THE ODDS (Debbie Does ALS)


Oh no...

Yesterday morning I woke up with a sore throat, specifically a sore left throat. It hurt to swallow, oh, how it hurt. As the day progressed the pain abated but, as I got ready for bed, it returned in full force. I popped a pain reliever and went to bed, and dreamt that I was fainting. This morning, the right side of my throat complained along with the left. I now have the sorest of sore throats. Bleah.

What I am not looking forward to is the chest congestion that ALWAYS follows a sore throat, at least that is my experience. My cougher isn't coughing so well these days.


One of my favorite recipes (a recipe for dasister)

 1 beautiful sister
 2 strawberry champagne cupcakes
 4 new movies
 1 bowl of popcorn (with extra butter)
 Mix all together and warm at room temperature for six hours.
 These are the ingredients for a perfectly wonderful day.

 Thank you, Wendy. I love you.



My left shoulder and collarbone are feeling a mite poorly today. Why, you ask? Well, it's because my two curly ALS toes decided to drop me on my AL-ass last night. It wasn't so much the fall that caused the shoulder/collarbone complaint, it was the hoisting up from the floor--my caregiver's only recourse was to hook me under the arms and lift with all her might. Clearly, I need to work on my upper body strength if I'm going to pull this type of prank in the future.


I let her win

Another thing my darling Jenny does during our morning repast is stretch and straighten my right arm; it feels wonderful after a long night of being  bent across my stomach. Even better, she stretches my thumb away from my hand. Pure bliss.

While she was stretching my thumb this morning, my dear girl decided we should thumb wrestle. Guess who won.

More wisdom

Working in the outreach department of our regional library means that Jenny must visit a number of retirement homes. The stories she tells about the residents are hysterical: the woman who has three books and doesn't NEED anything from the library, the old man who hit her with his cane (she was not harmed), the man who likes Disney Channel DVDs, and others. Her telling of these encounters is so comical and I laugh like the immoderate fool I am.

Jenny had just given me a sip of coffee when she told me she was visiting Disney Channel man today, to bring him new episodes of The Suite Life of Zack & Cody. I found this so absurdly funny that I choked on my coffee, losing the entire mouthful.

Poor Jenny felt so bad, and uttered a new nugget of wisdom: "the journey from joke to choke is very short."


Not in a tree...

I had one hell of a dream last night. Here, in no particular order, are the events that occurred in my Land of Nod.

Cast of characters:
ALS patient 1
ALS patient 2 (very pregnant)
patient 2's caregiver
patient 2's OB/GYN
team of random neurologists
random group of Becky's friends
a couple of young mothers with their small children
a  group of random over-50s, including a man I met at the bank in 1997 or 98 and Craig T. Nelson.

I was on a train, sitting near ALS patient 1. He wanted to listen to his iPod on the train platform (which, curiously, floated beside the moving train), so we both went out and sat on the metal bench outside the door to our car. Neither of us were in wheelchairs; he sat comfortably on the bench, arms outstretched and legs crossed. I was using my MacBook, typing with both hands.

Back on the train, I sat with patient 2 and her OB/GYN, who asked me the date of my last breast exam. When I said it was more than a year ago, he performed one right then and there. Patient 2 and I chatted casually until the doctor informed me there were several lumps  under my left armpit.

Patient 2 and I went out to the platform only to find it was a marshy wetland. Walking through this made patient 2 very tired. Her strapping caregiver appeared and carried her back as I followed. There was a moment of panic because we could not find the door to our car. When the door (with a large number 3) was located, everyone was relieved.

Now  seated on the train, I plugged in my laptop; the outlet was unique as it accommodated any sort of plug. Patient 2's caregiver asked if he could use the outlet, when I said yes he did a fist pump. I yelled, "Project 2600!" which drew appreciative smiles from those nearby.

At the end of the car was a group of Becky's friends. They were goofing around near an open door when one of them lost his grip. He was consumed by blue electric light; as the train moved on the blue light grew smaller. Becky was sad and told me this particular friend was special to many people.

