind,
just one that has a control
in the handle...

Anyway, I turn it on
start to brush my teeth
and WHOA!!!

My teeth, which I didn't realize
until that moment
when the electrical jolt
of my faux electric tooth brush
presses against them,
feel like chunks of thick, icy glass...

The jolt of the brush
against the frosty chunks of my teeth
sends a current of power
down my legs
and my toes start to curl up
inside my slippers...

My hand is pulsing,
and unable to react quickly
as it holds the brush,
and one lone dangling finger
fumbles for the tiny tiny button
in the handle that will make it all stop...

I finally dropped the toothbrush
into the sink...
and left it there vibrating,
as I collapsed to the floor
laughing,
in a pile of poodles...

Everything matters, nothing matters very much...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

about last night

One of my nightly rituals
is to give myself my copaxone injection...
I have been able to do this
without David's help
for lots of years now...

When I first began taking copaxone
a nurse came to our house
and showed us how to mix it,
where and how to inject it,
how to properly dispose of it,
it was quite a production,
almost theatrical...

But I needed David's help...
My hands made it impossible
for me to combine the parts
and hold onto the syringe...

Giving myself the actual injection
seemed like a small thing
in comparison...

Although in the beginning,
David was the one that did it...
I don't remember exactly why now,
I would imagine sharing the moment
just made it easier...

Especially since this was not like a course of antibotics...
Copaxone was now a part of our daily life...

Eventually, copaxone came premixed...
At first David continued
to give me my nightly injections...
Then I went on a trip without him
and I had to do it myself...

When I got home
I declared my independence...
There were enough other MS moments
we could share...

So now, about last night...
There I was
getting ready for bed...

I casually ripped opened the copaxone...
Then I opened an alchohol swab
and dabbed it on my right buttock's cheek...
I took the syringe and pressed,
as usual,
and I didn't seem to have enough strength in my hands,
at that moment,
to continue to push it all the way in...

Tears didn't just well up,
they dribbled down my cheeks
as I stood there,
holding a needle in my tush!

David, of course, was already asleep!
I didn't want to call out...
I was worried that I would really alarm him...
He would think that I had taken a terrible fall...

Maybe, even though I was crying harder now,
I was also being a bit stubborn...?!

I am, though easy going,
quite stubborn...
But when you're pressing a needle
partially into yourself and
it's sort of standing there, not moving
you need to do something...

I tried to take a deep breath
but settled on a few smaller ones...
"OK, just pull it out
and let it go for tonight,"
I said to myself...

But like I said,
I'm stubborn...
and these shots
are like gold...

I could not rationalize wasting it...
I can't exactly explain what happened next...

My hand felt numb but it hurt...
The syringe went in where it had been lingering...
There was only a smidgen of blood
when I finally released the empty disposable needle
and pulled it out of me...
I dabbed it with another alchohol swab...

And that, was that...

Will it ever happen again?
Probably.
Am I going to worry about it?
No!

Monday, January 10, 2011

what's monday without a little...

Monday...
a new week
a fresh page in my date book
possibilities, blanks to fill in,
people, places, emotions, aches, pains...
challenges...

What's a Monday morning
without a few twitches
in the legs
or some buzzing
up and down the arms...

It just wouldn't be Monday
without a slight headache...

And, of course, how could I begin my week,
without swallowing my morning handfull of pills...

It will be the same tomorrow...
on Wednesday,
over the weekend...
as the song says,
"the beat goes on..."
but so do I...

I twitch a little here...
out buzz the bees there...

I like to think my headaches
give me perspective,
maybe even sensitivity,
a dash of creativity too!

The pills...
after all these years together,
the pills are just the pills...
though I've worked hard
to keep their numbers down...

So it's Monday...
and like every other Monday
I'm moving to my own tempo
and glad...

Saturday, January 8, 2011

waiting for signs from the universe

This morning I woke up early
after a particularly restless night
to go to Ethan's first basketball game...

Today also would have been my Sheila's birthday...
and as is my ritual,
last night at sundown
I lit a candle for her...
silently hoping it would blaze
an extra day...

The basketball game was delightful!
The 7 and 8 year old boys,
all dangling arms and legs,
dashing back and forth,
excited to be a part of something
greater than themselves...
And Ethan made a basket!

Could that be a sign?

After the game,
David stopped at a great little French restaurant/ bakery
to pick up a loaf of freshly baked olive bread
to bring home for our breakfast...

It was amazing...
simply slathered with butter,
with every bite
the lavender hills of Provence
swayed in the distance...

Maybe, another sign...
Sheila, a fabulous cook and baker
would have adored that bread...

After cleaning up the dishes
and glancing through the newspaper,
I felt overwhelmingly sleepy...
not tired but sleepy
like a small child who cannot stay awake...

David had his own plans for the afternoon
and nothing that I was thinking about doing
was urgent or could not wait...
so I crawled back into bed
followed by three ridiculously happy poodles,
falling fast asleep
as soon as my head touched my pillow...

I don't remember dreaming...
I barely recall feeling Lilirosie and
Gaby huddled next to me...
Usually, I flip and flop around
like a fish out of water...
But as I slept on,
a magical aura of stillness held everything,
me, the poodles, the bed, the air...

I opened my eyes to a dusky sky
and just for a moment that aura lingered...
Then all three dogs sprang up at once
barking wildly as the front door creaked open...

David walked into the bedroom
the poodles clamoring to greet him...
He smiled as he said,
"You really were exhausted..."

Today as I think back
over what happened,
I can't help but believe
Sheila helped me
get the rest I needed...

Sunday, January 2, 2011

pondering

I'm not a resolution making kind of person...
What I am is a pondering kind of person...
So in honour of the New Year
and New Year rituals etc,
Here are some of my first,
official ponderings...

everyone
should
run away;
and
have
a
quiet
day.

when I was little
everyone told me
I must wait
until I got bigger
now I am bigger
but I don't understand
what did I wait for?

If everyone walking down a street
smiles at someone
and then that person smiles
at someone and so on and so on
then soon the whole street
will be filled with smiling people...

And lastly, but certainly not least...
Wouldn't it be amazing if
this year they gave a war
and nobody came...