April 2008


I just saw a friend of mine off, taking a nice open-moonroof windy evening ride down the West Side Highway. She’d come up to help me get through this last attack. We hadn’t seen each other in ten years.

One week ago, I did the thing that everyone is always saying to do, rule number one, don’t be afraid to ask for help. I did. I was at the end of my tether. It was the middle of the night, the pain was really bad, I was in The Chair (that’s the hideously uncomfortable armchair I get stuck in when I’m ill) and couldn’t get up, my husband was on Round Thirty-Five or so of the Dicked-Up FMLA Drama he’s been dealing with at work, and I had no clue whatsoever how I was going to manage the week, go back to school, or get those damn steroids, nevermind simple things like eat or take care of my children.

I put out a Distress Call. Maybe someone reading this even got it. A few sentences, a BCC to the entire “friends” list in my address book. Which resulted in some expected and unexpected offers of assistance, some from pretty far away.

I was terrified about the idea of having someone to stay in my house. I don’t really have friends, really… or rather I do, but not in the “come to my house!” sort of way, more in the I-commented-back-on-facebook-last-month-so-you-must-know-I-care sort of way. I actually met this friend of mine, Miss X, when we both were little La Leche League punk-rock chicks, with our scruffy soulful babies and copies of The Continuum Concept. We met via a parenting email list and immediately bonded as the only non-older, non-upwardly-mobile parents on said list. We met up in an equidistant city with the kids, and kept sporadically in touch. Fast-forward a few years, some really bad times in both our lives, MySpace, and a phone call or two. And then, she was offering to get on a bus and come two states over to help me out with the kids while I had steroids and got better. What’s even more surprising is that I said yes.

For the past few minutes, I’ve been trying to compose my statement of gratitude, because while the help was priceless (and–most rare and wonderful of all–unobtrusive) the simple act of friendship was stunning. Thank you. For three days I shared my space while recovering, and I couldn’t in a million years have imagined that would have worked out.

I was reading Elizabeth’s recent post on death, which struck a chord with a lot of people, and it got me thinking about this whole blogging thing, which I do on rather a smaller scale than a lot of disability bloggers but enough to now “know” people that I don’t know in real life who, seemingly, care enough about me to worry and offer good wishes. And I wonder sometimes if part of the compulsion to not only keep writing but to keep reading, to see what everyone is doing today, is about. I want someone to know if I let go and slip under, if Elizabeth does. I want it to be important enough for someone to say hey! where is she? can I do something? And yes, I suppose if that means I have to join the human race for a while, then so be it.

Save me, O God,
for the waters have come up to my neck.
I sink in deep mire,
where there is no foothold;
I have come into deep waters,
and the flood sweeps over me.

I’m not very good with people. But if this does happen to me, I want someone to see.

I should be used to the infusions by now, of course.

I have IVIG once a month, and supposedly inject Copaxone (aka Drano) every day. However, steroids scare the living shit out of me. My diagnosis coincided with a week-long course of steroids in Roosevelt Hospital, and it took pretty much all the Ativan there was just to keep me from clawing the place down. I hated the feeling in the vein, the taste in my mouth, and the crazy in my head.

Well, these were steroids at home. I got hooked up by my awesome infusion nurse (I just have the one, I’m leery of letting strange beings into my space, so I have a consistent nurse) and then the next few days I got to play with flushing the IV and doing my own infusions. I’m done now.

So is my garden. Holy crap. I told myself I’d only do the anti-anxiety meds if I was, well, anxious, so my MS-addled ass got a spurt of evergy the likes of which I barely remember. Weeding, fertilizing, composting, raking, mulching, planting, transplanting, and hauling broken flagstone from a construction site to make borders. The fam? Convinced I’m insane. The husband? Probably going to kill me when he gets home. The energy levels are still okay, but my actual body isn’t used to doing things like this and the muscles are all “What the fuck, Hala.”

Well, so be it.

Now, if the steroids actually stopped–and can hold off–the relapse. If only. And if the Provigil can keep me up and working–please God. Then maybe. Maybe. I can pull off this semester of school. No incompletes. No make-up over the summer. Just one finished semester. Oh, please. Pretty Please. Really.


That was a nice run, right? Eight months remission? Oh, baby.

At least I can administer my own methylprednisone infusions. So sexy.

No, but what is sexy is the Colours Razorblade I ordered. Wheelchair users know what I mean, the rest of you are like “huh?” That’s all right. Super-short frame for little old me, super strength Twister wheels, bright green with black flame upholstery (because I am a GIRL and CARE about such things) and it’s as cute as a little button. Also like me. Natch.

The kids are lovely. Older one is working us hard for a nose peircing. I have no real urge to say no, since in my book it’s basically the same as the ears. I also think, to put it delicately, that the girl is going through puberty. She’s worried about her skin, she’s worried about her hair. She’s an emotional rollercoaster. If this makes her feel utterly fucking beautiful, if this is her way of feeling like the Queen of the May, I say why not.

The little guy is just fat and happy. As it should be.

The husband. The husband is more of less being subjected to a campaign of hostility and degradation at work. They’re pretty sure that the FMLA is something he invented, just to piss them off. He’s in the market and we’re keeping our fingers crossed.

So, to sum up, I’m un-remittant, fairly un-repentant, have a heplock in my arm and spiffy new Provigil prescription, as well as a whole big shiny new dose of Ambition, that I never had before, that I really want to talk about, since it put in its appearance just as my health went to shit. Should I post sexy infusion pics, like Jen used to?

Maybe. Watch this space.