Tuesday, February 28, 2006

I sat in a room for a meeting I was to lead on our next event. No one showed up. While I know that nothing should be personal, I cannot even begin to describe how badly I felt. We are in the middle of much change, but what I am doing cannot be set aside and picked up again when it is convenient. Messaging doesn't happen all at once. To be successful, it must be sown with patience and care.

I had spent three days trying to teach myself Illustrator because someone needed an EPS file of a design I had created for a t-shirt at the last minute. When I told her that I had finished, she told me that she had already gotten someone else to take care of it.

I also learned that she had already settled all the arrangements for a cable station to tape an event in March.

I am nothing. My work means nothing. All my labors count for nothing.

I cried the whole way home from work and all through the evening, with neither of my friends answering their phones.

Sometimes, silence is not golden.

Monday, February 27, 2006

I dropped off my broken car and picked up the rental. Such ease. Katie told me that she had thought about me all weekend and was worried for me. She had a Dr. Pepper waiting for me.

Compassion personified.
It is wearying to be an eternal disappointment, to be criticized constantly, to be found fundementally wanting...by your mother.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Dinner with my writing student's family was most sumptuous and wonderful. They are an absolutely lovely family, full of intelligence, humor, and talent. Her father works wonders on the stove and cooked my all-time favorite of his creations. Three of the younger kids indulged me in Phase 10 (although I will NOT admit that they regularly beat me at whatever game we chose). We all marveled at those speed skaters...and had a soundly satisfying evening.

The knife is gone and the stiffness and soreness remaining is MUCH more manageable.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Still popping pain pills, though I have added PMS medicine. When it rains...it truly does pour.

Entertaining my mother and trying to help with her new website does not fit with my agenda of curling into a ball and huddling in the green chair.

I keep sticking the thermometer in my mouth because of the chills, but I know that they are from the pain.

This, too, shall pass...


Friday, February 24, 2006

A short while after I awoke, I was standing in the bathroom and suddenly buckled over in pain. I felt as if someone was stabbing a hot knife into my neck at the base of my skull. My breakfast shortly went into the toilet and I found myself shivering and sweating because of the pain radiating in my neck and shoulders.

Since I had to take my car to visit the insurance adjustor at 11:00, I had planned to work from home in the morning. I struggled to concentrate and yet was thankful for something, anything, on which to focus aside from how badly I was hurting.

When I arrived at the collision center, I took a rather long time actually getting to her desk because I didn't want to have to make a side visit to the nearest trash can. She asked if I was okay, I told her that I have MS and that it was just a particularly bad day. She responded in compassion and concern because her friend's husband has MS and she understand what I meant. She offered me a drink while I was waiting. Marvel of marvels, this northern company actually had Dr. Pepper.

It is no small wonder the ways that God cares for me.

I was fretting about the hassle of getting my car repaired and I have insurance that makes it virtually a one-stop-shopping experience. I wouldn't have this insurance if my other company had not abruptly dropped me because of an accident after having 21 years of a clean record. I was writhing in pain and feeling so weak and yet He strengthened me with the compassion of a stranger.

Later on, while at work, struggling to concentrate and even talk while helping someone do something that was not really my job, and not receiving an ounce of compassion, I was reminded of the gift of that half hour with a woman named Katie who walks the path of kindness.

Still, I do not choose pain, I would not choose pain, and my tears might be laced with a wee bit of self pity just now. Neither Tylenol nor Motrin are staying the knife. As tired as I am, I know that sleep will not be a close companion this night.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

I found myself yelling at the fraud service representative at Capital One this evening because I got a call about suspicious activity on my account (the caller did not say which of the two cards it was) and that my card was going to be temporarily suspended. I called the department back, was passed from person to person, only to discover that there were no fraud notes on either account and neither was "temporarily closed." I wasted nearly an hour on the phone for nothing. I was really angry because after a while, each person I talked to would pick out what he/she thought might be a "suspicious" charge and none of them were recent because both bills were paid in full just last week. I stayed on the phone because I do not carry cash and have been charging everything for the miles so having my account frozen would be difficult for me. But I resented the waste of time and energy when there was apparently no reason and instead of acknowledging that a mistake had been made, the employees of Capital One kept insisting that I stay on the phone for one more "specialist" to review my accounts. Each "specialist" made me repeat all my identifying information before he/she would continue. I was steamed and I yelled.