I saw that  patient 1 was back in his seat.

My sister and I were visiting churches, looking for living saints. We decided not to go to Notre Dame because all the saints there were already dead.

After taking a shower, I gathered my clothes and was distressed because they were wet. Becky pointed out some dry benches (shaped like pieces of pie) and I arranged my clothes.

Also on the benches were many pieces of loud, gaudy jewelry intended for fashion dolls. These caught the attention of a group of little  Pakistani girls (not sure why I knew that) and their mothers, so I gave the jewelry away to them. As it happened, we were next door to the jewelry factory  and were able to see the jewelry making process: the components of each specific piece were in a tray which was placed in front of a worker (dressed a la Sailor Moon), after a piece was complete a new tray appeared.

One of the mothers was very pale. Her name was Lily. Several of the little girls were also quite pale,  due to white makeup that stopped at the neck.

A neurologist wheeled me down the aisle, asking me questions like, "can you walk?" "do you burp?" etc. He and his team advised me my responses would be judged by how long I took to answer. All the neurologists looked alike. As we made our way down the aisle, I noticed a little bag on the floor; I could not tell what was in it but I thought it was a stuffed animal.

Suddenly a woman called out that her baby was missing. Little toys scattered all over the floor. I suggested someone look in the little bag but, when they did, all they discovered was a large piece of candy shaped like a star.

I was taken to a room where Jenny was waiting for me at a table. On the table was a Toshiba scanner, a gift premium I received with a recent purchase. As Jenny and I admired  the scanner, a small crowd of people over 50 gathered behind us. Included in this small crowd were Craig T. Nelson and a man I met at the bank in the late 90s. I looked over at Craig T. Nelson, then at the man...who was smoothing my hair. When he saw me look, he began smoothing Jenny's hair, too.

This is where I woke up. Thoughts?



No Kevin Bacon

During breakfast this morning, Jenny told me one of the women in my neighborhood wanted to know when she might visit. Curious to know how she contacted Jenny, I asked if they were friends on Facebook. Smiling, Jenny said that my neighbor asked her son to ask his girlfriend to ask her brother  to ask his ex-girlfriend (Jenny) to ask me. Talk about six degrees of separation.


It's not the drugs, it's my imagination. Really.

From the no-longer-so-stupid chair in my room I can look out the window and see my neighbors' tall fir trees. You will probably think I'm nuts when I tell you that each day I see something in the branches: a pirate face, a clown face -- each day brings a new image. Today I saw the outline of a cat's head,  one that might have been drawn by Modigliani. Imagine the face below tilted sideways and with pointy ears on top of its head, that's what I saw in my neighbors' tree. Oh, and a maniacal goldfish.



Maybe a couple of beer koozies?

You know what I really, really don't like? I don't like how dry my mouth becomes when I sleep.

In order to breathe comfortably, I sleep with my head and chest elevated (thank you, happy hospital bed). Sleeping this way, however, causes my jaw to drop and my mouth to open, resulting in a lot of dryness. Throw in the nightly amitriptyline and you have a hot, dry mess. I wake up periodically throughout the night, conscious of discomfort, and try to close my mouth and stimulate some salivary succor. Any relief is short lived -- once I fall back to sleep my jaw drops and the cycle repeats.

What I need is a chin strap to hold my jaw in place. Neoprene looks to be the most comfortable, stretchy and soft.  I doubt chin straps are available at my local CVS so I will order one. In the meantime I'll have to be creative. Any suggestions?


Pearls Before Swine

Girls tough

Jenny, to me, as she fed me an orange:  Bringing breakfast  to you is like Tuesdays with Morrie because I come bearing food.
Me: But I do not impart any words of wisdom.
Jenny: Well, I think words of wisdom. Does that count?

In other wisdom news, our very own Rebecca Sophia ran her first marathon in 3:58. (And that is So-FEE-a, not So-FIE-a, which is how they pronounce it down here.) Congratulations, Becky!


Once upon a time....

Good friends, good race, good times. Quantico half, September '06.

