It’s All in the Day


Tomorrow, I go to my Neurologist for my check-up. I do this every six months. I will be discussing with him; my new shoes made for my feet and my Ataxia and Dystonia.

a·tax·i·a
/əˈtaksēə,āˈtaksēə/
noun

MEDICINE
  1. the loss of full control of bodily movements.

 

dys·to·ni·a
/dəˈstōnēə/
noun

MEDICINE
  1. a state of abnormal muscle tone resulting in muscular spasm and abnormal posture, typically due to neurological disease or a side effect of drug therapy.

 

I am also going to talk about the idea of me having a special type of Ataxia, which is; Sensory Ataxia.

Sensory ataxia

This is ataxia due to loss of proprioception. Proprioception is the sense of the relative position of neighboring parts of the body. It is a sense that indicates whether the body is moving with the required effort and gives feedback on the position of body parts relative to each other.

A patient with sensory ataxia typically has an unsteady stomping gait, with the heel striking hard as it touches the ground with each step. Postural instability becomes worse in poorly lit environments. If a doctor asks the patient to stand with eyes closed and feet together, their instability will worsen. This is because loss of proprioception makes the patient much more reliant on visual data.

The patient may find it hard to perform smoothly coordinated voluntary movements with the limbs, trunk, pharynx, larynx, and eyes.

The reason being is; I see advancement on when I close my eyes. I just can’t do it anymore without falling. I can’t look up nor can I look down; I fall within seconds. I know there isn’t anything anyone can do but I want to see if he thinks this may be happening to me.

My new shoes were taken back and the insert the company had provided for me to have better balance was replaced with a thinner insert. I don’t have the better balance; but the shoes fit better now.

Sometimes I ask myself why do I continue to make appointments with my Neurologist. I already know they can’t help me in so many ways but I keep them for records. I am on someone’s file for what is happening to me and it also helps me keep tabs on my advancement of this thing.

The Dystonia is what also affects my walking. The new shoes don’t seem to help that part. This is where my toes curl under anytime they feel like it.

I’m dealing with all this along with my Parkinsonism.

Parkinsonism is a clinical syndrome characterized by tremor, bradykinesia, rigidity, and postural instability. It is found in Parkinson’s disease (PD)—after which it is named—dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), and Parkinson’s disease dementia (PDD), and many other conditions.

I’m dealing with it all because I know I could be so much worse off. Taking care of so many patients in my life time; things could be a whole different story for me.

And how is your week going?

I Had to Smile


I wrote yesterday about my chaotic week. Full of hurt and loss from loved ones. After repeating to myself over and over, See through your eyes Lord, Hear through your ears, Love through your heart; I am more calm this morning.

I can not control how I am feeling in my heart from people’s actions but I can control how I let it affect me. There is nothing worse than being un-friended by a loved one or knowing there is an issue but the other person won’t allow you to know what it is.

What can I do about it? Pray, give it to God, let him deal with it. He knows how to fix things. The other thing I do when I get to bombarded by the “stuff” in this world is look for something that makes just me  happy, and this is what I did.

I went to my favorite second-hand store. I looked at everything, knowing I had a budget I had to stick to. I saw this piece that I had been wanting for about a month. Every time I went inside this store, there it sat.

Yesterday, I decided; this would make me smile. This would make me feel good every time I went into my bathroom, which is where I placed my new piece. Here is a photo of it and yes, I am still smiling over it.

53607315_10216096966311562_4653028729373589504_n

It is about four foot tall. It is slender which fits my bathroom perfect. I filled it with toilet paper and soaps. I love it. Of course I love old things. What do you think? Do you like it? Do you ever buy yourself treats when life gets you down? Does it help when you do?

Filling the Gap


Paul spent most days in a routine. He began by waking promptly at five in the morning. He read a chapter in his Bible then got dressed. In the kitchen he started his coffee maker and then stared out the small window while listening to the noise of the coffee perking and inviting memories to help set his day.

After eating a bowl of oatmeal with butter and honey, he tidied up the kitchen, grabbed his jacket and hat, then headed for the garage. He guided his car to the three blocks ahead, turned down the little, gravel path and shut the car off. There, he sat for however long it took to make him feel the comfort he needed.

His wife, Anna, had been buried here seven months ago this day. She had passed a way from a grueling disease. It was a long battle and they both had not won. It was a neurological disease called Multiple System Atrophy.

Prior to this disease, their map of life had been drawn by thick, dark lines. Travels to Arizona and New Mexico had been penciled in. Sights of a large cruise ship sailing along the waters was in the making.

Then, out of the blue, Anna started running into things. Her fingers began to have a tremor in them. It seemed, as Paul remembered back, that each few months, a new symptom arrived. He could remember her first fall, her first choking, the day she got weak while tending to her flowers. Everything was crystal clear now but back then it was a train traveling fast on the rails; a real blur.