My car was crunched on the way to work. I am disappointed and frustrated...and oh, did I mention tired?

I was not a good game player with my friend because I was a rather poor loser. Again, I really do like that she is so darned smart...I just hate getting trounced by one big point word after another. She is very, very, very good at Scrabble.

I suppose that I should concentrate on my victory today: my kitchen sink and my bathroom sink both became clogged, but for separate reasons (you really shouldn't shred a lot of lettuce in a disposal and watering plants in the bathroom sink is not the brightest idea either). My wonderful, amazing, has-an-answer-for-everything boss told me about some stuff that her plumber recommends that is for sale at Home Depot. She forgot the name of it, but she could describe the bottle.

I found it, bought it, and went through the unclogging process on both sinks. It took but two applications for my kitchen sink to gurgle happily once more, but the bathroom sink was a bit more reticent. I did three separate applications to no avail (pour 6 ounces slowing down the drain, being careful NOT to get the product on anything but the middle of the drain, and wait ten minutes). Then I sat on the toilet to ponder the situation. Since the water would actually run for a while before it would back up, which told me the dirt and leaves were a bit of a trek down the pipe, I decided to pour in the rest of the bottle so that the product would move past the trap and on down the pipe. My gamble paid off and I successfully avoided a plumbing bill. I even-- albeit with a bit of fear and trepidation--ran the dishwasher, which easily drained down the kitchen pipes.

I should think about pipes, not costly crunches.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

My cousin showed me the ultimate kindness: we came upon a dead mouse in a trap I had long ceased to check that had been dead for many moons and he removed it from my home for me. What greater compassion could one person show for another?

I fret a bit because I am so tired. I know that nearly everything I write about lately is filled with the theme of fatigue, but I am simply tired. He has been thoroughly enjoying the city, so his visit has been easy on me. And I am truly excited he is here, but I am tired and grumpy and less than cheery at times. I fret because I wish not to put the outcomes of my fatigue off on him. He deserves better.

At work, I watched my computer being troubleshooted for 3 hours. The IT people do not like Adobe software, but I depend on four of their products for our design and production work. I do not like being a source of contention for IT, yet I know that we do not have the funds to outsource all the default design and production work I do. It is a catch 22. By the time he was done, I felt as if I had run a mile.

Alas, I also railed at Network Solutions today for the better part of 3 hours today. I struggled to keep my temper when each person I talked with had a different excuse as to why an account had been created for us in the transfer process but without the domain tied to it and thus a different authentification that needed to take place before we could assume ownership of the domain from the company we acquired. For seven weeks we have been pursuing this process. Today was the last day the staff from the other company would have email and the domain would have been up. I lost the battle with my tongue, pointing out that my problem was one of Network Solution's making, not ours. Still, they hold all the cards.

That battle with them made me tired. Plus, I have eating much restaurant and otherwise not-the-healthiest food for a week. I have noticed that I felt much better when I was eating the salads and grilled meats. My mother is coming on Thursday and we already have two restaurant meetings planned, but other than that, it is soups and salads and grilled meat for me. Perhaps I might be a bit less fatigued if I ate better.

My cousin is a superb photographer. I wheeled and pleaded for him to transfer all the photos he had taken thus far to my desktop for my viewing pleasure. He is so kind: I asked for him to take pictures of a giraffe at the zoo and he came back with many to enjoy. I think I will make one of them my desktop at work...as a reminder of his many kindnesses.

Monday, February 20, 2006

I was looking around in the refrigerator for just the smallest something to tide me over until my cousin came back and we headed out to dinner. Then I remembered that I still had a wedge of soft cheese that I had saved from the return trip from Italy. It was not exactly still completely soft, but I ate it anyway. Some Gatorade to wash it down was just what I needed. Wasn't it convenient that I saved the bit of cheese instead of leaving it on the plane?


