Saturday, February 6, 2016

While the Rain Beats Upon The Window Pane...

It is a quiet evening here in Connecticut the wind blows the rain against the windows reminding me that it's cold outside. My little dog is curled up on the blanket on the couch still drying out from running in the rain for his evening stroll.  I'm sitting here in my recliner watching TV just waiting for my show to come on reminiscing over things that used to mean so much...and are still precious to me.

I remember when the kids were young and their dad and I were still in love. The places we lived when he was in the USN, the people we knew during those years, the joy, and the sadness.  Two of my sons do not speak to me these days.  I have had to accept that as something I cannot change...but when I am sitting here reflecting I see them as they were back then.  It is a beautiful reprieve from the sadness of our reality.

I guess as simplistic as it may sound I find that for me each day is a new adventure; I get up, I go to work, I meet new people, I do new things and I keep learning.  The energy to keep on comes from the physical process of moving forward.

I know that I have outlived my mother who passed away at the age of 58...truly never thought that would happen.  She was such a strong woman...

Today, each new and wonderful experience is for her...she did not get to live her life to the fullest so my sister and I do it for her whether it is seeing the breathtaking northern lights in northern Alberta or the majestic mountains in the southwestern US.

My life is very gratifying and I really don't know how many days, or weeks, or months I have before I lose my mobility or my strength because this disease multiple sclerosis will take its toll over time.

I am reminded when I'm sick that a simple sinus infection causes my symptoms to flare and brings me to my knees. A simple crumb or sip of water takes my breath brings me to down while I find myself choking, vomiting, and struggling to breathe.  The frustration that I feel is a thin mask for the fear that keeps me humble...I cannot give up.  I WILL not give up.

So each day is an opportunity for me to experience anything other than the reality that, like so many others subject to a disease, I know the clock ticks away the moments without regard for me.

I am planning to take five or six days off to go back to my little house next month to have a few things done.  It will be spring there and as such the water will under the cottage, there will be pipes to check, propane tank to fill, and a time of being home again with friends and family.

Silver Lake is very pretty whether it is winter, fall, spring, or summer.  The ice fishing will be booming if the weather has been consistently cold.  Most years the huts and trucks across the thickened ice surface of the lake.  Ice Fishing at Silver Lake

When I think of my little shanty and bunkhouse I remember my flower beds and I have to remind myself that there will be

This is my neighborhood at Silver Lake in the  Cold and beautiful...

So as I sit and reminisce I am humbled by the fact that no matter what my life entails (illness, being estranged from two sons, being away from home, etc) I really do find that my life today is peaceful and I am happy in a contented way that is a balm to my spirit.

Sign me, Living Simply in New Haven, CT waiting to go back to Small Town America, M

I will be the Mistress of the Moonlight...sitting by the fire under the stars:

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

A Chance Meeting...That Touched Me

Today started out as just another day at work in a very busy neurodiagnostics lab trying to find machines to run tests, while waiting for the docs to finish rounding to free up equipment.  Calling the floors trying to find patients who are available for testing, trying to find doctors, residents, etc. are all part of our every day routine.

Later in the day I happened across two people in the hallways of my day who were typical...two married people, one being ill, one being supportive but as they began to speak I realized that we were living the same life, sharing the same grief, and bearing the same pain. 

Multiple sclerosis touches me in a way that's difficult to explain in my work setting.  I know part of me recognizes the clinical signs:  the struggle to walk, the cane, the staggering gait, the speech that becomes tangled, the handwriting deterioration, the fatigue...  Yet in the time that we are together we bonded on a level that brought us some comfort.

They shared themselves with me; I shared myself with them; we have MS.  I  have needles and pins in my neck, in my hands, my hands tremble, I trip over things that aren't there, and I understand the fatigue.  We connected in that moment, in that brief instant when we identify with each other because we do have that disease in common.

We are walking the same road.  We are on the same journey, on the same page, in the same book.  we have experienced the same grief, sadness,  anger,  acceptance...all the while moving forward in hopes that things will get better.

So when  the family member  questions me about my pain, my balance, my speech, my memory, my ability to work  I know they are hopeful.  I could see that they are further down the road than I in that the person who has MS in this couple is limited in ways that I have yet to encounter.  Will I be like that in a few years?

I know that they understand.  There are days when I wake up grateful just to know I can still swing my legs over the side of his bed and put my feet on the floor.  It means so much to be able to walk to the shower, brush my hair, brush my teeth, and just take care of myself without wishing  for it to be over. 

It is a gift to live one day at a time without the fear of being unable to care for myself.  There were times that I lived in dread of being unable to bathe myself or to feed myself.  How do you explain how important it is to be able to open a jar?  How do you say how awful it feels to walk unsteadily on my feet down the hall at work?  How do you pretend that when your speech comes out tangled up it does not embarrass you?  My hands don't work like they used to... my fingers don't have the strength they used to.  The fear that overwhelms me is the fear of the unknown.

