Friday, May 14, 2010

That's Good...That's Bad

 Everyone has something--some 'thing' that makes living tough: be it illness, a wayward child, a debt load, or a deeper pain woven into ones life. Mine is obvious, from the big ugly wheelchair, to the braces on arms and feet, my challenge can't be hidden.I try to imagine if each person's own particular challenge were as visible as mine, maybe small neon lettering floating over ones head, 'too much debt,' 'widowed,' 'lonely' 'hate my job' then my own wouldn't seem as remarkable. 
This morning I woke up after a night of little sleep with intense arm pain and fatigue that was deeper than ever. I wanted to roll over, pull the covers over my head, and pretend I didn't exist. After an early morning nap (who naps at 8am?) I woke up muzzy headed and feeling no better. Again, I could think of no compelling reason to get up. It struck me that I could be miserable in bed or I could be miserable and sit in the warm spring sunshine on my porch. With water, a book, and sunglasses I settled in. My arms were hurting, I felt like a limp noodle, and then I noticed a cotton ball cloud slide by overhead and two birds soar past, and a neighbor began mowing their lawn. A few minutes later I heard the distinctive whirring that could only be a hummingbird. Magically suspended in mid air by my honeysuckle vine was the most beautiful bird. A thimbleful of scarlet and ashes, sipping from the sunset orange and yellow of the sweet smelling blossoms. It came back to visit 5 or 6 more times. Wonderful!

The 'Anna's' Hummingbird

The choice to seek and experience and express joy is simply that, a choice.
 In indelicate contrast to my beautiful morning on the porch, the other evening I had one of those moments that is both maddening and humorous (in retrospect, only) My hubbie and I were watching TV. MS causes my colon not to work quite right. It is called 'low motility' a fancy way of saying that the thousands of muscles that cause food to digest are slowed down and don't work well. In practical terms that means I spend far too much time being painfully constipated with bouts of diarrhea and bowel incontinence and as a result spend far too much time in the restroom. Back to the other evening. I grumpily left the living room and headed to 'my throne.' As I sat and worked on a puzzle, there is no better way to say this, I kept noticing a horrid odor. I don't see well in partial light and, hoping it wasn't me, finally decided to transfer to my chair and call my hubbie to come inspect. It was then we discovered our old dog had had an accident on the rug in front of the toilet. We checked my wheelchair wheels (all clean, whew) and then decided to throw away the rug. A few minutes later we settled back on the couch. I could still smell the smell. When I moved back on to my chair to see what was going on I discovered that the couch cushion, my chair cover, and the back of my pants were covered in dog mess. Apparently, while in the bathroom, my pants had rested on the dog pile. No rested is too nice a word, more like swam in it. What a nasty mess! Not the way I had planned for my evening to go.
It seems easy to say one episode was good and the other bad. That one brought joy and the other unpleasantness. In reality, as snapshots of life, neither caused any change in my circumstances. I had to make a deliberate choice to experience the joy of a spring morning on my porch and the 'messy' evening just happened. I will always share real estate with progressive MS, my 'something.' And, every moment, I have to make the deliberate choice to not be defined by it.

3 comments:

Ted J said...

Janine, this morning I was walking in the most glorious weather (usually windy), here in Great Falls, Mt. I was drawn to some music happening down in the park and upon investigating discovered it was an MS walk and, of course, I thought of you and many others who have this challenge. I did not walk as I had just completed my walk, but like you and the hummingbird I was thrilled with the experience. Blessings, Ted

Stuff could always be worse said...

So great that you made a choice to enjoy the sunshine. I know the dog mess too well, have had a similar problem but I did get it on my wheels.
kim

Have Myelin? said...

Janine, I have many days like that...joy and unpleasantness wrapped up in one. An odd combination isn't it? But like you I try to enjoy the hummingbird(s).