Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Second Life

It's been about 9 months since I found out that my request for p/t disability at work had been approved. Since then, I have been working part-time, including an entire month away last May.

It has taken me a while to settle in to the rhythm of work/not work/doing things that I actually want to do. I think maybe I have. One of the immediate benefits I noticed was being able to spend the time I need to on my body maintenance. As my friend Paul would say, I have a lemon. So much so that I considered whether the "Cash for Clunkers" might let me trade-in for a new one. I could go with simply parts replacement, but there's no money in that.

For several months now, it's been one body thing after another. A stupid dental choice (note: if a dentist wants to do work on a tooth that is NOT hurting, don't let him. If it ain't completely broke, don't mess with it.) That choice lead to weeks of tooth pain and antibiotics. Antibiotics at one time were my best friend but now, I have taken so many of them for my MS-related urinary tract infections, I really can barely tolerate them. My body really doesn't like it, and there is a recovery period to get my GI tract and other things back in order...let's see, would I rather have a UTI or a yeast infection? Oh, no need to decide, I'll always get both.

After that I developed a really nasty cold that quickly descended into my chest and is still hanging on for dear life. I think it has been a month. Then last weekend I developed a bladder infection, so more Aunty Bee's. My chest makes me cough, and coughing makes me pee and then I have to go change my pants and start all over again....

I mention all this not as a complaint festival, but to talk about yesterday. Despite the still-clearing up UTI, energetically I felt GREAT. Could not be better. Now, it used to be that every single time I had a UTI (which was quite frequent), I'd have a flare-up, and then I was toast (mmm....toast. I've been gluten-free for a year now). This is my first UTI in about 18 months, thanks to a great supplement I use every morning. So I am astounded not to be having a flare-up. I attribute this to the MS Diet that I've been following. Is that true? I have no idea. Well, I have some idea. But this has never happened before. If it is true, then that MS Diet is my new best friend.

Given the last few months, having a day where I felt that good was like stumbling onto an oasis.
I worked in the morning. Work was hilarious. Then I got myself out and about. I first went to the local "Curves", which is a women-only workout center that has one circuit that everybody does. I used to think it was just too lame for me. But then I stopped exercising. But then they revamped their machines. I think I'm deciding that any exercise with weights or resistance is better than doing nothing, which is what I'm doing now. I've hit that age where I can't get away with my laziness as much.

So I had a great time at Curves. I will go back three times and then decide whether to keep going, month by month or sign up for a year or whatever. I know how this shit goes, and I have to be careful not to dive in too deeply, too quickly.

After Curves, I went over to the Community Food Share to volunteer for a few hours. The CFS is an amazing place. They distribute food to about 60 agencies around two counties, and also distribute to individuals. They give bags of food to all the kids at Columbine Elementary in Longmont, as 80% of them qualify for the free breakfast and lunch program. They basically make my heart swell with joy.

On Monday, I had gone to the orientation. At the orientation were about 4 7th grade boys. They have to do some community service to make the honor roll at their school. They also need straight A's. When I showed up Tuesday, they were there. On my gosh, they were fun. And funny. We were packing bags of pears, ears of corn, apples and cucumbers. Lots of cucumber giggling going on. At one point, I told "Noah", "hey, you're pretty good at packing those cucumbers". Paused for a second......and then said "but I wouldn't go around telling people that :-)". I had a blast. I hope I see them every Tuesday.

When I was about 23 or 24, I was an overnight volunteer for the homeless shelter in my hometown of Morristown, NJ. I was pretty good at it. I loved interacting with everybody. I learned a lot about what happened in people's lives that caused them to end up there. I ended up writing a paper on it for a sociology class at Montclair State University (then college.) My visit to CFS yesterday reminded me of how important working at the shelter was, for me. Something I've always known about myself is that, like it or not, I need "meaning". And I don't get much of it from my job anymore. I'm thrilled to be getting it other places. Yesterday, I used a machine that I don't know the name of, to pickup another thing that I can't remember the name of (45 boxes, 4 bags of food per box, stacked on a _______.) I used the machine to move the _____ into Cooler #2. Except Cooler #2 was packed, so I had to go to Cooler #1. They guy had told me I could live out my greatest grocery store fantasy of banging the entire load of stuff through the swinging doors into the cooler. It turned out to be FAR more complicated than I had planned on, but it was a blast. Now I know how to work, uh, that machine. It's like a new job skill!

Gotta go get kids to school. At work all day for me, so no fun with 7th graders for me...


Anonymous said...


trrish said...

Yes! Yes!! Pallet!!

I guess that maching is the pallet mover??? the pallet lift?? forklift??