“I miss you so much Anna. Life is definitely not the same. I now no longer dream of tomorrow. In fact, I tore up that map.” Paul waited, as if for a response from Anna on what he had done. Feeling nothing, he got out of  his car and stood in front of the flowers he had planted.  When the time felt right, he got back in his car and headed home.

Once home he let the noise of the television and the chimes of his clock keep him company. In the midst of this one afternoon, a knock at the door interrupted his thoughts. Opening the door, he saw his friend  Gene standing before him. He let him in and they both sat down in the living room.

” I haven’t been able to stop thinking about you Paul. I figured I would just come on by and pay you a visit. How are you doing my friend?”

” Oh, I’m fine you know. No new aches or pains. God let me breathe in a new day. I went down and visited Anna. I told her how much I miss her.”

“That’s exactly one of the reasons I stopped by Paul. There is this woman at church that I think could use your help.”

“Oh”, Paul said as he laughed,”I’m not interested in any sort of relationship. It just hasn’t been long enough. My mind is always on my wife, Anna.”

“Oh, I didn’t mean that kind of relationship”, he said as he slapped his hand on his pants with laughter. “I mean, she is hurting. She’s got some sort of sickness. She’s been feeling all alone. She says no one understands how she feels. I figured you are a sensitive man. Maybe you could just be a good listener. This would be a good opportunity to get yourself a new friend; something to add to your day.”

Paul didn’t say anything and Gene didn’t push the topic. Instead, they turned to the weather and what the week hoped to bring. After about an hour, Gene said it was time to go. Paul walked him to the door and they patted each other on the back. “See you in church Sunday.” Paul nodded.

The days went by and Sunday arrived. Paul got his Sunday clothes on, grabbed his Bible and headed to church. He smiled and shook hands with the greeters. He spoke about nothing important to others. He headed down the aisle to his seat he sat in each Sunday. There sat his friend Gene. Beside him was his wife, Gloria and beside her was a woman sitting in a wheelchair.

She looked at him and he at her. He nodded and sat down, thumbing through the church bulletin. The choir began singing and Paul sat and thought about what was being said. He listened to the sermon which was on people helping people.

Afterwards, there was a church dinner. This church had a carry-in every couple of weeks. It was a nice time shared among all. It gave purpose to the day and week ahead. Paul found himself sitting between this lady in the wheelchair, Gloria and Gene sitting on the opposite side of the table.

Talk was light. Smiles were shared. Gene introduced the stranger. Star was her name. Paul found himself watching her as she ate. She dropped food at times. It looked like she was struggling a little with swallowing. He wondered what condition she had that made her do that. It threw him back to his memories of when his dear wife did that too.

After the dinner was done, people either helped clean-up or headed out the church doors. For a brief time, Paul and Star were the only ones left sitting at the table. They exchanged words that would not be remembered later.  Soon the silence could be heard. Everyone had left. Gene and Gloria got their coats on and the two helped Star with her coat on. They helped her to their car and Paul followed, watching them help get Star situated.

Weeks turned into months and it seemed every Sunday a new routine had been formed. Paul sat with Star and the two opened up more and in time they became good friends. Paul would share his memories of his wife and Star would share about her life and medical condition.

One Sunday, Paul had been invited over to Gene and Gloria’s house for dinner. When he arrived and being let in; he noticed immediately that Star had been invited also. Paul didn’t get upset. Instead, he found himself sitting next to her on the couch. The two chatted while dinner was being finished. In face, the two chatted so much, Gene couldn’t help but smile to himself, knowing he had made a good decision on introducing the two.

The following Monday, after Paul returned from his visit to see his wife, the phone was ringing as he walked through the door. He answered it to learn that Star had fallen and was in the hospital.

He felt a tug at his heart that he didn’t expect to feel. He thanked the caller and went about fixing himself his lunch. This consisted of some left-over baked chicken and a half of a baked potato he hadn’t eaten before.

He tidied up and decided to go to the hospital to see Star. He learned she had fallen out of her wheelchair while trying to reach for something and this fall had caused a broken hip. After the completion of the ER, Star was transferred to a room upstairs for a few days of observation and to make sure she was healing properly.

After that time went by, she was transferred to a local nursing home for rehabilitation. Paul learned she would be their approximately six weeks. Now, after his usual routine of daily living, he also added the daily visits to see Star.

He brought her little trinkets that sometimes included her favorite candy, or a new book to read. He stayed most days until the supper hour. He found himself wishing he didn’t have to leave. Star felt the same way. She couldn’t hide the fact  from herself that Paul brought her friendship which included a feeling of peace and a lingering to have the next day’s visit arrive.