So many miles...

 Yesterday I had a lovely lunch with my dear friends Mel and Suzanne. The restaurant -- one of our favorites -- is located in Woodbridge which meant someone (Mel) had to come fetch me. Taking into account the fact that she lives in Northern Virginia, it was quite a haul for her.

I am very blessed to have family and friends who are willing to drive the distance IN TRAFFIC. Recall  the visits/outings with my sister -- we are talking several hundred miles. Not only  is the time spent together a gift, so is the time spent driving here and then driving home.

I wish I could still drive so I could reciprocate the kindness, but I think I need more than honey at this point.


On these dates in history

Monday, November 8, 4:17 AM
Monday, October 11, 5:33 PM
Wednesday, September 29, 4:59 PM

What do these dates have in common? I will spare you the scatological details, but I am getting VERY tired of this shit.

More dreamin'

 Last night I dreamt I was in the lobby of a big commercial office building. The floors were polished to a glossy sheen, the windows sparkled,  the wheelchair ramp -- which provided access to the elevators -- curved from the left side around to the right. There were quite a few people moving about; as I made my way I realized I was walking. Looking down at my feet I discovered my lower legs and feet had been replaced by aluminum poles and thick wedges made of gray rubber. The rubber was flexible enough to simulate a heel strike and toe push, and  each wedge was wide enough to provide stability. Amazed, I called to everyone to see how well I walked. A man standing nearby pointed to me and told his companion that I'd done a lot of marathons.

If only it were that easy.


No excuses

There are one or two -- or  more -- occasions in my life where I am guilty of not living up to my own standard.  Memories of these actions reside in a dark little spot in my  mind and when I think of them I am ashamed of myself; if I could go back in time I would correct my behavior.

I recently committed another thoughtless act and I am more ashamed of myself than ever before. My thoughtlessness was unintentional but that is no excuse, I erred and hurt someone I love very much.

I am so very sorry.

Mr. and Mrs. John Wallace

 October 27 was Becky's birthday and I was at a loss about a gift. As is the case with all my daughters, she is very particular and it is never easy to find just the right thing. Because she used to play with Barbies when she was little and because of her upcoming wedding, I decided a wedding dress Barbie would be fun and appropriate.

Becky visited two days later and we gave her the package; she opened it and laughed and told us it was perfect. She started to say something else but,  when she started to cry, asked Jenny to finish for her. Jenny then told us that Becky, John Wallace, and John Wallace's father and sister were coming out to the house on Tuesday, November 2, and that Becky and John would be married.

This was a "just in case" wedding. We are very big on insurance and that's what this is. The March wedding is still on and I plan to be there.

Aren't they a lovely couple? Actual photos to be posted upon receipt.

Guess who

I'm sure you remember my entry about fat ALS Bowbie. Well, here she is...


No more wax and feathers...

I wish this was me.


McGee's Marauders

 You couldn't have asked for a better day. Perfect weather, minimal traffic, flat course. And best of all, incredible women. We had a wonderful time maraudin'.


From Jenny

Hospital bed is happy.

Not a poppy, but pleasing to the eye nonetheless

 I received this Christmas cactus as a gift in 2004. From 2004 until 2007, it produced an occasional flower but nothing spectacular. From May 2007 until just a few weeks ago it did not produce a single flower. When I retired in May I brought it home and put it in the serenity room; I'm embarrassed to admit I didn't pay very much attention to it. You know, out of sight, out of mind.

 My little plant was watered but not regularly. Shortly after a recent watering I was  surprised and happy to see little buds all over. After three years of nothing, now this!

Is this the secret to successful Christmas cactusing? Heaven knows I've never had a green thumb.


Quelques choses

  • I love my hospital bed. Consequently, I hate my stupid chair less than before.
  • I am officially covered by Medicare. I don't feel any different.
  • Today is a very special day but I can't say why. Just trust me.
  • Last June I ranted about a stupid girl who parked in a handicapped space because she did not know how to parallel park. This comic reminded me of that episode:

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