Since my cousin is greatly enjoying being so close to the Mall and all the museums surrounding it, I actually have had quite a bit of time to relax. I slept late this morning and napped this afternoon. Still, I feel as if I am dragging around a hundred-pound weight. I'm off to bed now in the hopes of finding rest this night.

Last night I dreamed that I had gone back to graduate school. The two classes I signed up for were an advanced Children's Lit class and what ended up being a cosmotology class. My roommate turned out to be an assassin. I forgot my answering machine when I packed and my roommate held a knife to my throat threatening to slice it open if she had to take one more message from my mother. But what worried me is that I couldn't get my backpack to fit into the lockers outside the bookstore, so I couldn't get inside to purchase my books.

Anyone want to take a stab at "interpreting" that one?

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Sometimes I wonder if I am too harsh. A person will ask my opinion, and I will give it. Isn't that what you are supposed to do when someone asks? I think so, or at least I did. But now I wonder if I am wrong. I wonder if you are not supposed to give an honest answer.

What do you think about...? I answer. Then I become puzzled that my answer seems to hurt the other person, to diminish her/him somehow. Just because I think one particular thing, doesn't mean everyone else has to do so as well? So, why should I censor my thoughts/opinions if a person has queried me about them? It just doesn't make sense.

I would never want less than an honest answer myself. I assume that would be the same for someone who solicits advice or opinions. Is this not the case? Are you supposed to measure your words against the needs or opinions of the person before you? Give one answer for Joe and another for Jane?

I am not talking about being respectful of another persons beliefs while interacting with that person. I am not talking about recognizing the other person's role/duties in the company. I am not talking about understanding and weighing the emotional needs or intellectual maturity of a person while choosing the words with which to frame an answer.

I am talking about someone asking you for your opinion. If it is your opinion, while being considerate of the person before you in how you answer, should you not simply state what you believe, what you think?

Saturday, February 18, 2006

I check on my battery order at Dell because I couldn't understand why it hadn't shipped when the information on the website said that it would ship in 24 hours. When I checked back at the item description, I noticed that the price was $50 cheaper!

I called Dell to cancel the order and reorder the battery at the cheaper price. Would you believe that the sales person couldn't understand why I wanted to cancel the order only to reorder the same items. I explained about the price difference, but she still didn't understand and questioned my decision to cancel the order several times.

It's the same item.
It's $50.00 less.
But it is the same item.
Look it up on your own website and compare the price listed on my order; it's $50 less.
But why would you cancel an order to buy the same item?
I don't want to spend an extra $50 on this item!

Of course, this means that it won't ship until Tuesday and I won't get it until the following Monday. A whole week lost in the transaction.

But still...wouldn't you want to save $50?

Friday, February 17, 2006

I had a hard conversation this evening, recognizing that there is too much to be done and little that I can do. But then...but then...oh, then...my cousin called, feeling rather rash, and booked a ticket to come see me on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. But...then...there was more...his idea of a good time: we could write together!!!! Wow. Be still my beating heart.

Currently, I have on bike shorts, leggings, jersey pants, sweatpants, tank top, two shirts, a sweater, and two pairs of socks. I am staving off the chill in here because last month's gas bill was $300 with the thermostat set at 68. So, since my last bill, I nudged the dial a bit to hover around 66 degrees. However, the thought of having company and getting to work on writing makes me feel rash. I might just bump it up to 70 for the long weekend.

He is, however, rather suspect of consuming food from my refrigerator given some of my recent posts. I do not know why he would worry. I did have to admit to myself that my 10 bags of lettuce might not make it. I am consumed bag 7 tonight and some of the leaves were a bit...mushy. Of course, I just doused it all with lots of salad dressing and downed it all. I am not sure I am going to make my way through the last 3 bags.

