You know my constant debate…
Go to the outside world, play the Old Me (who walks really funny but I don’t walk that much or that far, so it’s cool) and visit with some of my favorite normals in my downtown office? Or stay home and be uber productive in the relative safety of my home.
It’s never easy, this whole game I play with should I stay or should I go now, but the benefits are huge so I keep myself motivated to keep on keeping on and walk out the damn door when I physically can to get myself to the office. It’s important to me.
The weather hasn’t been on my side lately. I discovered this winter that the cold messes me up nearly as badly as intense heat. Color me informed. The extreme cold turns me (and some others from what I’ve been told) into what I like to call the Tin Man. The Tin Man before Dorothy came along with her trusty oil can, I mean. My whole body feels solid. Stiff. It becomes hard to move. Like, at all. You feel frozen in space which is fine except for you feel this way while out in the world full of fast-moving, often impatient people.
So lately when it’s single digit cold, I stick by the home office connected to the world by a bunch of letters (VPN, WWW, IM, ATT…) I could go on, but I won’t. It’s warm at the home office. But not too warm! Because we all know what happens when we get too warm…liquid squid body. Everything feels liquid, melty, fluid. Again, not bad things to be unless you’re out in the world full of fast-moving, often impatient people. People have substance. They like to move their substances quickly.
Anyway. I’ve spent a few long days at home doing meeting after meeting on the phone or via webex or whatever and I really needed to get out of the house. I have an amazing office to go to! I really wanted to be in that office, talking to actual people’s actual faces. I was determined to get my butt out there and do the things. All of the things involved in getting out of the house (all completely necessary). Plans must be made.
It had snowed the day before. But before the snow started, it sleeted. Then it snowed, again. Then it got really, really cold. Ergo, the entire outside world full of surfaces and steps and other sneaky hazards is now covered with a thick layer of ice, covered by a twinkly white layer of snow. Oh. And look at that! My snow shoveler-guy used up the last of my ice melt and didn’t tell me. I have nothing with which to melt the icy world outside.
I think to myself…”Self,” I say, “Just drink that bullet-proof cup o’ joe, put on some clothes, douse your head in dry shampoo and slap on something that looks like makeup and see how you feel when that’s all done. You can wear Uggs! Nobody will judge.”
So I did just that.
I sat, rested, vaped a bit more and lo! My anxiety decreased and I thought I was ready to go…I would just walk really, really slowly and I would hang on for dear life to anything nearby be it a railing or my beloved cane, Stanley. I’ve grown to love him, reluctantly. He matches all of my clothes (he’s also black like my soul) and he doesn’t get mad when I forget and leave him behind in strange places. Who could resist that?
A couple of things I learned today (in no particular order):
- Uggs – while flat, warm and oh so very basic – are not very good on slippery surfaces. Like steps. Like the cement steps down from my porch. The more you know.
- While I have always been terribly ungraceful, uncoordinated, un-anything that means I have any locomotive skills for doing anything physical at all…It doesn’t really matter that I now have an excuse to be such a klutz. When faced with certain cement-filled death, miracles do happen! That expensive wrought iron railing I bought oh so long ago…totally worth every penny.
- I walked gingerly across my snow covered grass to the driveway, clutching Stanley for my very life.
- Freezing rain must pool around vehicles, or something, because my car was encased in ice and surrounded by what looked like small speed bumps made of ice.
- Clinging to your brick house, your car, your cane and your backpack are all very reasonable when faced with speed bumps made of ice.
- A miracle occurs. The car doors will open.
- The entire car is caked in snow on top of ice on top of snow. I can’t brave the icy speed bumps to go back outside to scrape the car clean. I could easily perish by falling and sliding UNDER the car. I could run my own self over.
- Sitting in the car with heat blaring at 82 degrees for 43 minutes may or may not be what one does when one is facing the reality of possibly running ones self over.
- The ice eventually melts. EVENTUALLY. While it’s melting, one might sing the entire score of Jesus Christ Superstar while sweating off the makeup one took five precious minutes to apply.
- As I am driving into town, it starts snowing. Again. Because of course it does.
Where was I?
- I arrive in town and prepare to disembark at the valet at the hotel across the street from my office. We have an arrangement. Thank sweet baby Jesus, we have an arrangement. At the hotel across the street.
- There is ice all over the place where it probably wouldn’t be an issue for even the average MS’er but it may or may not have required the assistance of two valets and an old woman to get me out of my car and into my office building…across the street. Yes. You read that right. ACROSS THE STREET. Wanted to make sure you got that.
- I had a pretty great day in the office. I remember people! People are so awesome. Someone ordered Vietnamese food for lunch and got me some and…wow, I had no idea how much I’d love Vietnamese food. I’ve never had it before. How have I never had this before? So good.
- I’m loving today!
- I may or may not have vaped CBD in my office when the reliable MS back burning pain kicks in. Nobody cares, right? Right.
- I had such a great day being with actual real people, I forgot to take my 4PM meds.
- Two of my 4pM meds are pretty much required for any amount of locomotion. Ampyra (the walking drug). Baclofen (the muscle relaxer drug that lets my body actually move around a little).
- I am stumbling out of the office clinging to Stanley and Sandy around 6PM. Sandy is a real person, and not a walking device. She’s my best friend and we work together. How lucky am I?
- Sandy allows me to cling to her when we’re walking together in the outside world. It reminds of that thing that happens at every single Italian wedding you’ve ever been to. That thing where two old ladies dance with each other on the dance floor because their husbands are long gone but they straight up have the music in them so they dance with each other.
- I’m not a big toucher. Neither is Sandy. But we’ve come to call this odd clinging behavior of mine cuddling. Clutching would probably be a better description, but whatevs. We cuddle all over town.
- I actually have to lift my left leg with my arms to get it (and me) into the damn car. Sandy pays the valet for me. THANK GOD because those extra five steps would have put me on the sidewalk as sure as god made little green apples.
(As an aside, this is a very god-filled post for someone on the fence about the actual big guy himself…go figure. Nothing brings out the god in a girl like a degenerative disease. Amirite?)
Where was I?
- I get home. By a miracle of the lord, again, and via my nephew Alex, all of the icebergs have been melted by the time I get out of my car in the driveway again.
- I stumble to the front door thanking god (again) that I hadn’t forgotten Stanley in the office again. I am stymied by how badly I am walking. I mean, I walk funny! This is not in dispute. But I don’t walk THIS funny. Usually.
- It is at that moment, I remember…my 4PM meds!!! I forgot my 4PM meds.
One tiny adjustment to my schedule (leaving the house) threw me for such a loop that I plum forgot the actual magical beans that try to turn me into a real girl. OK. I mixed up a bunch of Disney movie imagery there but you get me. I shouldn’t skip my 4PM meds.
Tomorrow is supposed to be 43 degrees. The ice will melt for real this time. At least for a little while. Forty-three is almost within my range of workable environmental temps for ultimate body operation. I have determined, via a very scientific method (not) that ideal temperature to be between 45 and 55 degree Fahrenheit.
I will set myself an alarm on my phone as a reminder to never, ever again forget my 4PM meds.
I survived the icy, cold outside world on this day by the (sheep) skin of my damn black Uggs! But, it was worth it. I love Vietnamese food.