THE ODDS (Debbie Does ALS)


I forgot.

Last night, after everyone -- caregiver, best friend visitor, eldest daughter, youngest daughter's boyfriend -- was gone, I craved a bit of a snack. There were some very healthy Pringle's potato snacks (salt and vinegar flavor, yummy) in the kitchen and I asked Cecilia if she would please get me some. In very short order she brought me a small bowl filled with chips, then blew me a kiss and went to bed.

It never occurred to me to ask her to help me eat my snack. It was a snack, a simple finger food. When her bedroom door clicked, so did my brain -- with the realization that finger foods  are not so simple.

There I sat, in my stupid chair, my laptop desk balanced on each arm, a bowl of complicated foodstuffs positioned to the left of my laptop. The first thing I had to do was move the bowl to a more secure location, namely the space between my rib cage and the center of the desk; this feat was accomplished by tilting the bowl and sliding it across the keyboard and into position. Success!

Now, how to eat the damn food. Lacking a pincer grip forces one to be creative; finger food becomes  hand food. The only way I was able to grasp the idiot potato chips was to slide  the first three fingers of my left hand and scoop a chip (or two or three) up against the knuckle of my curved thumb. Keep in mind that all my digits are shiftless and lazy and do less and less each day to earn their keep. (How do you like that, I began and ended that sentence with the same word. I'm sure that's bad form.) Anyway, just because the chip was scooped did not mean it would stay scooped so I had to make sure delivery to my mouth was properly managed.

With  my hand looking like a lobster claw with a Pringle's potato chip peeking out, I raised my left arm as high as  possible which, these days, is just about chin level. The only way to get that stupid chip in my stupid mouth was to stick out my tongue and hope for contact that lasted until the  chip was extricated. This process was repeated far too many times considering the quality of the food I was eating, and not always successfully. Several times the chip didn't quite make it to the mouth and rappelled off my chin onto my shirt, requiring a completely different but equally tedious process. I bet there aren't many people who get so dirty  eating something so simple.

When I was finished I heaved a sigh of relief.

You may be wondering why I went to such trouble, why I didn't just put the chips to the side.  I considered it but the bowl was too heavy and its position on the laptop desk was inconvenient and intrusive. After I emptied the bowl it was light enough to move and there was nothing in it to spill.

It doesn't happen too often anymore, but it does happen. I forget I have ALS.   And I forget my limitations... until I am challenged by a little plastic bowl and some little potato chips.

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