I also had leftovers from the reception Wednesday. I am single handedly trying to consume the left overs. I did pawn some off on the residents of the building we used, on the resident association president, on a guy from Microsoft (I convinced he would be a popular guy at work the next day), and on our staff who work on site. Still, I came home with a couple hundred skewers of meat.

My last five meals have been leftovers. How long do you think those skewers will last?

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

I worked until 2:00 last night and was at work (the latter part of the day was an event) until 9:30. Kashi barely recognizes me! I did ask my boss if it was okay for me to work from home tomorrow to save the commute. I plan on sleeping those two "extra" hours!

I have much delicious food left over from the event sitting in my refrigerator. I have beautiful flowers filling the air with their sweet fragrance also left over from the event. I have small chocolate covered brownie wedges waiting for me in the freezer (14 of them). I should be satisfied.

Tomorrow I shall sleep late. I shall take lunch to write for myself. I shall enjoy many jerk chicken and flank stake skewers. I shall savor dessert. I shall nap in the afternoon. I shall accomplish at least three big work tasks. I shall go to bed early. I shall get some rest.


Tuesday, February 14, 2006

A friend called to say that she had received my Valentine's day card and my response was that I couldn't talk. I had to work. Of course, before she hung up I had dumped a bit about work and how I cannot seem to figure out what I can set down so that I am juggling less and sleeping more.

A friend called and at nine at night I chose work.

I am a lout.

Monday, February 13, 2006

I am crashing. Crashing onto the ground. Crashing on my computer. Crashing on the couch.

Friday night's pain led to spending Saturday on the couch trying to recover.

Sunday I tried to shovel snow while still using the cane and fell, hard, on my back. Back to couch where I lost two games of Scrabble with my best friend and ended up working until 3:30 am since I was hurting so much and, well, determined to finish my tasks. Working through our server at work is frustrating most of the time. I refused to let a computer get the best of me.

I have several items I would like to knock out tonight, but I am not sure I can stay away despite how uncomfortable I feel.

Perhaps my fatigue will outweigh the pain, and I will sleep and awake refreshed for work...

Friday, February 10, 2006

I have been working so much that I did not hear about this great snow storm coming this weekend until yesterday...when the prospect of inclement weather ruined my plans to hop in the car and visit with my best friend for a few hours half way between our two homes.

I scoffed at the idea of a great storm. We have basically have just had rain this winter, no satisfying blankets of white for Kashi to frolic through in the back yard. I scoffed because in my eight winters here, the number of times a storm actually arrived as predicted is small. I scoffed because I saw no change in weather that indicated an impending storm. Glorious sunny days have followed each other much of this winter and certainly this week.

I am no longer scoffing. I hurt so much from the front coming through that I can hardly stand it. My couch is wet with tears and I wish for this to pass. I know it will, but how much longer will I feel this way?

I was waiting for some files to transfer from the work server to my laptop and dropped off to sleep. My cousin called and woke me...not that I remember much of what was said. I thought I would just go back to sleep, but Kashi had other ideas. I played with him and then started back in my task for this evening: uploading content to my company's website.

But it was not long before I began to feel the change in pressure. At first, you sort of think that perhaps you have just been sitting a bit too long. You shift position or even get up and walk around for a while. Soon, however, the realization of what is happening sinks in, and you find yourself sighing deeply, wondering how long it will last.

Fiery pain laces through my lower back and knees. I feel as if I ache all over, but it is actually my joints. My ankles hurt. My wrists hurt. I shudder and tears slip down my cheeks, despite my attempts to work, to read, or to watch TV in a futile attempts at distraction.

I wish Old Man Winter would hurry on his way...

Thursday, February 09, 2006

I have accomplished much in the past three days, crossing items off my list right and left. For that, I'm thankful. My boss, however, has become more beleagured by the moment...and I am helpless to do anything to alleviate her burden.

Last night, I didn't finish my work until 3:30 AM. I wonder, am I a poor manager for having to do all this or an extremely dedicated employee making a sacrifice for her company?

