Tuesday, October 03, 2006


A gorgeous fall weekend: unnaturally blue sky, cool air so dry and crisp it crackled in your nose, the ash tree dumping the first load of spent leaves onto the yard and into the gutters. This is what the weather is supposed to be like when my birthday comes around. We cancelled our reservation at the fancy restaurant and roasted weenies over a fire in the back yard instead. But when the beer wore off the next morning, I was miserable.

I'd bumped up to 40 mg Cymbalta on Thursday, which also meant cutting my daily dose of Lyrica to just 150 mg. Most of my body was either aching or burning, and I hadn't been able to sleep most of the night. I was also having more trouble walking. The day before, my legs seemed to have gotten twice as heavy, especially the left one, and I seemed to be using my trunk muscles to help hoist myself around.

At 10:00 am (on a Saturday!), my neurologist called to say that my head MRI from Wednesday looked pretty good: some characteristic MS lesions, sure, but the burden of disease on my brain looked quite light considering I developed MS more than a dozen years ago. We'll do a C-spine MRI sometime soon, but things look good up there. "No excuses now; you'll have to win every case," he joked. I could feel myself getting prickly, and reminded him that I no longer worked in court, but forced myself to say something like "That's great news."

I didn't really think it was great news, though. I think I'd been secretly hoping that my MRI would show that my brain had turned into butterscotch pudding, that it was a miracle I was able to tie my own shoes, that it was only by virtue of my miraculous determination and strength of character that I still managed to function as well as I do.

For whatever reason, I spent most of my birthday weekend in a funk, watching birds at the feeder from my recliner or staring at the TV or the computer. Yesterday, I did more or less the same thing at work, thinking about the impending end of my working life and the great unpleasantness that will no doubt happen as it starts to become apparent to my supervisors and coworkers that I'm not carrying my own weight. Today, like yesterday, I'm walking slowly and stiffly, coasting on this morning's caffeine buzz, wondering if my bowels are still doing their job, thinking about the impending up-tick in my workload, thinking about home improvement projects that have stalled, thinking about the new strain MS is throwing into my marriage, thinking about a planned weekend at the cabin that could be spoiled by my inability to haul my sorry ass down the hill to the lake to watch the wobbly, noisy V's of geese on their way to somewhere else.

No comments: