Note the photo...I had a friend of mine snap a picture of me today right after I finished a marathon yardwork tour and dragged myself into my house, crawling like a snake on my belly!
WHAT WAS I THINKING?!? Well, here's what I thought: It was such a gorgeous day here in Seattle with no rain (which can be a rare event in the Spring) and a bright blue sky. I thought to myself, "Self. It's beautiful outside and you should go out and enjoy it. Do a little yardwork and sit in the sun for a bit. After all, your right shoulder is feeling improved, so screw the left one. It will just have to tag along, but you'll be OK. It's been weeks since you got out and really did anything physical since this relapse hit. You can do it! Get out there! Work on that yard...you'll feel soooo much better if you do, Self."
So, I did. I put on my yard wear, which is a long-sleeved T-shirt full of holes, blue jeans with layers of old paint on them, ratty tennis shoes, and an old crusty jacket I had to dig in my closet to find. I had on the "power clothes". I noticed digging around to FIND the power clothes wore me out a bit, but I trudged on...looking back, I now know this should have been my first sign, but I remained gleefully oblivious to my body's beginning cries.
I set out for the yard, which consists of mostly dandelions, grass, and the Washington State Vine...black berry runners. I forged on into the shed and began bringing out all the tools I would need to clean up the yard. I had to sit down and rest at this point, which should have been my second sign.
After a brief rest, I began tackling the "yard"...there were weeds to pull, black berry runners to cut and remove, edging to do, and grass to mow. Now, being the rather obsessive-compulsive person I am, I would begin one task and have to complete it in it's entirety before I could move on to the next...it's just the way I do things! I began to notice early on in the weed pulling stage, my left arm was going to be useless as I had no grip or strength in it to pull much of anything. My right arm jumped right in and began ripping the weeds out of the groundin a skillful manner, even though I am left hand dominant. My left arm just went along for the ride.
After only a short period of weed pulling with my wanting-to-be-buff right arm, it began to experience some fatigue and weakness. I paused again briefly, gritted my teeth, lowered my head in a head butting stance, and became determined I WOULD finish the yard work today. I would be invincible and Multiple Sclerosis would lose this time! I had a strange voice in my head (no, I don't hear voices on a regular basis) saying, "You're gonna lose this time, suckaa!", and I finished my weeding and moved on to some mowing and edging.
By this time, I had nearly lost all feeling in my left arm, so using the weed eater was very interesting! My arm went completely numb from the vibration. I somehow convinced myself this was a good thing...if I couldn't FEEL it, it wouldn't HURT...and I began grunting out loud with every exertion. My right arm decided at this point to cut it's losses and get out of Dodge...it began to go numb as well.
So here I was in my yard, looking completely "gimped out", but determined I would not give up until I had completed my task. After all, I was already dusty and dirty, so I might as well gut this out and finish. I paused about every minute to rest and leaned on the weed eater for support. Then my left leg decided it wanted out, too, and I plopped in ungraceful style flat on my hind end...it was quite a sight I'm sure.
As my body deserted me one limb at a time, I literally crawled up the hill on my hands and knees to prevent me from rolling down it. I'm sure people walked by on the street down below and wondered what the crazy lady on the hill was doing crawling in her yard...I didn't care at this point...I needed to get to higher ground! As I made the final ascent and summit of my hill (which seemed more like a mountain at the time), I smelled a putrid aroma and realized I had managed to put my knee in a pile of cat crap somewhere along my upward crawl.
I had no choice now...there was nothing left to do but fling myself on the top of my slope, lay in the sun, and laugh until I nearly wet myself. What WAS I thinking???
My body and MS had successfully humbled me into submission...there would be no Wonder Woman tactics with this disease. At least not today. Yardwork was over and I would just have to accept this. My fingers were swollen like sausages on both hands and the wonderful numbing I had been feeling in my arms was being replaced with my friendly burning nerve sensation, reminding me it had never really left after all. My left leg was literally finished playing a supportive role and made my right leg carry IT to the house.
BUT, I had finished most of the work I had set out to do and I'm sure my yard looks fabulous. Now if I can only manage to crawl to a window and hold myself up long enough to gaze at it, I'm certain I'll enjoy the fruits of my labor! I haven't been able to get to the window yet, however. Typing on a laptop on the couch is the best I can do today...What was I thinking?