Friday, June 29, 2007

Have I Become TOO Accepting Of Multiple Sclerosis?...

Pardon me while I think/type out loud for a moment...the title of this post has me captivated in deep thought. (And all this time, you thought I was a "shallow" thinker! LOL)

I have been reading several blogs of late and also corresponding with other MSers via email and a consistent *theme* has been churning over and over in my mind...it is the title of this post. But more importantly, it is the ANSWER to the title of this post that I am struggling to find.


When I was first diagnosed with MS in 2003, everyone kept telling me to "just accept it"...just "go with the flow"...don't "fight the diagnosis", etc. And, after much kicking, screaming, and gnashing of teeth, I DID eventually come to terms on my level with the disease...I *ACCEPTED* I had it and "it" wasn't going to go away. I *ACCEPTED* the notion of the unknown and worked with my inner fears. I *ACCEPTED* I would most likely be on some kind of medication for the rest of my life. I *ACCEPTED* there were NO fast or easy answers...I *ACCEPTED* there was no reason to sport a pair of "rose-colored glasses" NOR was there reason to trod in the shadow of a personal rain cloud for the rest of my life. Multiple Sclerosis was going to be whatever it was going to be in my life and I would NOT be in control of its process. I begrudgingly, painfully, surrendered to ACCEPTANCE.


The first four years of my MS came with much trial and tribulation...I had relapse after relapse...I developed new symptoms and various medication intolerances. I was hospitalized twice, tried on four different disease modifying drugs with little success, and seemed to develop lasting and permanent disabilities. I was slowly becoming less and less able to function without difficulty and...yes...this, too, I also *ACCEPTED*.


More recently, I was started on Novantrone, which has become a seemingly "wonder" drug for me. My symptoms decreased, I have had NO relapses since February 2007, my prior disabilities diminished, and I found myself returning to levels of functioning prior to the diagnosis in 2003. My OLD life as I had known it appeared to be flashing before my eyes and I literally RAN with this notion! For the first time in four years, I really WAS able to walk with a sure pace and run if I wanted to. My body and my mind adjusted quickly to the idea MS was no longer in control of my every moment and thought...and yes, this TOO, I *ACCEPTED*.


Over the past few weeks, I have been unfortunately experiencing a return of fairly serious spasticity and stiffness in my legs...my fatigue level is inching its way back up on the notorious scale...I am having muscular pains in my legs, hips, and back. I am being reminded of my MS on a daily basis again...AND...I am having great difficulty ACCEPTING this.


Having had my few months window of normalcy, I am now constantly reminded of what my life *could* be without MS constantly knocking on my door...I am reminded of the many wonders of life and the simple things I often take for granted...like walking without pain OR simply being ABLE to walk. I am reminded of the ease at which my life *could* travel without physical difficulties...I am reminded of what my life SHOULD be like...without MS.


There is a tiny voice inside my head that repeatedly whispers, "Just accept it" and, I know how much calmer my mental state would be if I DID just accept it. I know how much less fear and angst I would experience if I DID just let it be...to just embrace my MS once again with open arms.


But I can't help but ponder what I might be GIVING UP and GIVING IN to by just *ACCEPTING* my current symptoms again? Should I just settle for my current state of being and not FIGHT for a return of "the good life"? Where does that fine line fall between *ACCEPTING* where I am at on the continuum of my MS and diligently SEARCHING for something better?...actively fighting for whatever drug/exercise/rehabilitation/physical therapy/snake oil might IMPROVE my current state? How do I know when to "Let go and let God" (as they say in Alcoholics Anon when surrendering to that particular disease) or use the brains GOD gave me to figure out something better? When do I say, "This is how it is" versus "I can fight this"?


One of my dearest spiritual teachers once told me a story about her life several years ago where she became immobilized by choices. She told me there was a time in her life where she was so deep in thought about choices that she simply could not choose. Everything in life became a pondering choice...to go this way, or choose a different route...to say this thing or choose to say something else...to do this with her life or choose something different. The idea of choices became immobilizing. One day, she remained in bed for THREE days stuck in the notion that whatever she chose to do when she got out of bed would alter her life.


On the third day of staying in bed and hiding under the bedsheets, she had an epiphany...STAYING IN BED AND NOT CHOOSING WAS ALSO A CHOICE. This realization had a profound impact on her life at that very moment. She *chose* to get out of bed and continue living, no longer bogged down with guilt, questions, or ideas about her life choices...her life just simply "was".


I think about this example now as I question my *ACCEPTANCE* issues...by neither *choosing* to accept my current state with my MS nor *choosing* to "fight the good fight", I am left immobilized. Nothing changes for the better, yet my Multiple Sclerosis continues along its merry path of disease. IT will NOT stop for me to wait to *choose* what I want or need to do in response to the many curve balls it throws at me. My MS and its symptoms is a fluid disease, always changing, always variable. And my response to it will most likely mimic the disease path...always changing and always variable in my level of *ACCEPTANCE*.


So, today I'm going to go ahead and get out of bed to do the things I need to do, even WITH my pain and discomfort. I will make myself exercise and eat healthfully because I know this is the "right" thing to do...I will take the drugs prescribed to try to lessen the effects of the pain and discomfort...I don't HAVE to *ACCEPT* my MS today, but I DO have to live with it for now...and THIS is also a choice...


Thursday, June 28, 2007

Oh, Come ON! Humor Me...

Yep, it's YOUR turn to contribute something meaningful here on BrainCheese. And please...I am not assuming ANYTHING I have contributed thus far has been *meaningful*! LOL

But I'd like to play a little game with my fellow MSers called, "If your Multiple Sclerosis Could See, Touch, Smell, Taste, & Hear". This is how the game goes (and my rules RULE!):


Answer the following questions using descriptive terms to tell about your personal MS. Leave your responses in the comment section of the blog.


1. If you could see your MS as a physical shape, what would it look like?


2. If your MS had a flavor, what would it taste like?


3. If your MS could make a noise, what would it sound like?


4. If your MS were a texture, what would it feel like?


5. If your MS could talk, what would it say?


And yes, I WILL play my own game to give you examples. LOL


1. A tall, prickly cactus with some smooth parts and some nasty needles!

2. A spicy chili...you don't notice how spicy it is at first, but the longer you eat it, the more it burns your throat.

3. A car with a damaged muffler.

4. Snot...gooey, slimy snot.

5. "I'll be baaaack", in an Arnold S. impersonating voice.


There...now YOU try it!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

It Happened Again...A Brush With Surly Sue...

Albert Einstein once said, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." I now declare myself *officially* insane. LOL

You may recall a post I did several weeks back titled, "Just A Tuna Fish Sandwich"...if you don't recall it (or have tried desperately to FORGET it), here's the link: http://brain-cheese.blogspot.com/2007/05/just-tuna-fish-sandwich.html . It was about my not-so-favorite deli/lunch lady at the County Hospital cafeteria, who I have lovingly dubbed, SURLY SUE. Here is an addendum to that silly story...


