Originally printed on nellieknevesauthor.blogspot.com 3/11/18
A Tale of Short Term Memory and Multiple Sclerosis
Are you familiar with the book by Laura Numeroff titled, if you give a moose a muffin? If you aren’t, do yourself a favor and read it. Yeah, I know it’s a kid’s book. Trust me, it’s worth it.The book is about a moose and a little boy. The little boy gives the moose a muffin, but then the moose needs jam. The jam triggers another thought and another, and before you know it they are waist deep in puppetry and the house is a disaster, I mean, a whirlwind of fun.
I’m that moose.
And I bet on some days you’re that moose as well.
I’m that moose because I start my day with the big plans, but more often than not I come up short, and with a mess to show for it. I’m that moose because when my sweet husband arrives home at the end of a day, he often finds a trail of good intentions all leading to an exhausted woman who has tucked herself into bed while dinner is half prepared on the kitchen counter.
Let me just walk you through a day with this moose that is me.
I wake up, and somehow manage to hold it all together in order to get my daughter to school. When I get home, I see a bag of potting soil in the breezeway. It’s a nice day and I think, hey I have those sunflower seeds in my drawer. I should plant them. I walk inside, kick off my flip flops and notice the carpet is pretty dirty. I pull the vacuum into the hall, but the thought is gone, or at least morphed, and I really should get all those spider webs that are catching soot in the living room. Like a boss, I suck up all those nasty buggers, until there’s one web that I just can’t reach.
I need a chair.
Makes sense to finish this now, so I go to grab a chair from the kitchen and notice the bench that needs to be sanded and stained. My sweet husband built the table and benches from scratch and all I had to do was sand and stain them. Guilt overwhelms me and despite the fact that they weigh more than I should carry, I start dragging one out the door.
Geez, look at that laundry. Does it multiply when left alone? Is it like gremlins? Is someone feeding it after midnight? Knowing it won’t take that long to fold it, I carry a basket into my bedroom, passing the bench and the abandoned vacuum on the way and sort of remember I was doing something, but don’t worry guys, I’ll be back.
I dump the basket on the bed and return for the second basket, the one that is actually two baskets worth because I don’t want to make a third trip. But I notice a smell coming from the washing machine and when was the last time I cleaned that thing?
Front loaders, am I right?
Baking soda reminds me that I haven’t made cookies, even though I promised my daughter I would as she dashed off to class. Once more guilt takes precedence and I start baking some chocolate chip cookies, because they’re fast. I cream the butter, add the sugar, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla, eggs, oh my gosh, the chickens! I haven’t filled up their waters. Obviously living creatures need my attention before baked goods. I add the flour, glob twelve cookies on the tray and put them in the oven.
I’ll be back in ten minutes.
See, best of intentions… Of course I find a few more chores along the way-
Rocks clouding the path.
Discarded watermelon rinds
How did this plastic cup get out here?
Maybe I should let the chickens out to free range today. The sky is clear, I don’t see any hawks. They’ll just swoop down and take off with a chicken, by the way. We lost one earlier this year and I buried her under the new peach tree.
I haven’t checked on that peach tree lately, I really should.
At least I get the waters filled and the chickens out before I venture into the orchard. The tree looks good, new leaves, and new growth. Thanks Bellatrix, the chicken, RIP.
I walk back to the house, but my boots are muddy from the orchard, so I go in the back way, through the laundry room. Oh, there’s the bench halfway through the door. Don’t worry bench, I’m coming.
Why is there so much smoke? Oh shoot, the cookies. I pull a blackened tray out and set it on the cook top. Sigh. What time is it anyway? 1:30. Why is that an issue? School is out at 2. My phone rings and it’s the school. Minimum day. Oh shoot, I’m half an hour late.I run out the door, drive as fast as legally able, and apologize a thousand times to the office staff. I’ll make them cookies later. Oh shoot, the cookies. My daughter wants something special for dinner and of course we don’t have the ingredients, but she got an award for math today, so I really want to make it special. Hello mom guilt.
What’s a thirty minute drive out of the country to the store in the suburbs?Or two hours. We bought a pizza for dinner because she’s got soccer, then activities at church. Thank goodness my sweet husband is working late and I’ll still beat him home. Around 8 I pack up my girl and we trek back out to the house.
I walk passed the potting soil, oops.
Then the front door carpet that needs vacuuming, darn it.
Followed by the bench, the burned cookies and the abandoned vacuum.
The spiders have taken the vacuum as their own. She’s gone now.
But at least I have a pizza, right?
It’s this moment that my sweet husband usually comes home and gingerly picks his way through the ruins of my best intentions. He takes the pizza, preheats the oven, and keeps my life in order.
What would I do without him?
Now, you may think, I’ve been there. And maybe you have. Maybe you’re super busy and juggling fourteen balls at once. I wish that was my case.
I have Multiple Sclerosis. It’s a degenerative disease of the nervous system. Symptoms range from numbness, to eye problems, to motor issues and more. Since it’s a snowflake disease no two cases are the same. We’re all fancy snowflakes with our own set of super fun problems.
Sarcasm is my number one medication.
I was diagnosed 5 years ago, and my short term memory has taken a severe hit during that time. Some days, I don’t have that much of a problem, but other days I’m that moose. The second I leave a room I can’t remember not only what I was doing, but that I was ever doing it at all.Yes, it can be frustrating. At one point in my life I was a Super woman and moose is a big transition from that. It’s an inter-species change, people. But, I’ve learned some tricks that help.
Lists. I make a lot of lists. I also lose a lot of lists, so be ready for that.
I make the same list in a couple different places, on my phone, on a note pad and on a chalkboard in my kitchen. I have an enormous chalkboard calendar that keeps track of upcoming appointments, and that coupled with my phone gives me a fighting chance. I stop myself before I start something new. As much as I tell myself I’ll totally remember. I won’t. Or I start a project when my sweet husband is home because somehow he keeps me grounded.
I practice self care. Ugh. Why is this one so hard? My short term memory is worse when I’m stressed out, and I have found that is not only frustrating, but it’s not safe either. Know your limits and slow down when needed.I’m only five years in, and every day is an adventure with MS. I am still learning and growing, but I’m also not giving up. I never said I didn’t like being a moose. I mean come on, who doesn’t love a moose?