Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Heat Makes Us All Whiny

It is supposed to be 93 today. Even the birds seem quieter this morning. And the air is still so there is no help from the wind. Everywhere you go, it is just hot. I got up at 6:30 and opened all the windows in the house and it has cooled down to 71 degrees. I think that might be the coolest indoor temp for the day. Unfortunately, we drained the pool that stinks up the yard, in preparation for refilling it. But then it rained and  I wondered how much time we'd have left so did not bolt the metal frame back together again. And now tomorrow is supposed to be warm, with thunder showers, so I wonder if it is worth it for a few hours today. So the kids are pretty much stuck with being hot, or running through the neighbor's sprinkler, as ours is broken. And when they get hot they get whiny. And then I remember to give them popsicles. And just to make the heat more fun,  the baby has discovered my bladder makes a great bouncy cushion and has been jumping ever since. But I'll save the pregnancy whining for later. Not too much later, though.

On a very pleasant note, another result of Shane's hiking trip, besides the much appreciated perspective he got on my daily dealings, was his offer of whatever I needed to keep my sanity and get a break. Which is not a surprise, coming from Shane, who is very thoughtful, but a nice reminder that it would be a good idea to plan some regular time to take a break and get my bearings and maybe thoughts  in order. He said whatever I needed, a weekly massage, a night out, maybe just time to take a long bath with no interruptions. I have not thought too seriously about it as the heat is not conducive to great cognitive events, but it is in the back of my mind to consider.

I had another validation of my theory of massage being the best MS therapy. Every few weeks I get fliers from drug companies offering free lunches, or dinners, along with some professional giving a talk on various aspects of MS or therapies. Imagining them to basically be big sales pitches, and having no interest in ever going on them again, I generally just ignored them. Not to mention the restaurants were generally not convenient to me, or a place I would go out of my way to frequent. But last month the invitation was to a restaurant I do like, and there was  maternity store nearby I wanted to check out. And it said I could bring a friend. It was a work day. So I called my sister. She said yes, and I RSVP'd for two. The other part I was interested in was the  "title" of the talk. Cognitive dysfunction in MS. I was hoping for  some cool cog-no-meter that would tell you  if you were in any frame of mind to be picking wall paint colors, or something like that. I was a little bummed when the talk turned out to be basically a rundown of all the fun possibilities of dysfunctions, with thinking, sandwiched between spasticity and urinary problems.

I wondered how he was going to navigate such topics in  a lunch-friendly way, and noticed when he started choosing his words very thoughtfully, no cognitive dysfunction there. Not that it would have bothered me. The stomach flu, or very bad morning sickness, is the only thing that can ruin my appetite, and the ravioli with goat cheese crostini and arugula were tasty. But there was the potentiality of me revealing my immaturity by laughing, so I felt a little on guard. And having my sister next to me, I was very careful  not to catch her eye and have us both end up acting like school girls. However, when he started  hinting at other bowel issues and the off chance he might uses the word 'sphincter', I decided it would just be safer to leave. So I abandoned Tirzah to hold things together herself and went to the bathroom for a bit. I might have suggested we leave all together, but I was holding out for coffee and dessert, of which it eventually became clear there was  none of.

He did touch on massage therapy and was very convinced that of all the alternative or complimentary therapies, it was worth investing in. He explained the difference between spasms and spasticity. Spasms are momentary contractions, painful, or not. Spasticity is a constant contraction, like you have rigor mortis in one of your limbs, which sometimes you need help from someone else forcing the arm or leg back into its non-spastic position. He also mentioned that generally, spasms are a precursor to spasticity somewhere down the road. Which does not bode too well for my legs. But he said massage therapy is very useful for getting your muscles to relax way beyond what you can do stretching on your own. He pretty much had me sold at the massage part.

I was also entertained by the fact that the projection of the slides he used would kind of jerk every few seconds. No one went into seizures or anything, it just seemed kind of ironic, especially when he got to eye movement issues. All-in-all it was a fine overview, nothing earth shattering, and not a sales pitch at all. And, given, the right restaurant, the right neurologist, I might go again.

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