In Portland, 2012
Portland, at last
This is the sort of thing I dream of in Arizona in the hot season. Cool winds, scudding clouds, awakeness, alertness. No enervation here.
Oregon, Ho !!!
My wife is long-suffering. Living with a set-in-his-ways Fuddy Duddy like myself has to be hard. She is bright, half-responsible for our bright children, and is imbued with a healthy dose of mule-headedness and what she calls 'Irish Instinct.'
I first met her Instinct a few weeks after I met her in 1983. Sudden spells of intense anxiety on her part would culminate in the sounds of a car collision a few blocks from her apartment and immediate release of strain and a happy girlfriend once again. (I checked the crash sites at once; fortunately never more than fender-benders.)
She always had a strong sense of changes coming and, good or bad, they would elicit the same anxious prodrome. She knew we would marry as soon as she saw me as a new intern on the Urology floor of the Tucson VA. At 29, I had no such plan but should have had an idea when she had me buy wedding bands a few weeks before I actually proposed...
I trust her Second Sight. She always knows who is calling on the phone, is always somehow in the thick of a friend's plight. She calls people out of the Blue and finds her skill as a disaster manager is needed Then, just in time. Wow. Such a person is invaluable for me: loyal, loving, hard-headed and practical beneath a veneer of Spookiness.
This year I stayed in Phoenix two months longer than I usually do because She thought it would be best. She was right, as usual.The yearly summer heat of Portland broke just as we arrived and just after the Outrageous Weather of Arizona began. The monsoons had started on Paper but the daily Blistering heat from Sunup to after Sundown didn't really kick in until a few days before I left, with the true Saigon-type warm-shower drenching rains at Sunset.
A Flare on the Road
In a year-old blog, I mentioned that only a Multiply-Sclerotic contemplating a Wilderness Death would backpack alone. I will update that now: only a Multiply-Sclerotic Fool would consider an extended Road Trip by himself. This from an Affected who has made a solo trip North, about five years ago. Don't do it. The chances of survival in Russian Roulette are one in six. About the same here and I proved it this year.
My brother flew down to PHX the day before we Drove Up. The day we left had a temp of 108* as we departed, on its' way to >113*, with righteous humidity. Never quite comfortable for at least a week, I took off driving to Indio, about 300 miles. Rob took over then and landed us safely at our hotel north of L.A. after dark. I'd brought my wheelchair for the first time (yet another Anti-Hubris facet of my Life) and wheeled to the room after check-in.
I was feeling logy and without any appetite when I reached the room, a very good one at Hamilton Suites in Santa Clarita. I told Rob to enjoy dinner and immediately went into a deep sleep, Shivering Violently before I nodded off.
I woke three hours later. I found I had very limited motion of my legs and only a little ability to move my arms. I certainly couldn't stand but, Reviewing The Bidding so to speak, found I had full sensation, full sight and hearing, Normal Orientation (Person, Place, Time, President). full Bulbar function and a lusty ability to Swear. Being an Iron Man, I eventually succeeded in swinging my legs to the ground. However, I found I was unable to sit up after uncounted futile Attempts. Thank God I didn't have to micturate...
My Brother found me splayed over the edge of the bed upon his return an hour later. He collected me into my covers and I decided then his presence was Vital.
I am still an Iron Man. I was up enough the next morning to shower and get myself- again in the wheelchair- to the car, where Rob drove the whole day, ending in Redding, CA. Again, I bowed out of the dinner et al but this time had no motility problems and was On The Mend. I drove the next morning the few hundred miles to Roseburg, OR then turned over the wheel for the final few hours to Home.
This kind of Flare has happened to me only once before, in 2006 while I was still working ER in Phoenix. I ended up in the hospital for four days but really only needed one. I received several grams of Solumedrol, which is a Devil's poison and which I avoid like the Great Pox. I get along fine without it. Then, too, the episode followed extensive exposure to Summer Heat. Takehome Lesson: We Must Avoid Summer Heat.
Cleanse the Palate with Blue Sky
As much as I'd like it to be, life for me is not all a nightime peyote-fueled Romp with Carlos Casteneda in the Desert. In Oregon, as in all my Life, I must attend to the reality of Managing my Medicines. Today, I arranged to refill both my Byetta injection (for DMII, care of obscene doses of steroids (again, solumedrol) received a few years ago after my initial diagnosis) and Ampyra, a potassium channel blocker having a gratifying effect on my thought and alertness and maybe on my walking. I was successful on the telephone and scheduled my follow-up clinic visits for when I return South in 6 weeks or so.
As I think I'd said before, I live by TO-DO lists. Today's work ends the latest of them.
Byetta and Ampyra are trade names of drugs I am using. I'm not able to easily show them so and am too lazy to disconnect my legs from their Comfortable Desktop Perch to check their chemical names. Once again: Live With It.
Always an Iron Man
Worth a read!
This blog piece deals with an MS flare on the road, how I dealt with it, how courage is usually seen in me as Cussedness.
More by this Author
A review of Political, meterologicial, medical and religious Topicks. This is not a journal!
My trip north to Tigard, Oregon; my lodging in a hotela few miles from my extended family, which makes all the Difference. (c) 2013 Thomas Vetto, MD
The sudden onset of my yearly Upper Respiratory Infection, with the concomitant arrival of general Unwellness and an unforeseen, rare appearance of a family Nemesis, Renal Stone. God wot!
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