Yes, I WAS scheduled at the County Hospital again today and reported for duty with great trepidation...you see, I did NOT pack a lunch. This meant I would be subjected to either the hospital cafeteria OR I would have to forage for food somewhere out in the "big" world, which I mostly loathe doing. And then, there would still be the cafeteria deli where SURLY SUE might be lying in wait to once again F^<$ up my simple sandwich order...I knew when I left the house without packing sustenance, I was destined for possible disappointment.


I traveled immediately out to another emergency room as my first assignment and completed my task there just before regular meal time. I hesitated in driving back to the County Hospital without first searching for something to eat, but I simply wasn't quite hungry yet...I had a grand scheme at that hour thinking I might not GET hungry and, therefore, would not require said sustenance...but I was hopelessly wrong in judging my own ability to go without food for more than a few hours. LOL


After fighting over a half hour of city traffic just to travel 5 miles, I returned to my office/closet at the main hospital a bit frazzled and noticing a tinge of hunger panging away in my gut...this was NOT a good sign.


Still determined to override my innate need to feed, I sat down to begin my reams of paper work required to put the finishing touches on my previous assignment. By the time I had dotted my last "i", my stomach was in full swing, yelling at me, "Feed me, Seymour!" (A reference from "Little Shop Of Horrors" if that line was too subtle...LOL). The cafeteria would be closing in 15 minutes and I was already assigned my next case to remain on site...it was too late to roam and forage out in the "big" world.


I decided to try to bargain with my screaming digestive system, letting it know I would at least CHECK the cafeteria food line...if there was anything at all remotely edible in the main line, I would settle for an artery-clogging plate of hospital food. BUT, if nothing seemed flavorful, I would only order my tuna fish sandwich if SURLY SUE was NOT present...otherwise, I would simply have to go hungry for the night. This plan lasted all of about 10 minutes. LOL


I slipped into the cafeteria quietly and unseen, dodging the deli area, and headed for the main slop line...I wasn't disappointed...in the "slop", that is. Nothing appeared short of rendering me with a triple bypass, so I slunk around to the deli, holding my breath and praying SURLY SUE had a well-deserved day off. I peered over the counter and...there she was...the SS grump in all her glorious grumpiness! SURLY SUE never gets a day off.


By this time, my stomach was begging me to just accept whatever SS had to offer me, so I sheepishly got in line for my order...I carefully circled my FOUR items darkly and with intent: Wheat bread, tuna salad, Swiss cheese, and onion...nothing more, nothing less. I cautiously slipped my order into the bin to wait.


SS was gabbing with customers about cutting down her work hours to babysit her new grandchild..."There is a God!" I exclaimed to no one, but myself. SS seemed off kilter somehow...she was actually "jovial". Perhaps after weeks of getting my sandwich order WRONG, the gods were working in my favor, and SS would finally...I say finally...complete my simple sandwich order without flaw.


She picked up my order, still yakking at no one in particular, and headed for the sandwich counter to begin the complicated task of taking two slices of wheat bread out of a bag, dumping a handful of onions on it, slapping a slice of Swiss cheese on that, and adding a glop of tuna salad...and that is when it happened.


SURLY SUE suddenly looked upward toward the small stereo playing quietly above her head and bellowed, "SOMEONE has been messing with my music again and changed my CD!" All thoughts of a flawless tuna sandwich vanished...SS was now focused on who the culprit was who changed her tunes without permission!


She began rambling rapidly about "that boy" (who also works in the deli sometimes) and how bad he was and how he was WORSE than so-and-so...she was completely distracted and I was watching her every move. She took out the correct bread and violently cut it in half...then came the correct cheese, onions, and tuna salad. She passed over putting mustard on my sandwich (which is her typical move, in spite of me NEVER ordering mustard!), slapped the sandwich on a paper plate, and whirled around to call out my number...fully knowing I was the ONLY one waiting for a sandwich at this point.


"Here," she said, thrusting the sandwich in my general direction. "We ran out of pickles so this will have to do. Do you want chips or fruit?" (I had also clearly circled potato chips on my order.)


"Ruffles, please," I announced, but she had already returned to her stereo and was poking several buttons in an attempt to "turn off that God-awful music"...frankly, I hadn't found the music offensive, but SS would NOT be having a selection playing that was not her choice.


She immediately became engrossed in complaining to another customer how "that boy" is no help at all and how "he's so sneaky", all the while ignoring the fact she had yet to hand me my tiny bag of potato chips.


Knowing better than to distract her in full bitch mode, I stealthfully reached around the counter and, with a bit of a stretch, fished out my own bag of Ruffles...she never noticed.


I returned to the safety of my office/closet and sat down to admire my perfectly made tuna fish sandwich...it was flawless. So what if it hadn't exactly been made with the hands of love? I didn't really care and neither did my stomach...my perfect sandwich was back.


I wondered if I could PAY "that boy" to switch CD's again next week when I came down to the cafeteria to order my sandwich? It seemed to have distracted SURLY SUE enough to complete my order AS ordered! It was worth a try.


I made a mental note to self: Remember to tip "that boy" next time you see him...

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

I See Celebrities...

It is a well-known fact among my friends that I like to play a little game called, "I spy a celebrity"...I am often reporting in how I saw Barbara Bush, Madonna, James Brown, etc., at the corner store. Most everyone disregards my celebrity spotting as mere entertainment...and, the truth be known, I'm really NOT seeing these people, but folks who remind me of them in their dress or character. I mean, any old grey-haired woman with a nice dress and a string of pearls around her neck will suffice as a "Barbara Bush" sighting. LOL



Sooooo...the story I am about to tell you is true...I really DID run into a big screen celebrity this past week! Honest. It was him! And the fact this movie actor really DOES live in Seattle makes my story all the more plausible...seriously. And no...it was not the late Kurt Cobain or Courtney Love.




But let me tell my latest celebrity spotting with the drama it so deserves...




I was out on my "just kill me now" walk last week through the neighborhood and tiny urban village I reside in...I have mapped out a most excruciating walking course, down to Lake Washington and back up the hillside to my home. The entire walk is only about 2.6 miles, but the final .6 miles of the walk is STRAIGHT UP HILL...thus my "just kill me now" title for this walk.




I generally wear my MP3 player, a Seattle Seahawks cap, and my walking attire, which consists of any old ratty T-shirt and pants I can find that isn't molded in the hamper. The cap is to shield my balding head from the brief rays of sunlight that might infiltrate through the overhead cloud mass and potentially burn my precious scalp...it also serves as a screen for my eyes so I can look down and avoid making eye contact with anyone I run into (literally) on the sidewalk. LOL




I have found Seattle residents have very limited sidewalk etiquette and often do not move to the side of the walk when approached...if I am appearing to look down, they fear for their safety that this large, pasty-white woman might just mow them down unaware of their presence in my path. I like it that way...they tremble at the sight of me.




Sooooo, I'm walking in this fashion through the business area of Madrona, cap on, bee-bopping to my music, when I happen to look up and see two, inconsiderate males standing in the middle of my path about a half a block away. Little old ladies I will pause for...large men who should be more courteous, look out...I WILL run you over. And this was my strategy for these two obstacles ahead.