Tonight have I worked not, reveling in my suppine position in the green chair and the satisfaction that not only are the thank you notes from Christmas in the mail, but all my Valentine's day cards and all birthday cards for the month of February!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

It is going to be another late night, even though I am already quite tired.

I actually drove home with a smile on my face because this afternoon I saw the light at the end of my tunnel! Over the past two days, I have crossed many an item off my ever growing list so that it is down to single digits! I am getting close to have my work load in a management proportion, especially since I started yet another organization system to cope with all that I am juggling.

But I committed to having a rather large document done for the morning and only now realize that I have several more hours of work. I will finish. I shall finish. I am not noticing the trembling and shaking and dizziness. I am determined!

Today, for the third day in a row, God demonstrated His lovingkindness to me by sending someone to help me. Two, in fact. At Target, where I went to pick up my prescriptions, someone saw me leaning on the cart (I am feeling particularly weak today) and took over my shopping. I found two baby gifts and bought all the cards I'll need to send out until May. It may seem a small thing, but without the assistance, I would not have been able to get the gifts and I am already frustrated at the Christmas thank you cards that have been riding back and forth to work with me for weeks on end now.

Along the vein of "my cup runneth over," the practice administrator of Kashi's vet offered to mail his medicine because I have not been able get there before they close. Sometimes Kashi trembles even while sleeping, and he is still emptying his water bowls several times a day. It had taken the vet a while to order the Chinese herbs she chose for his treatment, but it has been sitting on her desk for over two weeks now. I do want his quality of life to be as high as possible and have felt badly over not starting his treatment.

So, while tired and struggling, with continuing chaos at work, mounds of obligations, and groceries still in the back of my car, I still found a moment of respite from the burdens of my job, a moment of peace from the help God sent me, and a moment of joy in the antics of my puppy dog.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

I haven't been to the grocery store in a month and eating at home was pretty slim pickin's. I've been too tired to eat and sometimes ignoring my own hunger. So, I determined to go to the store this evening on the way home from work.

While I wondered how I would shop with my cane, I shouldn't have. God provided. This kind Safeway man followed me around, pushing the cart and pulling items. He even loaded my car. Too bad I couldn't take him home with me since most of my groceries are still sitting in the cargo area. What surprised me most is that he didn't bat an eyelash as asking him to pack the cart with two gallons of milk, six packs of Dr. Pepper, twelve packs of spring mix salad, five bottles of Gatorade, two packs of bakery cookies, a small sized carrot cake, two packs of steak, and one of chicken. The cashier raised an eyelid once or twice as the items were sliding past him, but he also wisely held his tongue.

I do believe that my thirst and fatigue influenced my choices a bit. Slap a bit of meat on the grill, toss a bit of greenery in a bowl, and I have a meal complete with a cookie for dessert.

I wonder how many days it will take me to bring in the rest of the groceries one load at a time...

Monday, February 06, 2006

Tonight I found the night sky absolutely breathtaking. It was so beautiful in its simplicity. A wide expanse of darkness, scattered with stars and a brilliant moon. Gazing upon His craftsmanship, I forgot the cane, I forgot the pain. I forgot my struggle and worries and confusion. I forgot. I remembered His grace. The Creator's hand is truly magnificent.


I am beginning to wonder if it is ever possible to leave the paths laid upon your mind as a child. I mean, you can step off the path you are on to deliberately choose another. You walk on it, following its twists and turns, and come to realize that after a long journey you are, in fact, back on the same path. The scenery is different, deceptively so. But the steps you are taking follow those lessons you learned as a child. Eerily familiar, hauntingly so.

I find myself standing on a path I left eighteen years ago. I find myself remembering the dangers. I find myself remembering the comfort. I find myself wondering if I could navigate it more successfully now, with what I have learned, than what I did then.


Today, a co-worker helped me open the bathroom door, blushing a bit since it was not of his gender. He quietly said that it was hard to see me in such pain and that he hoped I got better soon. He'll never know his words were more of a help than holding the heavy door away from my cane.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Fellow workers ask: What is wrong with you? What did you do? Did you hurt your leg? Ankle?