When I meet these people we share things that we have experienced along the way; we talked about our mutual diagnosis.  We embraced the importance of maintaining as good a life as possible while limiting stress.  We chuckled over learning to pick and choose your battles to better manage the stress and frustration.  We set boundaries while accepting our limitations.

I stepped into their world today through that window of opportunity that permitted us to spend time joking and reminiscing about the way it is.  We agreed that people don't understand the things that we have experienced.  They would not appreciate the things that we no longer take for granted; the things that really brought us together to encourage each other...just weary travelers on the road.

I walked away knowing that they would go home; he would sit in this chair, and the dogs would sit in his lap.  His wife would bring him coffee while he would check and see what's on TV. They would pick up their lives where they left off yesterday.  You know I am sure that they will remember me and I will remember them...

Sometimes I just want to be home in my little house near the lake...just to be away from all the BS.  It would be so cozy to be away from pettiness, gossip, egos, and the politics of the work place.

It just undermines my efforts to be Have to laugh...Remember when the doctor told me to eliminate stress from my life and be happy.  It was her prescription for coping with MS...

Yesterday I found out that I do not have adequate health coverage to pay for the steroid treatments I had in August.  The medical bills just keep on coming.  More stress...I don't feel like I am getting ahead. 

Sign me, Wondering why I work some days...

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Sunday CT.

Each day that I work I am filled with such a good feeling that I am being productive. I love what I do and it is a wonderful thing to get paid to do what you love.  The one aspect of my job that I love the most is being afforded the opportunity to keep learning new things.

Today is one of my days off so Little Dude and I are hanging out at home.  The weather has changed dramatically secondary to storms off the coast.  We have been spared the flooding here in CT but the temperature dropped quite a bit.  I have had the fireplace going the last two evenings; this gives me such comfort.  We had a fireplace growing up; the memories of that gives me as much warmth as the heat from the fire.

Still living simply here in Hamden, CT.  The chill in the air has encouraged me to make homemade soup again; today I will be finishing off the last of my yellow split pea and ham soup.  I have a smoked ham to cut up and put in freezer bags for the next few weeks.  My next soup is going to be Chicken Corn Chowder.  A friend of mine use to make it:  Amish Style Chicken Corn Soup

Sign me, Still Living Simply, M

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Well, being professional required that I honor my contract for 13 weeks.  Gathered up my things, uniforms, books, bed linens, one small black dog, and headed to the East Coast.  This assignment was only 7.5 hours from my little shanty and that was not too difficult.  This was a bit improvement unlike driving the 1500 miles home from the last

I have been working since the 8th of September at a hospital in a really large city.  The steroid treatments did help me and my strength has returned.  The crew here are very nice!  Still miss the lovely  people in New Orleans but I am getting used to the Northerners again.

I was able to bring a lot less this time and my car was not packed to the ceiling.  The dress code at the hospital requires just plain scrub uniforms; that means that I can use some of the scrubs that I have with me.  It was so nice to wear my turquoise scrub top and black scrub pants!  The bright color helps lifts my spirits.

The apartment is quite nice as well.  There is plenty of room for my little black dog and I.  We just got back from the dog park.  He really loves to gallop around at the park!  This one has a lot of shade trees; it is in a small wooded area but there is still some room to kick up his heels. There were only three other dogs this time.

Today, I will be doing laundry and washing up a few dishes.  I have ham and beans for my meals today.  There is still chili to put up in the freezer for later on.

Living simply is still possible in a big city.  I would never have thought it feasible but I still cook larger quantities and divide the food into portions to freeze for the next week or two.  I do pick up take out sometimes; that is something I don't do very much at home in the shanty.  My friends and I get together for a meal out sometimes but there is still a savings.  We tend to go to a particular restaurant on Wednesdays when the offer specials like 99 cent Beef on Weck sandwiches. On Thursday we go to another eatery that offers the best chicken wings for a special discount price.  It is a two-fer, the fellowship of friends and the good deal as well.

I have noticed that here in the big city there are other benefits.  I am only 14 minutes from work; this provides me a good savings on gas.  My housing and utilities are included as part of my job.  I only pay for my cable, phone, and internet bundle on a monthly basis. 

I really do not spend a lot of money from day to day. It helps me to keep track of what I do spend; it brings it home to me at the end of the week. 

This week I found a way to reconnect with a blogger from the UK.  She has been struggling with a medical situation that has been quite taxing for her and her family.  Her son has a traumatic brain injury that he acquired two years ago.  Just hearing what she has been going through gives me a wonderful point of reference for my own life.  It keeps me humble when it comes to my own health.  I will be keeping in contact with her.   God bless them and keep them safe. 

Anyway, time to chillax for a while.  Talk to you later.

Sign me, Living Simply Wherever I Am in America