I put my head down and pick up my pace with the fierceness of a bull about to impale a matador and approached my target with the intensity only a fat, sweating and overly-hormonal female can do. Just as I am bearing down on my targets and about to bump one of the men off the side walk and into the street parallel the cement, I happen to look up...mostly just to be witness to the look of surprise these two unknowing gentlemen were about to have.




And just as I glance upward (probably smiling a bit too widely for the circumstance...I mean I am sweating AND I am exercising...LOL), one of the men happens to look in my direction. Seconds before a collision of roller derby proportions, this somewhat grey haired man says, "Oh! Excuse me!" and steps to the side of the walkway, but not before we lightly brush elbows.




And this is where I am suddenly aware I have nearly taken out Sheriff James Brock, of "Picket Fences"!!! Yep, it was the Tom Skerritt...movie star and evening drama performer. This guy:
I know I should have asked him for his autograph...this is the ONLY way some of you will believe my "brush with fame" story. But I didn't...I decided to simply stand there awe-struck and stammer out the words, "Oh, pardon ME!" This was the extent of my brilliance...a big ol' apology for not seeing HIM in my walking path. LOL



Could you imagine the headlines had I really MOWED him over?!? "Tom Skerritt is injured in freak accident by a deranged Seattlite" or "Seattlite Tom Skerritt is accidentally injured by a freak"...either way, I'm sure I would have been staring down the throat of some kind of celebrity lawsuit!




But don't worry though...you WILL be the first to know if I ever run into the the late Kurt Cobain up here...LOL...

Monday, June 25, 2007

Tag...I'm It?!?...

Y'all KNOW I'm not computer savvy enough to do these silly little "meme" things! Yet, alas...you challenge me so...

This "tag" comes from ZEE over at http://www.rathnait.net/blog/ ...it is important to blame HER, not me for the content...LOL

INSTRUCTIONS: Remove the blog in the top spot from the following list and bump everyone up one place. Then add your blog to the bottom slot, like so:

1) Classy
2) Meaning of Loaf/Cherry Ride (I got tagged twice-I feel SO popular!!!)
3) I'm Not Carrie Bradshaw
4) Behind Blue Eyes
5) BrainCheese

Select five people to tag:
1) http://azchick.blogspot.com/
2) http://mdmhvonpa.blogspot.com/
3) http://miss_suzy.typepad.com/my_weblog/
4) http://stevebjj.blogspot.com/
5) http://wordsalads.blogspot.com/

What were you doing 10 years ago?

Dealing with the sudden deaths of my parents 18 days apart from one another...and probably wondering what I'd be doing 10 years from THEN!

What were you doing 1 year ago?

Experiencing the wonders of IV steroids and Prednisone and wondering why I was gaining so much weight and my house looked sooooo clean.

Five snacks you enjoy:

1) Potato Chips...any kind...just potato chips!
2) Wisconsin Beef Sticks
3) Cherry Coke (only because it reminds me of being in college and drinking cherry vodka in coke!)
4) Any cake made by my coworker, Cora
5) Salted Nut Roll candy bar

Five songs that you know all the lyrics to:

1) "Bat Outta Hell" by Meatloaf
2) "Happy Birthday" by various artists
3) "50 Nifty United States" by God Knows Who (and I DO know all of the states in alphabetical order)
4) "Don't Try Suicide" by Queen
5) "Theme From Sponge Bob/Square Pants" by Sponge Bob and The Pirate of course!

Five things you would do if you were a millionaire:

1) Begin a campaign to impeach Bush
2) Pay off my mortgage...wait! A million won't cover it...I live in Seattle!
3) Buy myself a new printer (yeah right)
4) Buy new underwear every week and never do laundry
5) Call in sick a LOT more for work...because I could financially

Five bad habits:

1) Eating too much
2) Procrastinating laundry
3) Yelling at other drivers inside my car
4) Not following doctor's orders...habit or behavior? You decide...
5) Ironing my sheets (but I'm still PROUD I do this!)

Five things you like doing:

#1 through #5 above.

Five things you would never wear again:

1) Nurses cap
2) White shoes
3) White pantyhose
4) A chip on my shoulder
5) My heart on my sleeve

Five favorite toys:

1) Computer
2) Laser level
3) Digital Camera
4) MP3 player
5) Cat laser...I enjoy it as much as kitty does!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

"Gentlemen...Start Your Engines"...

The race is on...at least the one between my MS and my next NOVANTRONE dose, that is!

I apologize (I mean, I would if I had any ability to feel remorse) for my recent sporadic posting of late and my lack of responses to comments left here on CHEESE...I have been struggling a bit just to keep my head above the social/work/health waves that have been crashing against my life these days. My weekend has been spent simply GETTING READY for my next work week...not exactly a "fun time" had by all. LOL


I have been busily doing yard work, cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, paying bills, and washing dishes over the past two days...I've almost completed all of these tasks...just in time to START ALL OVER AGAIN tomorrow! I think I must be being punished for some horrible prank I played during my more energetic years...


And to add insult to injury, my legs have been consistently giving me fits for the past several days...my "high on life without MS" seems to be winding down and I will be turning back into a pumpkin at midnight...or at least turning back into a whining, pathetic MS sufferer anyway...my other persona. LOL


I DID try the Baclofen last night and I do think it helped me get through the night without waking up in pain/pins & needles as much...my throat unfortunately felt like someone had dumped a load of sand in it by morning and my head felt like I had been partying like it was 1999 (I know...cheap PRINCE reference...so be it). But...BUT...my legs didn't seem to ache as much throughout the day, so I shant complain too loudly about the poisonous drug. OK, yes I shall...LOL


On a much brighter note...at least if you can call being happy about getting infused with a toxic carpet dye early a "bright" occasion...Dr. She Who Will Not Be Named agreed to allow me access to my Novantrone elixir a few weeks earlier this time around because I am having a return of unwanted symptoms...er, a RETURN of MS, to the common folks. I am not necessarily having a relapse, per se, but more likely just a return of symptoms that were there BEFORE I had my flight into wellness from the Novantrone. Either way, I don't like them one bit and I prefer the invincible me over the whining me...I'm sure YOU do, too.


I go in this week to get my lab work done and my echocardiogram updated (still searching for my heart I imagine...it HAS been rumored to be in there somewhere...LOL) and then I'm scheduled for my 3rd Novantrone infusion on...you guessed it...FRIDAY THE 13TH!!!! Yes, I AM feeling lucky, thank you very much.


I am hoping to get caught up again on all of my daily blog reads soon. I am very certain those of you who write the blogs I read are having withdrawal from my stoopid comments! Who knows, I may even get back to replying to the comments left HERE on CHEESE as well...I've just grown tired and lazy I guess. No wait! I've just grown tired...I was lazy BEFORE this last dose of dregs from my MS.


Thanks also for the comments from you "experienced" Baclofen users...even though I have experience GIVING these type of drugs to patients, it is far different than TAKING them...and I trust the Physician's Desk Reference (PDR) almost as much as I trust our Federal government (Or are they one and the same?!? *insert evil laugh* Moohahahaha)...

