Up and Down

Do you ever ride elevators? I do…everyday. It’s how I get in and out of my office. I have often thought of them as the connection between two worlds. I board the elevator en route to my “working self.” In the evening I board the elevator en route to my “real self.” But while I am in the elevator it’s just quiet and mindless time with myself as I transition and switch gears. This morning I really felt that transition, and in a way, I didn’t want it to end.

I called Dad’s cell phone this morning while I was driving to work just to see how everything was going. It was off so for the next 5 minutes I debated calling home- Dad was either still home getting ready for work or he was at work and in a meeting. So I called….it rang about 6 times, I nearly hung up figuring Mom was there but sleeping and then Dad answered. Dad got on the phone and said he was just sitting at the kitchen table praying for help with everything and I called…it was strange.

On Monday Mom’s doctor switched her spasm medication to Baclofen. Beginning yesterday, Mom and Dad started seeing real improvements with Mom’s walking and her muscle ability. Then last night Mom was sick and my parents had a tough night. Dad doesn’t think Mom ate enough yesterday and that mixed with an active day seems to make Mom’s systems go very out of whack. But regardless, it was a very tough night. I have had those nights before with Mom and they can be exhausting in ways you don’t even realize. To put a complicated experience simply, they are draining.

Dad knows he has some tough decisions to make regarding Mom. He has found a counselor and is going to approach the topic with Mom. Regardless of Mom’s decision, Dad said he needs to see someone. The person he found deals primarily with people diagnosed with diseases like MS and he comes to your house. We’ll see how it goes, but I don’t predict Mom will take this well. I am realizing though that Mom’s MS is impacting each of us differently. Dad, Sister K and I are each impacted by this and the two people whose experiences are the most similar are Sister K and me. While we can relate to Dad, we also cannot because this is his wife he is going through this with, not his Mom. Even though we are all in the same family, the relationship is different. The stress involved is different and the emotions are different.

I talked to Dad pretty much until I got to work and then I stood outside my building talking to him a little longer. I then walked inside and got into the elevator. I stood there with my head leaned back against the wall and just let my mind go numb. I told myself that when those doors opened the thoughts associated with Mom’s MS needed to move to the back of my mind and the positive, friendly and happy employee that I am needed to move to the front. When I leave work today I will shift my mind again. But this morning I was thankful for my quiet and alone time in the elevator. I was able to give myself a pep talk and give my mind a rest behind the doors of the elevator. It gave me a space to be completely alone as I moved both physically and mentally between places.

Do you ride elevators often? Have you ever seen an elevator as a transition place between two different places? Do you get a secret joy when the elevator goes the entire distance you need without stopping? Now for the fun one, have you ever gotten stuck in an elevator?? (I have…) Hope you have a great weekend!

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Fighting for MS

I have readers that have shared with me the impact of MS on their lives- those with MS, those with family members and friends with MS, those who have parents with MS. After Mom was diagnosed I immediately went to the MS Society website to begin to learn how I could get more involved in their efforts for a disease that now personally impacted me.

Sister K and I did the MS Walk one year and we really enjoyed it. It was after Mom was newly diagnosed and we wanted to participate. We coordinated our outfits with pink and purple shirts, our official “best friend’s uniform” and then showed up to discover most people were in orange as it is one of the main colors for the MS Society. I found it comical. We were so new to the impact of MS on our lives that it had never occurred to us there would be a unifying color we needed to coordinate with- now we know better.  

It was a powerful experience though. As Sister K and I drove up to see all the people out there to support those with MS, Sister K got tears in her eyes. We were filled with a rush of different emotions because we had never experienced anything like this before. We want to do more and are seeing what else is out there. Maybe someday the MS 150 but that requires quite a bit of committment and training, plus it requires the purchase of a bike.  

I am curious if you have ever participated in fundraising efforts for any purpose, MS related or for any other cause? Did you learn things after the first time you did it? Have you ever done it again?

Half Full

“It’s snowing still,” said Eeyore gloomily. “And freezing.” “However,” he said brightening up a little, “we haven’t had an earthquake lately.”

Optimism is tricky.  It’s easy during easy times and hard during the hard times.  Dad is someone though who radiates optimism and it shows.  For the most part he is always optimistic.  He is always uplifting to talk to and he always gives me the sense that no matter what’s wrong or how big the problem it’s going to be okay. 

I think I tend to lean towards the pessimistic side.  I tend to think why me instead of why not me.  Mom getting MS hasn’t helped this very much.  I have noticed even more of a tendency to focus on the negatives in life than the positives.  The problem though is when I am drawn to the negative I like to stay there for awhile.  My mind becomes cloudy.  I can’t support others the way I would like and I especially have trouble supporting myself.

For instance Dad is trying to get a heater for our pool so Mom can use it year round.  Hoping this will help her to exercise more and strengthen her muscles.  After a month he was having trouble getting the city utility company to contact him about completing his request, something that would’ve frustrated me to no end.  It would have made me bitter, helpless and I might have just given up.  Instead he spoke with Mom’s doctor who put him in touch with the Director of the MS Society who called the city utility company who then had someone higher up personally call Dad to apologize.  A lesson learned in optimism but also a lesson learned for people dealing with any disability: Keep fighting. If you aren’t being treated the way you should be call your local chapters.  They are there to help you and your family members. 

In relation to my Happiness Project, I have made a committment to try to find the positive in every negative.  To be more specific though I am going to find 3 things each day to be optimistic about in my life.  It’s a small step but I am working towards tricking my mind.  Hoping if I do it enough my mind will naturally work towards the optimistic side than the pessimistic side of life.  I will begin to deal with problems or situations that arise from a more half full perspective than half empty.

How do you stay optimistic?  Any tricks you recommend? Do you find yourself more glass half full or half empty?