I answer: Nothing. Too much. No, I have MS. I overdid it and am having trouble walking.

Response: Silence. Turn and walk away.

What I wish I could say: What you can't see is the blurred vision, the tingling in my hands and feet, the strange dizziness, the pain, the weakness in my hands that make holding the phone difficult, the cognitive struggles that make dialing the phone difficult, writing difficult, remembering difficult.

Family calls. Another lecture about what I shouldn't have done. No concern. No empathy. No support. Just criticism.

What I wish I could say: Why does this journey have to be so difficult? Do I matter so little to you that you cannot, just once, ask how I am? Hold your tongue on your lecture and give encouragement instead? Why must I walk this road alone?

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Thursday night a storm pushed through, leaving me writhing in bed. I hurt so much that I couldn't sleep, as tired as I was. I also finally had to admit how much the spasticity in my legs has been causing a problem. Perhaps it was that I am having trouble walking. Perhaps it was just my fatigue. Whatever the case, I couldn't escape either the pain or the knowledge that perhaps there is more than one piper who needs paying.

I tossed and turned, curling around my body pillow trying to ignore the pain, knowing that once the front was through I would feel better. But as I lay there, I started thinking about how much my legs hurt when they were bent. I don't lie with them straight because doing so hurts. But now having them bent increased the cramping in my hamstrings and calves and made the spasticity worse.

I should be stretching. I should be working at lengthening the muscles in the back of my legs. I am, however, a wimp. I cannot sit with my legs out in front of me without tears leaking from my eyes. I cannot attempt to bend over in that position without much grunting and whimpering. Doing so is simply too painful.

I don't have anyone to challenge me, to encourage me to push through the pain. I know that if I would do so each day, then I would hurt less...eventually. Kashi gets upset whenever I am upset, so he dances around me and keeps me from stretching. I use him as an excuse to stop. Weeks go by before I try again.

But I cannot stop thinking about how much tighter and more painful my legs have become.

I tried stretching today.

It is confirmed: I am a wimp.

Friday, February 03, 2006

"Be undeniably you."

This is the current slogan employed by Lenscrafters. A nice concept. Laudable? You might think so, but I think that as far as the workplace goes...being undeniably you should be the furthest thing from your mind.

I know that I always seem to walk a half step behind others. Somehow I missed how to be a human being in my formative years. I know that. I know that I am a wallflower, one who shines best one on one. I know that I am near a failure at mingling. Small talk is not a virtue of mine. That is who I undeniably am.

But I do work well one-on-one. I treat others with respect. I do not give back like for like. I work well with strangers who have no expectations of me. I work hard. I work smart. I work with a passion for service and the good of the company. I think about how all fits together and purse what is best for not just my portion of the company, but for the whole. I multi-task with the best of them. I am efficient and often accomplish a sheer prodigious amount of work. That is who I undeniably am.

But the latter part of me seems not to matter in light of the former.

Why can I not be undeniably me? Why can other not see me as the talented but awkward person I am and spot me a bit of grace?

No, do not be undeniably you. To do so is the path of failure. Rather, twist and turn yourself into a mirror of everyone else. Entrench yourself in the office "game." Take every opportunity to advance yourself over others. Abandon intellectual honesty. Strive for no more than mediocrity. Do this...and you will succeed.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

I'm paying the piper.

I've worked past the point of return with regard to fatigue and awoke yesterday to find my right leg uncooperative when it came to bearing weight. I have lost the use of one or both of my legs when really tired before, so I really could not get upset. I brought this on myself.

A friend came over to let Kashi out and bring me my cane. I ended sleeping the entire day and only getting a glass of milk when Kashi went out again in the evening.

Today, I got up and started getting ready for work, without much use of my leg. But my boss called and quizzed me and told me to stay home. I did go back to sleep for four hours, but I have been working ever since...trying to stay abreast of all that needs doing now and still catching up with that which was set aside to address the changes that came up at work last week.

I would like to complete one task tonight...but I wonder if I should...

I am still tired...