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Pins & Needles And Other "Interesting" Sensations...

Before anyone sends me some kind of "concern" mail (or hate mail, as the case may be), I thought I had best throw up a short post (yes, that reference WAS intended as a puke joke!) and let you all know I remain alive and well...just very, very busy and feeling tired the past few days. My *flight into wellness* (as I call my post Novantrone infusion experience) appears to be landing at the airport again...I am hoping the plane will not remain grounded, however.

I have been incredibly busy with work these days, spending some overtime hours there that I don't particularly WANT to do, but must to complete my cases...and on top of that, my personal dance card has had spotty events splattered upon it, making my hours away from work seem just as hectic.


But the worst of my whines and complaints seem to be coming from my inability to get a good night's sleep because of a recurring "pins and needles" sensation in the bottoms of my feet and sides of my ankles...yep, the ol' MS is acting up again...and at the worst possible time of my day. WHEN I'M TRYING TO SLEEP!!!


I started out two weeks ago having a deep nerve pain in my right leg...that kind of bone-clenching pain that only one with MS can speak to as a bona fide "club member"...if you've ever had this type of nerve pain, I probably don't need to say much more...we can whisper and nod our heads at each other in agreement. LOL


This nerve pain gradually transformed itself into painful sensations in my feet and ankles...not too bad...but just bad enough to be ANNOYING (again, YOU know the kind. LOL) and to seemingly worsen whenever I tried to lay down to sleep...consequently, my sleep has been quite disturbed which, as we all know, makes ME CRABBY!!!


I emailed Dr. She Who Will Not Be Named and she decided the one drug I hate the most should be the one drug I try...Neurontin. As some of you "seasoned" Cheese readers know, I have fondly referred to this drug in the past as "MORONTIN" or "NEUROTTEN"...it tends to make me feel dumber than a cob, so I'm a low dose taker if I have to take any at all.


At 900mg of *Morontin*, I have reached my maximum capacity of mental tolerance of the drug and, unfortunately, this dose did not seem to affect my pins and needles sensations much at all...so the emails flew again. Now Dr. SWWNBN wants me to try a drug called *Baclofen* with the "Neurotten", which I have never taken before and I'm not too sure I want to (anybody else been on this drug? Care to share your experiences and/or words of wisdom so I have SOMETHING to base my neurosis or compliance on?!?). Of course, one of the drug's side effects is sedation, so being knocked out (versus knocked up) doesn't sound too bad to me. LOL


So, I'm off to try to lie down and see what interesting leg jumping I can do tonight...I swear there is a small troll at the end of my bed randomly poking a needle in the bottom of my feet...but given the type of work I do in mental health, I have to be a bit cautious who I DISCLOSE that idea to! Unless I want to find myself on some "other" kind of medications with "interesting" side effects...LOL


How's YOUR MS today? Let's have some more "whine" with this Cheese...LOL...

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Princess O' Darkness Turns 1 Today...

Yep...Devil Kitty has survived her first year with me and I...well, I have aged at least TEN years having her! And I used to think dog/cat years added more time to the animal's domestic age, but I was wrong. It is their HUMAN handler who ages dramatically. LOL

The POD (Princess of Darkness) as you may recall, slipped quietly into my home last year in August after a well-meaning (at least I thought she was well-meaning at the time!) coworker convinced me to adopt a cat. NBF, my coworker (which IS what I call her, Steve! Just to clarify the secretive initials...LOL), does foster home care for the local animal shelter and she takes in cats of all ages. Last year in the summer, she had a mother and 4 kittens.


The POD wasn't necessarily the kitten NBF initially thought I should adopt. And, looking back now, I SHOULD have taken NBF's suggestion and adopted the fluffy, little rambunctious girl of the litter. But no...instead, I chose what I thought was the "touched" runt kitten...the "tard" as I fondly referred to her at the time. The quiet, little runt who didn't seem to know how to play and kept getting beaten up by her siblings...I wanted a rescue kitten after all. Not some kitty EVERYONE would jump at the chance to take home!


After only a few weeks in my home, the POD seemed to not only recuperate and come out of her "shell", but she decided I was to be under HER rule. The mental retardation ACT was discarded and, after weeks of being bullied by brute siblings, it was the POD's turn to bully someone...and since I was her only contact, she chose me. And, sadly, she has RULED my home ever since!


Since the mother and the litter were found in a ditch in Yakima, WA, on the other side of the mountains, there was no exact birth date known. The vet estimated their ages at the time and I randomly chose June 21st as the POD's honorary birthday...it IS important to have one of these...a day to celebrate one's birth with dignity and honor...the POD has already let me know there will be nothing short of a GRAND celebration in her honor today...even if she has to kill me to get it!


So, I must head soon to the CAT MECCA known as Mudbay Co. and spend every last hard-earned cent I have on cat toys, treats, and "spoiler" items to enchant and entertain the POD...lest she decide I am no longer worthy of being ignored and/or attacked by her. I am fearful for my safety should I disappoint the Spawn of Satan...LOL...


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

What's YOUR stage name?...

Every now and then, I get an email from some website I have registered with trying to remind me of this sale or that event or some other trivial crap I care nothing about. These emails always bring me great delight however...because they are addressed to ANGELINA BEAVERMARTIN (pronounced "Angel eye na")!!!

Yep, that's my "stage name"...it is a rare occasion I give out my BIRTH name on the Internet (unless forced to in connection with a credit card and billing address). There simply doesn't appear to be a great NEED on my part for thousands of companies to have my real name and date of birth...particularly when they DEMAND it from me just to get some tiny morsel of information from their websites! Let's face it...my own SISTER has to mail me packages to my POST OFFICE MAIL BOX...even family could not find me easily!


The "other" great name I like to use when not caring or simply not wanting strangers or foe to have any identifying information about me is, "Trixie Thayer". THAT particular name came from an old game played as a teenager and now YOU get to play it, too!


The game goes like this: What would your STAGE NAME (or hooker name...however you'd like to think of yourself! LOL) be if you took the name of your first pet and combined it with the name of the first street you ever lived on or can recall (numbered streets don't count, so pick one with a name!)? For instance, my first pet was named "Trixie" and the first street name I lived on was "Thayer Avenue"...hence the name, "Trixie Thayer". Now YOU try it...Go ahead...do it now!


Oh, and please entertain ALL of us by leaving your stage name in the comments...LOL...

Monday, June 18, 2007

On Top Of The World...

Every once in a while, I have one of those days where EVERYTHING is sharp and clear in my mind and my senses...today was one of those days. I look around me and all I can see is the world unfolding itself like a wonderful flower and I feel on top of the world!

I don't know if it's a hormonal shift (because God knows, when the "mones" rage, the world can look pretty grim), a good night's sleep, the weather, or Mercury NOT running retrograde...whatever the cause, I absolutely LOVE this kind of day. Yes, it's true...I did NOT have to go to work today (scheduled day off). LOL But even on days off, I often don't have this "in tune" sensation...and even days at work, I sometimes GET it...go figure!


