I’ve Been Labeled…

Today I had to have blood work done…again.  No biggie, my veins are used to it.  However, today I noticed something quite disturbing on my orders.  On the top of the page, in bold lettering, marked with asterisks, was the following:

***High risk of falling***

Great, my secret is out.

I blame the hospital for this.  See, I had to be hospitalized for a few days back in September, and while I was being admitted into a room, the nurse was asking a ridiculous amount of questions, one of which was “Have you felt dizzy?”

Well, of course I had.  My vision was blurry and my left leg just wasn’t cooperating with the rest of my body.  You try walking normal feeling like Mr. Magoo in a leg sling, without being dizzy.

After admitting that yes, I do feel dizzy, the nurse says,”Well, my friend, that makes you a fall risk.”  He then proceeds to give me 2 things:

1.  This lovely bright yellow hospital bracelet, complete with the words “Fall Risk” boldly printed on it.

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As he fashions this new accessory to my wrist, a sudden thought hit me.

Oh, dear God…  It’s official.

I have a Spaz Tag.

That’s right, people.  Read ’em and weep.  I have a SPAZ TAG!!!  You think you’re clumsy?  Got proof of that?  I do!

Bow down to the Queen of Spaz!

2.  Along with my lovely bracelet, I was also given these nice, warm socks.

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Aren’t they cute?  See the pretty yellow?  Doesn’t that just make you think of sunshine?  No, I instantly thought of Big Bird.  And caution signs.

Just take a minute to look at these things.  Know what I first noticed?  That they have rubber nubs (can I say ‘nubs’?) on both sides of the socks.  Both sides!  Why would you possibly need traction on the top of your feet?  If you are falling because of the top of your feet, I think you need more than just a Spaz Tag.

How does one do that, anyway?

This all struck me as quite funny, and I couldn’t help but laugh.  The nurse probably thought I was crazy.  He would soon get used to my sense of humor.

One night, while taking vitals at 3am, he tells me, “Your temp is 94.5, and your blood pressure is 75 over 41.”  Even half asleep, I realized that these numbers seemed a tad low.  So, I asked the obvious question…”Seriously?  Am I dead?”

He laughed, I laughed.  Was the situation funny?  Absolutely not!  I hated being in the hospital, having people come in at all hours of the night and day, just to violate me.  I hated that my sweet little boys were scared and wanted their mommy.  I hated that my husband was camped out at the hospital, sleeping on a fold out couch.

But I laughed regardless.  Because sometimes, you have to choose to laugh or cry.  I choose to laugh.  Life is too short; my time is too precious.  God gave me a sense of humor, and no matter how corny it may be, I choose to use it to make serious situations less serious.

So, even if you’re labeled as a “Spaz,” just laugh it off.  Find the positive of your situation, because regardless of how dim it may be, there is some light somewhere.  And, if you’re having a hard time finding the positives, turn to someone who can be a little more objective–a friend, a family member, a pastor.  (Just make sure you’re turning to a positive person; no one needs negativity in their life.)

And, if you see me, steer clear.  Because if I fall, I may take you down with me.

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Bruised Insight

Our family attended Good Friday services for the first time this year, and I thought the entire service was absolutely beautiful.  I loved every minute of it, from the time the priests lay at the foot of the altar in prayer to the veneration of the Cross.  Unfortunately, I could not be 100% involved because “my friend” decided to make an appearance…stupid MS.

While standing for the very long gospel, I started to get dizzy.  I tried to ignore it for a little while, but it just grew in intensity.  My legs began to get weak, I got extremely hot, my vision got blurry, and I just knew I was going to pass out.  Fanning myself with a bulletin, I desperately looked around for The Husband.  He and The Younger Boy left our pew to go to the cry room so as not to disturb everyone around us.  The Younger Boy had a cough all last week, and although he wasn’t sick (according to our pediatrician) his cough sounded horrible.  We were about five minutes away from being knocked out by old ladies throwing cough drops at us when The Husband and The Younger Boy left.

So, now I’m worried that I’m going to pass out, and it’s just me and The Older Boy in the pew.  I’m not worried about my health; I’m not worried about hurting myself if I fall.  No, I’m worried about the embarrassment of passing out in church.  I’d be that lady.  As in, Did you see that lady who passed out in church?  No thank you.  I’m a big enough embarrassment to myself when I’m feeling fine; we don’t need to add anything new.

Pride will be the downfall of me.  No doubt.

I end up sitting halfway through the gospel, desperately hanging on to what little dignity I have left.  I know I look like a mess; I feel like a mess.  Please God, don’t let me pass out in church.  Please God, don’t let me throw up.  The sitting helps, and after a short while, I was feeling a little better.

By the time we go to venerate the Cross, I’m feeling a little more normal, so I decide to participate.  However, once we were back in the pew, I felt horrible again.  The room was spinning, my stomach was churning, and I felt extremely weak.  Thanks MS for the vertigo…you big jerk.

photo courtesy of WebMD

photo courtesy of WebMD

I’m starting to get discouraged, when I remember the Ninja-Priest-Friend talking to me about carrying my cross.  He’s constantly telling me that, and honestly, sometimes I just don’t want to hear it.  I understand that this is a trial I’ve been given.  I understand that it’s an opportunity to grow closer to Christ.  I understand these things on an intellectual level.  But, on an emotional level, it’s sometimes hard to deal with.  I look at the beautiful crucifix behind the altar, and I remember the homily from Holy Thursday Mass.  Fr. Mario (a different priest) had compared Jesus to the Passover lambs of the Old Testament.  He was completely unblemished, and even after His crucifixion, he had no broken bones.  I looked down at my arms, still bruised from IV treatments weeks ago, and I have an extreme moment of clarity. Continue reading

What The Husband Taught Me

The Husband was reading through older posts the other day, when I heard him let out a huge sigh.

