Not Old Enough

January 2, 2012

“There must be a day or two in a man’s life when he is the precise age for something important.”
~Franklin P. Adams

Back in “my day,” turning 18 was epic–old enough for emancipation from parental rule, to legally buy and drink 3.2 beer, and to vote. Twenty-one was eagerly anticipated by the 3.2 beer crowd wishing to try the harder things in life. Overachievers.

In my early 20s, talk of retirement seemed an eternity away and pointless. In retirement visions, I pictured myself tanned and stylin’ on a tennis court with a handsome senior man, without wrinkles, firm, and athletic. Imposed early retirement was a brutal reality smack-down with my SPS diagnosis at 36. I lost my dream of the tennis court and celebration for turning 65 with a party from my co-workers, complete with presents.

The next milestone was qualifying for an AARP card and all of the membership advantages of turning 50–once again getting ‘carded.’ Deja vu, with beginning wrinkles.

I received some information in the mail about a very interesting social/intellectual/exercise program for individuals 55+…not quite ‘old enough.’ I am going to check into it anyway. Just a minor technicality, I turn 55 this year.

I am not old enough to be racking up the equivalent of cha-ching bonus points on a prescription card, watch older women walk effortlessly in a mall with envy, or have my social calender filled with doctor appointments. Nobody is.

Chronic illness or rare disease is non discriminating regardless of age, ethnicity, beliefs, or gender. NORD, (National Organization For Rare Disease), is our

Copyright © 2012

Hoochie Mama

January 2011

“Cultivate your curves – they may be dangerous but they won’t be avoided.” ~Mae West

A friend and I were going for a walk at the mall combined with shopping for two ‘must have’ additions to my wardrobe: a pair of black dress pants and a gray skirt. She understands about my SPS, so was unfazed at my army camouflage print baby stroller (surrogate walker) to carry my 50lb. purse, hiking pole, and bottled water. With my SPS perception, going into a mall is leaving rear flank obscurity to charge from the front line in an active war zone.

I love to go shopping with a girlfriend. Unlike a man, girlfriends are not bored to a glassy-eyed catatonic state while you are in the fitting room on Mission Impossible to find a good fit to enhance your figure–for a reasonable price. When you need an honest opinion, a girlfriend will give it to you straight, not a beleaguered, cookie-cutter, “It looks great, Sweetheart. Ready to go?”

I found a church-appropriate length pencil skirt. On my slender frame, I looked like Olive Oyl. Opening the door, my assessment was confirmed with my friend’s opinionated, “You need a shorter skirt.”

Girlfriends also understand the importance of color. Charcoal gray or pale gray. “Go with the light gray. Summer is coming,” her female wisdom suggested. I hadn’t thought of that. So the shorter pale gray skirt it was.

Sunday morning, I decided on wearing my new pale gray skirt with a black sweater and lacy black nylons. SPS decides to wrestle with me. After a 10-minute aerobic, contortionist match on the couch, I triumphantly donned my fashionista pantyhose in a victory over SPS symptoms.

I was feeling fashionably good as I went to church. My girlfriend approached me with a big smile and said, “You’ve got your hoochie mama skirt on.”

From Olive Oyl to a hoochie mama. I have to plead innocent. I was influenced.

Copyright © 2011

SPS- Hammered & Screwed

October 6, 2010

A successful tool is used to do something undreamed of by its author.
~ Samuel Curtis Johnson, Sr.

A special space for just me – my own computer room! The oversized, clunky computer hutch was about to become trash pick-up roadkill. (Or bounty for those who peruse the neighborhood under the cover of night looking for curbside ‘treasure.’)

Entering a furniture store with giddy visions of a streamlined and efficient computer desk, I was informed by the salesman they did not carry computer furniture. Helpfully, he offered that Office Depot had a great selection; only they do not deliver and come unassembled. For $90.00, Office Depot assembled his desk for him and he was able to get it into his oversized ‘guy’ vehicle. (But as a ‘guy,’ he could not assemble it?)

Discouraged by the transport smallness of my mid-size vehicle and the word “unassembled,’ the $90.00 price-tag was a death nail in my budget…not to mention my SPS limitations and potential challenge and stress. I struggle keeping a semblance of me assembled?

I headed to Wal Mart for an ‘unassembled without delivery’ computer desk within my financial means and hauling home trunk capacity. For $69.00, a trim trio of a cheap overseas computer desk, filing stand, and bookcase in one of the smallest boxes seemed to be an SPS doable.

In a triumph of determination over ability, I managed to scoot and slide the box out of my trunk. A year ago, I had purchased a small dolly for a surrogate walker/transport for heavier purchases, but never used it until now. SPS trembles and sweat resulted in a victorious perch of my computer ensemble onto the dolly, just to have the handle disengage. My neighbor noticed my distress and came to my rescue.

Dismay and disbelief tickled my SPS triggers as I looked at the 20-plus pages instruction booklet. Thankfully, all of the hardware was segregated in a plastic packet labeled as YY, WW, etc. All I knew was assembly required a hammer, screwdriver, and doctorate in Rubik’s Cube solution. With SPS, I have immense experience with being hammered and screwed. Daily working through my SPS struggles seems like solving a Rubik’s Cube blindfolded.

Identifying and separating the many wooden pieces into three potential furniture piles, (How did all of this come in one small box?) turned my living room floor into an SPS obstacle course.

With my hammer and screwdriver, I battled aching hip joints, back ripples, and aerobic-worthy sweating to slowly construct wooden piece A with hardware WW with syndrome-learned patience and fortitude. An occasional standing break had my SPS triggers of spatial paranoia and rigidity plague me during my water gulps.

Hours later, I am SPS hammered and screwed. (No, not an evening at the corner bar with Jack Daniels and a stranger?) In a victory for the home team, (me) I hammered and screwed a deceptive small box of numerous parts into an impressive trio of updated office furniture.

From which I type…

Copyright © 2010

Stress Rehearsal

September 26, 2010

“Reality is the leading cause of stress for those in touch with it.” ~Jane Wagner

“There cannot be a stressful crisis next week. My schedule is already full.” ~Henry Kissinger

‘They’ (Whoever they are?) say “stress will kill you.” SPS unleashes a maniacal stress Trojan into my neuroinhibitory modem. Norton, aka modern medicine, does not have a fix, just temporary patches, for this destructive worm.

If I were dealing with ‘normal’ stress like a death, over-seeing homeland security, or “Do these jeans make my butt look fat?”…life would be less complicated, maybe more tolerable. SPS stress has an ADHD antibody doing an overdrive on my emotions and perceptions over a carpet wrinkle, a sense of hurry, or unfamiliar territory…everyday simple compounded with serious reality…overstressed for the occasion of healthy and happy living.

I think I am de-stressing my life, but things keep piling up like a worst case episode on Hoarders, cluttering my senses, thinking, and derailing my quality of life. I let too much ‘can-be-eliminated’ accumulate, a never-ending stress rehearsal.

Once again, I evaluate me and call in my stress-buster S.W.A.T. team to be a cheering audience as I perform a Gypsy Rose Lee striptease to a parody of Let Me Entertain You.

(Take the stress off – take it all off…)

Let me entertain me
Let me make me smile
Let me do a few tricks
Some old and some new tricks
I’m very versatile

And if I’m real good
I’ll make me feel good
I want my spirits to climb…

Copyright © 2010