Colors appear brighter to me...smells seem more aromatic...I have enough energy and little fatigue...and the world just looks and feels like a wonderful place to be. Someone jokingly suggested perhaps it is a brain tumor or seizure disorder. LOL Always a cynic in the crowd...


On days like today, I am acutely reminded and aware of the many blessings that surround my life in spite of having Multiple Sclerosis. Good friends, good weather, a nice home, the ability to walk, a good job, running water...the list goes on and on. Problems that I turn over and over in my head on other days seem trivial and finding answers and peace become the "norm". I have had a much needed peaceful and relaxing day, in spite of myself. LOL


What I have come to KNOW and understand in my 42 (almost 43, but who's counting after 40?!?) years on this earth is this: Neither peace nor strife will last forever in my life and I must seize (there's that "seizure disorder" again) the moments of peace and run with them until I can run no more. Or, in the words I once read on an overpass in Spanaway, Washington, while driving home from a most excellent day at Mount Rainier..."Ride It Like You Stole It".


So today, I'm riding this "top of the world" feeling like I stole it...because tomorrow, I could be arrested for theft...LOL...

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Like It Or Not, We've ALL Had One...

Today is FATHER'S DAY in the United States...and I have debated a great deal in my mind whether or not to simply let this day slide by or make mention of it here on BrainCheese. It appears I am "making mention". LOL

If you've followed my writing (does anything I post here REALLY qualify as that? Writing?!?) for a while now, you've probably noticed I will make several references to my mother, but rarely do I speak of my father. I DID have one...a father, that is. Just in case any of you were wondering!


My relationship with my father was best described as "strained" while growing up and throughout my adult life. Looking back through the lenses of adult eyes (and also via my understanding of the psyche through my work), I imagine my father most likely suffered from a disease called Paranoid Personality Disorder...and THAT is painting his persona with soft, pastel colors of remembrance.


I have struggled much of my life in coming to terms with my relationship with my father...there is only so much "paint" one can spray on something that is rotted before the wear and tear of the structure bleeds through the paint and ugly streaks of brown resurface. But, there ARE places in this relationship where the wood is neither worn nor rotted...and it is in THOSE fine-grained spots I choose to recall my father on Father's Day.


My father was a painter (hence the somewhat bizarre references to the trade...LOL) his entire life. By the age of 9, I was out painting every summer with him and/or his crew. He was a perfectionist in the harshest of ways and he taught me the skill and art of house painting with precision. As he aged and no longer was able to hold a steady brush in his hands, I was called upon to do the detailed work for his customers. After a while, these customers would REQUEST me to return every few years to cut in their windows, ceilings, baseboards, cabinets, etc., as they put a new coat of paint on their homes to "freshen" it up. I believe on some level, my father was proud of my abilities AND the fact he taught me so well.


My father had always wanted a boy...I assume this is some male genetic flaw ALL men have when it comes to procreation. LOL To create a being in the likeness of their own image. But after delivering two older GIRLS, he had to settle with the notion his third female child would just "have to do" and he proceeded to attempt to teach me many of the things a young son might find great interest in...like basketball, fishing, building tree houses, etc. He used to introduce me to people as "the only son I ever had".


There are many things I remember somewhat fondly associated with my father. He bought me my first bicycle after I whined incessantly at the age of 6 about not having a bike of my own like my sisters did...mind you, I had YET to learn to ride a bike!


One day, he announced to me, if I could ride a bicycle by the time he returned home from work that day, he would buy me ANY bike I wanted. I have never been one to back down from a challenge (even at the age of 6...go figure!), so I borrowed my sister's bike and proceeded to fall off it repeatedly in the grass until I could sit upright and peddle without crashing around the driveway. In 7 hours, I was riding steadily around the driveway as my father pulled up from his day of work...the next week, I was the proud owner of a Huffy Sportsman Three Speed bicycle! He did not go back on his word, even though I still believe he thought he had made a sure bet.


My father took me out with my uncle and male cousin yearly to hunt frogs in the dark of the night (you catch them by shining a light in their eyes that blinds the frog...then you grab 'em. Ever done THAT before?!?). It was on one of these expeditions, I fell into a well in a pasture (thus my fear of snakes to this day!) in the dark of the night. Fortunately, my uncle saw me "disappear" from the horizon and they were able to make a human chain to pull me out!


It was with my father I learned to hunt Morel Mushrooms in the spring of each year...I learned to shoot free throws with high percentages...I learned to use and to respectfully fear power tools...I learned not to be afraid of heights...I learned to bat a softball or baseball and hit home runs...I learned the secrets behind "Snipe Hunting" (that horrible trick played upon the unsuspected in looking for a bird called a "snipe" that doesn't exist)...I learned how to build a tree house...I learned to change the oil on my own car...


It was also from my father I learned the painful lesson of letting someone go without closure or good-byes...about letting go of years of accumulated anger and angst...about accepting someone, in spite of their faults and failures...about making peace with a life I could never understand and to this day, acknowledge I probably never will.


HAPPY FATHER'S DAY TO ALL YOU DADDY-TYPES OUT THERE...and may your children hold the wisdom of the great poet/writer, Anne Sexton, when she said,
"It doesn't matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was."

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Tagged?!?…OK, Maybe…

So, HAVE MYELIN/SHERRY left a comment in another post asking me what my phobias are…she even had the guts to say, “You’ve been tagged!”

Since I am not one to back down from a challenge (even if it WAS a sneaky one!), I decided I would answer her question/tag in a post. But, I am also not one who can just give “simple” explanations/responses…as most of you may have already guessed (or become quite annoyed by)! AND, since the word “phobia” is right up my…er…ALLEY of career practice, I have decided it is HAVE MYELIN’S fault you all must endure this lengthy and extremely BORING bombast…hehe…blame HER, not me. LOL

The word “phobia” is one of those psychological terms that gets thrown around in our speech like a football toss at a park…it is often misused and misunderstood (but don’t worry…I DO have one or two pure “phobias”, which I will list later!). Psychologically speaking, the accepted clinical definition of a “phobia” (per the psychiatric Bible, the DSM IV-Revised) is:

An
anxiety disorder or symptom characterized by avoidance of a situation out of fear or out of anticipation that anxiety would accompany exposure.

There are certain clinical criteria one must meet before a “phobia” can be considered a full-blown disorder. In other words, one may have a “phobia”, but it is not necessarily a dysfunction until said “phobia” causes a profound disturbance in someone’s ability to function normally (and that word “normal” is used rather loosely here also! LOL). Here is a list of the DSM IV-Revised criteria in order for a specific “phobia” (which is classified as an Anxiety Disorder) to become a clinical diagnosis:

Diagnostic criteria for 300.29 Specific Phobia (
cautionary statement)

A. Marked and persistent fear that is excessive or unreasonable, cued by the presence or anticipation of a specific object or situation (e.g., flying, heights, animals, receiving an injection, seeing blood).