There seemed to be a lighter step in Paul’s life. He told himself over and over he didn’t love Star. He could love no other woman except his Anna, but yet, this new friend, stirred something within him.

After a couple of weeks went by, Paul made his usual visit. He entered the empty room. Where was Star, he wondered. He walked out to the nurse’s station to learn that Star had been having a temperature and her lungs seemed congested. They had her transferred to the hospital for further investigation. Paul thanked the nurse for the information.

He took the one rose he had brought with him and laid it gently on the pillow of the made bed of Stars. He left the building and headed for the hospital. When he entered, he asked what room number she was in. The receptionist told him and he took the elevators to the fourth floor.

There was Star. She was laying in a bed. IV’s were hooked up to  her. He saw two of them. A monitor was keeping track of her blood pressure and heart rate. Star wasn’t talking. She was so quiet it scared Paul.

A nurse came in and checked on Star. She smiled at Paul but said nothing. Paul pulled up a chair close to Star. He watched her sleeping. His thoughts turned to prayers to the almighty God. He felt a tear drip on his folded hands. He knew in his heart that he had come to know and love this woman.

He started whispering to Star. He told her how he felt about her. ” I don’t know when it happened dear Star, but some where along the way, I grew feelings for you. I hope you can hear me. I just have to tell you this because I want to know if you feel anything for me other than friendship.”

He held her hand but nothing came out of her mouth. He sat there for hours, waiting for her to open her eyes. Suddenly her eyes twitched and she opened them. She looked at him but said nothing. Instead, she squeezed his hand. He took this as she was answering his question, that yes, she felt something for  him too.

Paul squeezed her hand back and then kissed her hand. He beamed and the two shared an emotion that would never be felt again. Paul finally decided he had to leave. His watch told him it was time for supper. He leaned in and kissed her forehead and whispered that he would be back the next day. Star closed her eyes and went back to sleep.

Paul stopped at a small restaurant that served home-cooking. He ordered the special, meatloaf dinner. In this was a thick piece of meatloaf which included mashed potatoes and green beans. It was way too much food and he requested a take-home box for the leftovers.

When he arrived home, he turned the television on. He tuned in to some game show. He listened to it but kept thinking about what would Anna be thinking about Star. He fell asleep and was woken to the sound of the phone.

“Paul, I’m going to stop by in a few minutes. Get your coat and hat and be ready to go. There’s been a change at the hospital with Star. You and I are going to go visit her.” Paul hung up and got ready.

In no time at all they went through the double doors of the hospital and were standing in the doorway of Star’s room. Two nurses were in there. They saw Paul and Gene and hung their heads in silence. They took the white sheet and covered Star’s body then walked up to her friends and patted them on the back. “I’m sorry gentlemen. She just couldn’t fight it anymore. The infection in her lungs just got too big.” The nurses gave them a hug and walked out of the room.

Paul and Gene walked over to the bed. Paul reached down and felt Star’s hand through the sheet. He held it until Gene whispered ,”It’s time to go I think.” Paul let go of her hand and kissed his palm and transferred it to  her forehead. The two turned and left in silence, Gene’s arm around Paul’s shoulder, patting him, like everything is going to be okay.

 

Will everything be okay? Is death something that we can heal from?

Is it possible to love twice in a life time? 

Life sure doesn’t seem fair at times does it?

God placed us on this earth to learn and feel love towards others. For those of us who have experienced these feelings, we somehow manage to go on with our lives, but the void left behind never fully closes.

This story was written by;

Terry Shepherd

02/21/2019

Are You Ready Too?


It’s been a moving forward but slow last week. I pulled a muscle in my lower back. I don’t even know when I did it. Years ago when my daughter was born, which was in Germany, the doctors used the Spinal block for their drug of choice to deliver a baby.

Today, forty some years later, I can’t stand to have that spot touched. I’m sure Mr. Arthur has been settling in for a long-term relationship with me. I babied my back. I used OTC medications and my rice bag. I laid in bed quite a bit.

Yesterday, was the first day I could actually go through my day with only ten percent pain. It feels good to be back to my usual self. I am hoping that this week I will also receive a phone call stating my shoes will be ready to pick up.

With my Ataxia, it is  hard to stand steady and I will try anything that may help my feet. I hate that feeling that I am going to fall or the weeble wobble that my body does.

This week I will return to my volunteer job and there are doctor appointments and government meetings. I pray all will result in positive news.

The skies are something I wish I could change. The gray and brown colors are mainly what I see daily. Spring is coming though for us here in Indiana. Robins and Geese have been seen and these are good signs. Did  you know that Robins will not arrive back here in the mid west unless they are sure they won’t have to go a day without food? They are very smart birds.

