Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Curtains are Drawn

Last night, I watched the news as it showed stunning pictures of the day's sunset.  Hmmm, I wondered, why hadn't I noticed?  I opened the curtains from my bed, to check the skyline.  As always, a beautiful sight.  It hit me like a Muni Bus... I hadn't seen it cause my curtains had been closed.  Duh.  As they had been for days and days.  Something was wrong.  Ya think? 

Some years ago, maybe 5?, I stayed with an older gentleman, for 3? months, in his home, basically as a hospice person during his last months on earth.  During that time, there was a wheelchair in the home, that I sat in because it was there, it was comfortable, and it was handy.  I remember at the time what a feeling of relief it gave me - how EASY life seemed from a wheelchair, how easier it was to have MS, how much energy it saved.  Of course, this was only inside the home, so I had no idea of how it would be outside, maneuvering curbs, ramps, doorways to public buildings.  All I remember is the feeling of physical relief. 

My own stubborn nature, and knowing that I am lazy at heart, I've not been willing to "give up" and get a chair, afraid I'd never get out of it.  I'd been warned that once you're in, you don't get out.  Right before I left Idaho, I had qualified for a motorized chair thru the Sc*oter Store.  You know, that commercial on TV that asks "Do you fall more than once a year?"  If you do, you might need a wheelchair.  Ummm.... I fall, or nearly fall, almost every DAY!  Inside the apartment, I usually am close enough to something to stop the fall, but I count it as as fall, cause I would have fallen if the wall or chair or door or bed hadn't been there.  Outside, I have Annie, and I rarely fall with her.  In the mornings, when at the dog park, I am at my best, and rarely fall out there cause I feel stronger in the mornings.  I'm also using great amounts of energy and concentration, focusing, so I don't fall when other people are around.  I don't want to worry new friends, or see that "look" in eyes, that I saw constantly in Idaho.  That look of worry, concern, pity, even irritation sometimes. 

It's not till the late afternoon and evening that I just plain fall from turning too fast or from being too weak. To me, it's a fact of life, and I am good at ignoring the facts of life if they're unpleasant. 

Having recently started both physical and occupational therapy, I've been more aware of having MS and how it's affecting me.  Paying attention, so I could report back to them and their questions.  In Idaho during the 6 weeks a YEAR that I qualified for, he would have me do physical exercises, and stretches.  It was okay, and my therapist was a Jeff Gordon fan, and he was good looking too.  He was one of the first people I called when I got my San Francisco housing letter.  That's him, stretching my leg in ridiculous positions while I concentrated on not farting in his face. 

I've only had two appointments each with the PT and OT, and they have focused more on evaluating and suggesting better methods.  In OT, we're working on methods on how I could remember things better - like doctor appointments.  In PT, she agreed that I might need a wheelchair and would look into it for the next appointment, which is next week.    The OT asked me how that was coming, and I told her it seemed like the PT didn't want to work with the Sc*oter Store, and she told me yes, they don't like the Sc*oter Store.  I didn't ask why because I am not liking them either, because they call me all the time, wanting to move forward.  Not only do I not WANT a chair, I can't make the medical process move any faster than it is right now. 

I didn't move to San Francisco so I could be in a wheelchair. 

I've been here almost 10 months.  During the first few months, in walking the block around Delores Park, I could FEEL myself getting stronger, almost day by day.  It was easy to do the dog park in the morning, and errands either walking or biking in the the afternoon.  Well, not easy, but certainly doable.  I didn't dread going out for fear of MS hitting me.  If it did, it was easy to figure out why - the heat, and over-doing it. 

But in the last couple of months, it's not getting easier.  It's not that I'm out of breathe, marching up the hills, for the most part.  I FEEL good, want to go more.  But it's the weakness in my legs.  Annie can't help with that.  I don't make her work at the dog park, cause I have this crazy notion that she should have "time off" to be a dog.  Taking me up 6 blocks to the pharmacy is as exhausting to her as a half hour of chasing the ball.  She knows she's on duty when the vest is on.  She sleeps like a rock after errands, where she doesn't so much after  playing in the park.  There is a notable difference. 

I could have stayed in Idaho with the curtains closed.  I didn't come here to do that in San Francisco...


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