B. Exposure to the phobic stimulus almost invariably provokes an immediate anxiety response, which may take the form of a situationally bound or situationally predisposed
Panic Attack.


C. The person recognizes that the fear is excessive or unreasonable.


D. The phobic situation(s) is avoided or else is endured with intense anxiety or distress.


E. The avoidance, anxious anticipation, or distress in the feared situation(s) interferes significantly with the person's normal routine, occupational (or academic) functioning, or social activities or relationships, or there is marked distress about having the phobia.


F. In individuals under age 18 years, the duration is at least 6 months.


G. The anxiety, Panic Attacks, or phobic avoidance associated with the specific object or situation are not better accounted for by another mental disorder, such as Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (e.g., fear of dirt in someone with an obsession about contamination), Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (e.g., avoidance of stimuli associated with a severe stressor), Separation Anxiety Disorder (e.g., avoidance of school), Social Phobia (e.g., avoidance of social situations because of fear of embarrassment), Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia, or Agoraphobia Without History of Panic Disorder.


Specify type:


Animal Type

Natural Environment Type (e.g., heights, storms, water)

Blood-Injection-Injury Type Situational Type (e.g., airplanes, elevators, enclosed places)

Other Type (e.g., phobic avoidance of situations that may lead to choking, vomiting, or contracting an illness; in children, avoidance of loud sounds or costumed characters)

So, there’s your over-achieving answer as to what a true “phobia” is when it becomes a SPECIFIC PHOBIA that is DYSFUNCTIONAL and/or requiring treatment or intervention…I’m sure you’ve already learned more than you ever anticipated here. LOL


Now here is my answer to HAVE MYELIN’S subtle tag regarding this issue…YES, I DO have some specific phobias! There…my secret is out (like most of you couldn’t have already guessed I’m a nut case on your own?!?).


My first and probably most anxiety-producing phobia is a fear of driving over/walking over/traveling over bridges that have water under them. I seem to have no problems passing over bridges that span land…it’s just the water part underneath! When I lived in Houston, I used to travel to New Orleans at least once or twice a year for pleasure/vacation (escaping the law…whatever!). I don’t know how many of you have ever attempted to travel from the East Bank of the Mississippi River to the West (or visa versa), but there is an ENORMOUS and GIGANTIC bridge that spans the mouth of this river (see photo). I used to have to lay down in the back seat of the car while friends drove me across, feeling my heart beat pounding in my head, just to escape trying to SWIM across the river to get to the other side! LOL


Which brings me to my next phobia…drowning/suffocation. The thought is fairly terrifying for me. And the suffocation aspect doesn’t have to be in water either…ever think about suffocating from smoke in a fire?!? Well, this certainly keeps me from playing with matches…LOL


My third phobia (and I have a very good explanation for this one, thank you very much) is a highly dysfunctional fear of large dogs. Chihuahuas…no fear. “Doxies” (just for YOU, SHERRY)…no fear. Great Danes, Labs, Mastiffs, and anything really higher than my knees…GET THEM THE HELL AWAY FROM ME!!! (And that would be YOUR hounds from hell, too, MDMHVONPA!) When I was but a wee lass growing up in my Midwestern village, my piano teacher had a Boxer named (of all bizarre things), Raisin. Raisin seemed to hate me for no good reason…personally, I think Raisin thought I was easy prey since I was only about 4 ½ feet tall at the time! One day, while walking home from school past my piano teacher's house, Raisin caught my scent in the air, jumped her fence, and proceeded to attempt to maul and drag me into a ditch. To this very day, I angrily CHEW RAISINS with revengeful thoughts…ah, that would be the shriveled grape kind, of course.


SO…there you have it. My self-disclosure of the only three phobias I can think of that I personally harbor. What are YOUR phobias? CONSIDER YOURSELVES…TAGGED! (In the comment section here if you don’t write your own blog)…

Friday, June 15, 2007

He's Got My Back...

Every 7 weeks, I have the distinct pleasure of working with one of my favorite coworkers...ROJOO, Poet Extraordinaire! Today was that special day.

I don't talk much about my job (or maybe I say TOO much?!?), but I do often reference the camaraderie of my work place and the peeps I call my extended family...my coworkers. I LOVE these guys...and we ARE like one big, happy, dysfunctional family. LOL


Our job takes us out into the community and into the streets, often pounding on patient's doors and never knowing what might await us behind said door. We DO travel in pairs when doing crisis outreach, but we are armed with only our quick wit and sensibilities...and we are "disturbing" quite often some very DISTURBED individuals...the kind of folks the police draw weapons on just to approach. Sometimes we take police with us, but generally not.


ROJOO (who I just found out this evening doesn't really LIKE that nick name...so I will use it through eternity!) stands at 6 foot something...I barely clear 5'5"...we are a motley pair at best! He is calm and inviting and I am...well, I am directive and sometimes confrontive. It seems to work out somehow, however...LOL


ROJOO and I drove around the country side of our county this afternoon and evening (yes, STEVE...we DID drive through Covington and even stopped at one of the hundred STARBUTTS there...LOL). ROJOO let's me ramble incessantly about nothing and everything...I love a good man who can tune in and out of my chatter. He occasionally added his 2 cents worth when he could get a word in edge-wise (as my mother would say). We had a productive and entertaining shift together.


There was one particular outreach we approached (without going into details to avoid lawsuit or HIPAA violations...LOL) where a gentleman of ROJOO'S stature flew unexpectedly out of his doorway and, at first sight, appeared rather menacing. I was taken a bit by surprise as the patient focused intently on me initially. Under certain circumstances, I might have felt very intimidated and/or frightened...but not this time...I knew ROJOO had my back!


The situation de-escalated quite quickly and was resolved without incident...we returned to our office around 9:30PM to complete our reams of paperwork required for our job. It was a very good evening at work and I left feeling "helpful" and happy...I know this was greatly influenced by my friend and coworker and I head to bed now feeling blessed and content. All is well in my world...


(ROJOO...we talked about what I would post today...it just "came to me"...LOL)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Ummm Hummm...Remember THIS?!? (Note photo)...

Well, Humphf! And all y'all mocked me so when I burned my hand with that over the counter product (which shall remain nameless as I enjoy NOT being sued!) earlier this Winter! (Click on this link to read the original BrainCheese post on AOL regarding my idiotic self treatment: http://journals.aol.com/baitulos/BrainCheese/entries/2007/01/31/i-really-wasnt-kidding.../728 ) It seems these topical analgesics/sports creams can do more than BURN you!

Here's a snippet of the news this past week and what I am talking about:



Medical examiner: Sports cream caused teen's death


NEW YORK (AP) -- A medical examiner blamed a 17-year-old track star's death on the use of too much muscle cream, the kind used to soothe aching legs after exercise.


Arielle Newman, a cross-country runner at Notre Dame Academy on Staten Island, died after her body absorbed high levels of methyl salicylate, an anti-inflammatory found in sports creams such as Bengay and Icy Hot, the New York City medical examiner said Friday.


The medical examiner's spokeswoman, Ellen Borakove, said the teen used "topical medication to excess." She said it was the first time that her office had reported a death from using a sports cream.


Newman, who garnered numerous track awards, died April 13. She had gone to a party the night before, then returned home and spent hours talking with her mother.


Methyl salicylate poisoning is unusual, and deaths from high levels of the chemical are rare.
"Chronic use is more dangerous than one-time use," Edward Arsura, chairman of medicine at Richmond University Medical Center, told the Staten Island Advance on Friday. "Exercise and heat can accentuate absorption."


Dr. Ronald Grelsamer, of Mount Sinai Medical Center, said Newman had a very abnormal amount of methyl salicylate in her body.


"She either lathered herself with it, or used way too much, or she used a normal amount and an abnormal percentage was absorbed into her body," he said.


Her mother, Alice Newman, said she still couldn't believe her daughter's death was caused by a sports cream.


"I am scrupulous about my children's health," she told the Advance. "I did not think an over-the-counter product could be unsafe."


Guess I got off EASY with just a V-shaped burn in my left hand...and of course, I scar I must explain in humility for the rest of my life! LOL...

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

I May Be Cheap, But I'm Not Free...

I have "issues" around money...yes, I do. I mean, for God's sake, I disclosed in a blog last month that I IRON bills when I am saving them so they will fit flat and nicely in an envelope! If that's not an "issue", I don't know what is...LOL

My "issues" about money surely stem from growing up a poor share cropper's daughter...OK, maybe I wasn't a share cropper's daughter, but I DID grow up PWT (poor white trash). We never had a lot of money in our family (and still don't), but we always had the necessities. Nothing extravagant, but basic needs taken care of.


That's why I think it is sooooo difficult for me to spend money on myself in my adulthood. Now don't get me wrong here...I think I am (and I think my friend's would back this statement...or at least you'd BETTER back it! LOL) a very generous person. I don't seem to have any difficulty spending money on OTHER people. I delight in giving gifts or paying for something I think someone else might struggle to afford...it IS just money, after all.


But when it comes to buying MYSELF things (like underwear, clothes, "toys", etc.), I balk...I have convulsions...I become....C-H-E-A-P! Take for instance the current state of my beloved computer printer...


I have had the same printer for almost 10 years...it's been reliable and faithful...I LOVE my computer printer! But lately, I have had to nurse it along, manually feeding paper into it, resetting it, cleaning up after it...after much struggle, I can finally admit my printer has spewed its last ink. But will I go buy another one? Nooooooooooo...because I'm cheap.


There is simply no rationalizing with me about this...I KNOW a new printer can be found for less than a hundred dollars...it's not the money really. It's the idea THIS printer should continue working and I don't really NEED a new printer, do I?!? And here's the pisser to my "cheapdom"...if someone were to GIVE me a new printer, I'd probably give it away to someone ELSE I thought needed it more!!!


So, I'm trying to bite the bullet here to work on this "issue"...I'm trying to figure out what this "core idea" is all about. The best answer I can come up with is that I am CHEAP! In the worst way, too...I short change myself thinking I either "can't afford" (which is really WON'T afford) or don't deserve certain things I think of as luxury.


All I can say is, thank God I don't think of FOOD as a luxury! CHEAP goes out the window when it comes to eating...LOL...

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Press From Across The Pond...And A Few Other "Important" Pieces Of Information...

I just finished reading Sara/Garnet's Adventures blog ( http://garnetslifeadventures.blogspot.com/ ) from across the Atlantic, and she has posted a little tidbit about Saint EB's BIKACIDE ride (thanks, Sara!). I immediately sent an email to Saint EB to let her know the "Brits" may be getting in on the betting...I mean the DONATING toward her ride (but seriously...for all you gambling type folks...I really AM putting my money on my "rider" in spite of her recent crash and hyperventilation over the hills!). Oh, the wonders of the Internet...

The more depressing, yet highly "titillating" news of my life has been the Yo-Yo weight effect I have been experiencing since beginning the "training" process for Saint EB's BIKACIDE. Yes, I have not been entirely truthful with you, loyal Cheese reader...I managed to LOSE NINE POUNDS over the course of the past 3 weeks of exhaustive walking/exercising. Say WHOOT?!?


Yes, I have been secretly harboring a self-indulging goal of trying to LOSE THE MASSIVE STEROID WEIGHT GAIN I managed to accumulate in the past 3-4 years...like about 25 pounds worth! Since I have been feeling sooooo good physically from the Novantrone, I decided I had no more excuses to carry around this enormous "steroid pregnancy" I have been toting in my gut. And I "neglected" to say anything here on BrainCheese (OK...that's a lie...I deliberately WITHHELD this information!) because I wanted to have an out should I fail.


But now I must confess...a double confession really. I DID lose 9 pounds since late May...and I felt really GOOD about that. Unfortunately, the SLACKING FAIRY sprinkled carbohydrate crumbs on my forehead in my sleep over the weekend, and I...well...I indulged on things like Fish 'N Chips, pop, and an assortment of other CRAP items! So, I have now GAINED 2 pounds of my hard-earned loss back...*sob*


Since "DOWNSIZE ME" was such a personal success (and ONLY because I disclosed the idea on this blog to keep me HONEST for 28 days!), I have decided to let all y'all in on my little secret...and of course, I will need your support (and punishment) to make my goal by the time of the MS150 ride. No, I'm STILL not stupid enough to sign up to ride in the BIKACIDE...but I DO have plans to "birth" this steroid weight out of me by the first week of September!


Off I go now to fix another dayumed salad for lunch (rabbit food), do my hand weights, and try to get ready for work BEFORE I actually need to be there today (unlike yesterday's alarm mishap)...*mumble, mumble, gripe, gripe*...

Monday, June 11, 2007

A Reason Not To Work The Day Shift...

I HATE waking up to the sound of an alarm clock bleeping/buzzing/ringing/vibrating...just one of the MANY reasons I can list as why I do not and have not worked the "day shift" full time in my past 21 years of experience! Unfortunately, in my current job, there are many times when reporting to work or to court at 8:00AM is necessary (a necessary EVIL, if you ask me!).

Today was one of those days...I was scheduled to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed by 9:00AM. Generally speaking, at 9:00AM, I am neither...mostly blurry-eyed and bushy-headed (bedhead). LOL


At any rate, I set my hateful alarm clock last night for Dawn's crack and proceeded to have great difficulty falling asleep...this is NOT unusual. My typical bedtime is anywhere from midnight to 3:00AM, so trying to force myself to sleep by 10:00PM just usually isn't in the cards. I am like a kid being put down for a nap...there's a lot of gnashing of teeth, begging for glasses of water, and generalized mayhem in my bedroom.


Almost always when I have to "force" sleep upon myself and know I have to get up at some ungodly hour when the rest of the world is percolating their coffee, I will wake up numerous times ALL NIGHT LONG and stare at the clock...I am always certain it must be time to get up or I have somehow overslept (and this IS typical for anyone who works evenings...just ask them). And somewhere around about an hour or so before I HAVE to get up (because I've already prematurely awakened), I am lulled back to sleep...a deep and restful sleep...only to be blasted out of bed by my alarm clock.


