Saturday, May 28, 2011


Fairies are real. The mailman told me so. Facebook asserted that reality, too.

I got spoons in the mail today. A friend sent me a card full of cut-out pictures of spoons. Purty spoons, silly spoons, lots and lots of spoons. I'm rich!

The, via Facebook, I was informed that the playdate fairy is coming to whisk my children away for the afternoon today. See? Fairies do exist! And sometimes they drive minivans.

It's one thing to arrange emergency care for your children because it's a necessity while you get the rest or treatment you need to function. It's another thing entirely to know that they're off to spend a fun afternoon with friends, under solid guidance by adults you really know and trust. Rest and treatment come a lot easier then. Everyone's getting what they need.

So a big thank you to the Spoon Fairy and the Playdate Fairy! You just made my day.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Donald Trump has nothing on me

Wheelchair on an elementary school playground? Instant popularity. I'm on their level and I can give them rides. Wheelchairs -- the next big craze. Like Silly Bands. Everyone's gonna want one. Or forty.

Monday, May 16, 2011

spin your partner, do si do, round again and don't be slow

I've accomplished two diametrically opposite things this month. Seventeen months into this particular flare, I finally hit the point where I can start physical therapy, and I did. I also finally caved to reality and picked up a wheelchair. It's not as depressing as I thought it would be. I'm excited to be able to go on day trips with the spouse and kiddos again. My choices have been: A) Spend six hours hobbling around on canes and spend the next few weeks pretty much in bed or B) Stay home. Now I have choice C: Sit my ass down and go for a ride, see the sights with the small fry, and still be functional (ha ha) the next day. Life is good.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

recipe for an "interesting" weekend (serves 4)

Assemble as many of your ingredients as possible up to a week ahead of time so that you can see it coming. Prep the following and chill until needed.

2 sessions of contrast therapy
1 ambitious physical therapy session (3 whole laps in the pool -- impressive, no?)
4 standard weekly errands
5 days of dropping off and picking up children from school

Mix in separate bowl and add to chilled ingredients:

1 40-pound child with pinched fingers and a strong disinclination for anyone but a parent to comfort him
1 hefty dose of Mama Bear
1 regrettably long walk to the car with said child in arms, two canes, and a bag

Blend until mixture is only slightly lumpy, then spread in pan and bake until crispy. Enjoy the flu-like symptoms, migraine, and muscle aches as long as possible. Must finish by Sunday night; Monday morning does not treat this recipe well.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

what to do, what to do

There are many ways to anesthetize a person. Local, regional, epidural, general, spinal.... Or the at home version: beer, wine, liquor, all three together. (OK, eww on that last one.) Sometimes, you've just gotta go for the DIY anesthesia. Like when you receive your second refusal in the mail for Social Security disability benefits.

It would be easier to swallow if your case worker would ever return a phone call. Or if you could look back over your work history and find a time when your disability didn't affect your ability to work. Or even if you could run a trial and see if you could work now (hey, did that, failed miserably).

I would LOVE to work. I put specific effort into developing several different fields in which I could work so that if one failed due to recession, physical ability, etc., I could switch to another. I remember digging out of my parents' steep hillside driveway in a snow storm to get to work on time in high school only to find that my coworker called out because he said he couldn't get out of his 15-foot flat paved driveway that morning. (And he got the first raise, because hey, a penis counts for a lot with some people.) I remember working with a baby snugged on my back and another at my feet. I remember working at the age of nine, babysitting for the twins up the street and sticking that money in my piggybank for a rainy day. I've always been a "good worker." I've paid my dues. What does that get me when I can't work anymore?

It's incredibly frustrating to not be able to work. It's insulting to be told that you should be able to work when you have tested that theory and failed it completely. I feel like there's some essential miscommunication going on between myself and the Social Security office, even though I know the real drive behind the refusals is that fibromyalgia isn't on their current list of accepted disabilities and they financially benefit by refusing as many people as possible. What's just business to them is very personal to the person on the other end of that mailed letter.

Man, this sucks. I want to do right by my family. I want to ease the burden on my spouse. My last chance comes up in a few months, when I go before an administrative judge to state my case. Wouldn't it be ironic if I couldn't state my case clearly because my symptoms or my medication got in the way? What on earth would I do then? 

Saturday, May 7, 2011

willful acts of optimism

It's not done in polite company, and it may be illegal in 13 states, but sometimes you've just gotta commit a willful act of optimism.

For example: I'm not unemployable, I'm exploring my options as a free agent. I don't sit at home alone all day; I'm giving lavish attention to a very lucky cat and tortoise. You can call it enforced rest; you can also call it meditation, premeditated napping, time to think, and companionable silence amongst fellow creatures. (Except the cat. He never shuts up.) And hell, some people pay a lot of money and risk jail time to do some of the drugs I have to take. Physical therapy can do double duty as weeding the garden, folding clothes, and using a cart at the grocery store instead of a motorized chair. High pain levels and limited mobility don't just cost me activities I want to do, they also get me out of all sorts of obligations. And how many 4-year-olds get to say that they know how to vacuum a floor? Or have their very own vacuum? Talk about spoiled.

Well, that turned a corner real quick from optimism to sarcasm. Hey, whatever gets you through the day.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

the foibles of memory

If you're wondering how many times it's possible to fill up the washing machine with soapy water and then forget to put in the laundry in the space of one week, the answer is five.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

testing, 1, 2, 3

My son and I took a leisurely amble in the rain today. Apparently I'm good for about a quarter of an amble before seizing up. The similarity between myself and the carburetor in my very first car has come to mind more than once. We're both game, and sometimes we can be fixed with a bit of chewing gum and a bobby pin, but we're also cantankerous and creaky as hell.