“What’s wrong?” –Me

“Nothing.  You have all of these nice posts about the kids.  What about me?”  –Jeremy

“Really?!?  I was trying to be considerate of your privacy.  I didn’t think you’d want to be written about.”

“Well, you have What The Older Boy Taught Me and What The Younger Boy Taught Me.  What about me?”  Almost instantly, he realized his blunder.  He realized what he was saying.  At this point, he was trying to back out, telling me he didn’t really want to be written about.  He was just teasing me, just giving me a “hard time.”

It was too late.  He asked for it.  He should’ve known better.  It was like an invitation to mock him; I couldn’t pass that up!!!  What kind of wife would I be?

So, here goes… Continue reading

The Gift of Perspective

Last week, I had to start a heavy dose of IV corticosteroid infusions to clear up this MS relapse junk.  You can read more about that here, along with the healing that God bestowed upon me just yesterday!

However, this entry isn’t about the treatment, or healing, or my unending gratitude.  No, this is more about the ugliness that comes before beauty.

For the most part, I have been pretty positive about my MS diagnosis.  I have not wavered on the fact that I truly believe this is all part of God’s plan for me.  But, that doesn’t change the fact that I’m human.  Very human.  And very flawed.

I have had moments of despair, loneliness, fear (especially when I thought I was possibly losing my vision), doubt of myself, and even anger.  Although I have struggled with moments of these negative feelings, I have been pretty good about keeping away the feelings of self-pity.  Whenever I’d start to feel sorry for myself, I’d try to remember that there are people who are so much worse off than I.  However, I seemed to forget this fact when I was getting my first IV treatment.

My mother-in-law (God bless her!) brought me to this appointment.  From the beginning, we seemed to have a rocky start.  The staff was really great, but my body was not cooperating.  Time after time, they tried to get the IV started in a vein.  And time after time, the vein collapsed.  After 1 hour, 5 tries, a warm compress, 3 nurses, a different arm, and a much smaller needle, we had success!

As the nurse started the medication process, she began to show me all paperwork, instructions, and supplies.  She spoke of the importance of clean hands and work space.  (Obviously we had never met.  I’m constantly being teased for being such a germophobe.  No one’s laughing at me now!)

She showed me the order to administer the injections–4 in all, and the importance of disinfecting the portal between each injection, for precisely 30 seconds.

My head began to spin as she spoke of the importance of clearing the air bubbles from the syringes before starting.

I paid careful attention to the things to watch out for: a burning sensation in my arm, a red streak going up the vein, a puffing of the skin around the injection site, pain in the arm, and more.

I listened intently as she told me not to get the site wet…how the hell was I going to shower?…not to put pressure on it, keep it covered, don’t pull on it, etc.

As she left the room to give me privacy for the main meds to work their magic, I began to feel a very real, very complete sense of overwhelm.

What if I can’t do this?

What if I mess something up?

I looked down at my arms, I had 4 very large purple marks already.  I look like a drug addict–a really bad one.  We should have shot up through my toes or something.  And, I bruise easily.  I’m, let’s just say, pigmentally challenged.  Have you seen this? Continue reading

Quiet Celebration

No big post today.  Nope, today I am quietly celebrating two years of coming back Home to Christ.  Today was the day I made the conscious decision to live a better life, to be a better Christian, a better mother.

I was living in a lukewarm relationship with Christ, and thanks to a priest named Fr. Randy Moreau (I only knew him a short while, but he made quite the impact!), I realized my hypocrisy.  Today was the day I decided lukewarm wasn’t good enough.  Today was the day I realized my children needed someone to show them how to live a Christian life, not just tell them.  I needed to be their teacher, not preacher.

I often tell The Ninja-Priest-Friend, “this Christian stuff is hard.”  And, although I’m saying it in a lighthearted manner, he knows what I mean.  I struggle daily.  Being a follower of Christ is not easy.  It’s not for the weak-hearted or the weak-minded.  This world is tough, and temptation is everywhere.

I’ve fallen a hundred times, and I know I’ll fall a hundred more.

But I keep getting up.  Sometimes it takes me longer than others to pull myself up.  Sometimes I need help.  Sometimes I get up bruised and torn.

But I get up.

If you’re struggling today, it’s okay.  Just be sure you get up.  :)

 

 

Yippie Ki Yay???

Some people wake up to the sounds of music.  Some people wake up to the sounds of nature.  Some people are awakened with a kiss.  However, in our house, there are no soothing, calming ways to arise.

Not when The Younger Boy is around.

He is always the first one up, and he usually wakes up happy, but Saturday was a special occasion.  He was making his first Confession.  So, I wasn’t too surprised when he ran into the room at 7am, galloping and singing this little ditty:

“I’m making my first confession, first confession, doo doo da doo!  Whoop whoop!  Yippie Ki Yay!”

Continue reading