This morning was really no different, except I did manage to sleep somehow throughout most of the night (could it be all of the EXERCISE I have been doing when I am awake?!?) and I did NOT wake up at my typical hour before the alarm. Instead, I was jolted from a deep and dreamy sleep by the distant sound of what I thought must be a dump truck backing up.


In my fog, I realized it was the GD alarm clock...and in my fog, I also thought I had somehow mistakenly set the dayumed thing! I hit the clock with full force and "shut 'er down", falling back into my deep, relaxing sleep.


About 8:00AM (and 30 minutes before my bus would pass by my house), I suddenly awoke and remembered I had to go to work today! Forgetting my everyday routine of bed ballet to WALK from my lounging mattress to the bathroom, I stumbled out from the warmth of my covers and fell into my "john"...literally. I cranked on the shower, dove in, and proceeded to take the quickest bath I have ever performed...NASCAR could not have performed a tire change this quickly.


I threw food in the feisty feline's bowl, grabbed clothes I wouldn't need to iron, and flew out my door to stand and wait for the Metro bus...I managed to get to work 10 minutes early, snarf down some milk and a coffee cake chunk from Bartell's for breakfast, and tried to be "cheerful" throughout the day...I think everyone already knew the "cheeriness" was an act. LOL


I got home this evening and realized I had one black and one blue sock on...my personal "flag" for the day. I don't think that's too bad of a fashion "fox paw" considering I also had my shirt on backwards when I got to the bus and had to discreetly turn it around without the other bus patrons noticing! LOL
Or DID they?!?...

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Near Death Experiences...

Today, Saint EB and I took the drive north of Seattle to travel in the car along the MS150 route so she could see first hand exactly what FRESH HELL she has gotten herself into...I believe she may have gone into hiding since we've returned this evening and I may never hear from her again...or at least not until after September 10th! LOL

We had a nice day today in spite of ourselves...the drive to LaConner was peaceful and we ate at a quaint cafe near the water. Then, we proceeded to drive the "death route", taking the first 50 miles of the Day One map of the ride and then the second. Somewhere along the way I thought I might have to administer CPR to my suffering friend as she repeatedly exclaimed, "Oh God! Not another hill!" and seemed to hyperventilate.


Interestingly enough, Dr. She Who Will Not Be Named had convinced Saint EB there were "only" 6 hills on the route of the first day...we counted 25 and then just quit counting...the math grew too great for me to record on my fingers and toes. The second day of the ride proved to be a much flatter terrain and Saint EB's heart rate decreased by about 20 beats per minute. We also began to scope out "cheat" points on the map, otherwise known as "places I could pick you up without anyone being the wiser" spots.


By the time we had completed the full two day tour, my arse was exhausted from SITTING the 100 miles in the car...I can't imagine what one's behind would feel like riding on a bicycle that far! And frankly, I don't WANT to imagine it...which is why I am the designated "cheerleader" for the team...LOL


Saint EB seemed to be walking and talking just fine in spite of her "crash" yesterday AND her scraped shoulder and pulled groin...I, on the other hand, whined that my butt hurt and my calves were too tight...It's all a matter of perspective I suppose. LOL


After several email exchanges yesterday, it appears EB was not the ONLY one who suffered biking mishaps on the ride...I later found out Dr. SWWNBN had also taken a tumble and conked her head. Great...just what I need...a neurologist with a HEAD INJURY!


Since I don't have time to visit either one of them in a skilled nursing rehab facility, I can only hope they BOTH have the common sense to take care of themselves and try to heal from their injuries...I don't think I have to worry too much about Saint EB regarding this matter. She is most likely changing her phone and address as I type and making plans for her early retirement...either that or she is still lying down and having flash backs of all of those hills she has yet to ride...LOL...

Saturday, June 09, 2007

The Road To Hell...

The whole idea began fairly innocently...Saint EB said, "I wanna ride in the MS150 in your honor." I said, "Wow! Coolio!" But as the training process has begun to unfold, I'm no longer sure which one of us lost their friggin' mind first about this idea...

Soaked in a monsoon-type rain, dripping water, shivering, and with a bleeding shoulder, Saint EB appeared in the haze of a grey, Seattle morning. She had just done her first "tour" with Dr. She Who Will Not Be Named and the MS150 team...I got a phone call from her cell earlier, saying she was on her way back to the designated parking area where the team had started out their "ride around Lake Washington" at 7:30AM (which, by the way, IS a 75 mile trip!). She had turned back at one of the legs of the tour, after crashing into a wall...but not before hopping back on her bike and traveling another 5 or so miles!


"What in the h-e-double L toothpicks did she DO to you?!?" I practically yelled on the street when I saw my wounded hero wheeling her bicycle toward me...I had already made up my mind this was the good doctor's fault and the wrath of my fury would be bestowed upon Dr. SWWNBN.


Saint EB downplayed the whole event (this is how it is in MY mind, anyway), saying the "boys" and the good doctor were being "held behind" because she was too slow for them, so she LIED to Dr. SWWNBN (why NOT, I suppose? I've done the same...LOL) and said she was too tired to continue...she proceeded to ride behind them without their knowing to the next destination, then turned around and headed back. Somewhere on the trail before this, however, she managed to crash into a wall, scraping her shoulder, which was bleeding.


Now, I'm not exactly certain why I feel RESPONSIBLE for this trauma, but I do...my fierce mother bear comes out when I think one of my "cubs" has been wrongly wounded. I was ready to smack Dr. SWWNBN (even though I know it really wasn't her fault...I just have fantasies of "smacking" her...LOL) or, at the very least, challenge her to a round of Indian Leg Wrestling (she's a tiny woman and I KNOW I could take her!).


I loaded up my bleeding and tired warrior (AKA, my "rider") into my car and drove her back to where her car was parked. I thought for sure Saint EB would tell me she was through with this fiasco and we'd just continue to "train" this summer, but maybe for the "Special Olympics" instead. This was not the case...


As we stood in the rain transferring the bike to her car, Saint EB asked if we were "still on" for our drive tomorrow? "Huh?" was all I could say.
She was talking about the drive we had planned last week to go north of Seattle where the MS150 is going to be held...we had planned to drive the "route" so she could get an idea of the hills that would be involved.


I stammered, not sure of my response. Surely Saint EB had also received a concussion from her "crash" and Dr. SWWNBN had missed this on her roadside exam (she's just a neurologist after all...not a "real" doctor!)...


"You still want to go?" I asked in disbelief. I was starting to think Saint EB had quite possibly fallen into shock and I would be needing to rush her to the nearest emergency room.


"Well, yeeeaaah," she says, like I was the one with the head injury. "It might be raining, but we'll still have a good drive." And with that said, she hopped in her car with the spring of a 20-something rider and drove off.


I think it was my mother who used to say, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions"...I think the road to "heaven" (or substitute whatever afterlife/karma/place we go when we die) must be paved with the likes of people like Saint EB...