I am so looking forward to greener grass, the smell of fresh air, the birds singing and watching the first flowers pop-up above grass levels. What about you? Are you ready for Spring?spring-season

Ah, The Hell With It


When you look in the mirror
Do you see horror or do you laugh
Do you recognize the person
Or do you feel you’ve been given the shaft?
 
When you crawl out of bed
Do you do it with ease
Or do you stop and fumble
Feels like falling to the knees.
 
If you rolled up your hair
And put make-up on your face
Do you think this would help
Make you feel part of the race?
 
When you go potty first thing
Do you look at your skin
Have you noticed the bags
That hang from your shins?
 
When you slip into clothes
Do you go for the look
Or do you put clothes on for comfort
Like a fish on a hook.
 
When you turn on the TV
And you see those faces
Does it make you want to go out
Buying up all make-up places?
 
I went through my stages
Of trying to keep up
Now I’ve decided to be comfy
And quit wondering what’s up.
 
Written by,.
Terry Shepherd
terry

Be Thankful for Today


Even the dog doesn’t want to go out to do his business. Instead he prances at the door and then runs the other way when I turn the door handle.

Yes, this is that sort of day. I’m not going out. It is too darn cold.

cold

See? I told you it was cold today! Yesterday, I decided to go outside and start my old clunker before this cold set in today. I did get it started. It was a slow start, but turned over. The snow was completely frozen. It was so bitter cold, that I only managed to scrape the windows and one side door. I just couldn’t take standing out in the wind.

Last night, my ear started hurting and today, I am doctoring it myself. I get earaches easily and thought I had my ears covered well, but maybe not. If it doesn’t get better by Friday, I will seek medical help.

I wouldn’t be able to get to the doctor today anyways. I am not chancing getting out. These are the days that it seems babies are born and unusual injuries happen.  I remember the Blizzard of 77 here in my town. A snowmobile had to bring me diapers for my son. I had run  out, so yes, today I am staying in.

I have been inside for this entire week for the most part. It is a time we can let ourselves become droopy if we let feelings get out of control. I can remember when school was dismissed at times when it was not scheduled. I was thrilled. I loved having my kids home. We just went with the flow kind of day. Today, it is just me. I tend to sleep more and remain in my P.J.’s more.

I used to feel bad about not jumping out of bed and guilty if I didn’t get dressed right away, but who really cares, but us, what we do inside our home on a frigid day. I can say that although m living area is not the ideal living situation for Senior Citizens; I am very thankful for the roof over my head today.

Cities surrounding me and my own town  have set-up facilities for the homeless because of the cold. It is so  hard for me to say or type the word homeless. We shouldn’t have this in our town. Warsaw is supposed to be the biggest Orthopedic Capital of the world, but as you can understand from my post, not everyone works at these companies.

The temperatures will be very close tomorrow as they are today. Friday we are supposed to rise to fifteen degrees. Hey! It’s above freezing! Monday we are supposed to climb to the upper forties.

I will finally be able to go back to my volunteer job plus I have an appointment with a medical place to get special shoes made for my feet. Hopefully this will help me.

So where ever you live, what ever the temperatures, no matter how long you have been trapped inside, remember, it could be worse. Be thankful for today. Tomorrow is not promised.

A Tease of Snow


Today is the tease before the storm here in Warsaw, Indiana. This weekend we are supposed to get 3-6 inches plus. This is what the weather on the news is posting. I had an opportunity to be a passenger and go to a doctor’s office in another city with a friend of mine.

I had my phone camera so took some photos so you could see our tease of snow.

winterwinter2winter3winter4winter5winter6

We Are Here for a Reason no Matter the Age


As most of you know; I have been a caregiver for what it seems half my life. I have a deep desire to care for others. I like knowing that I had something to do with how they feel about themselves and life.

 

Since I have become disabled myself, it is hard to have to look at me as one who needs help. I received my Life Alert pendant and machine yesterday. It was very simple to hook-up and now I wear a companion around my neck. When I am cooking or taking a shower; it is nice to know that I really am not alone any longer. A push of a button sends help if I truly need it.

 

I help people on my Facebook. I try to continue to educate those with M.S.A., but I miss actually getting out and going to help others. We sometimes believe that when we grow older; life will really not change that much. The only one who could possibly change is ourselves in our health.

 

This isn’t true though. The people who we invite into our lives, their lives change also. Sickness comes, money problems, loss of some type; life continues on and this allows me to still be of help at times. I friend of mine is in a health crisis at this point, and once again, I am going to be able to help out with some caring experience.

 

I ask for prayers for my friend. Prayers for God to enter their heart. Prayers for healing. These are the two most important issues I can think of at this point. So if anyone believes in prayer, please remember me in them.

 

terry

The Long Month of January


Hello my friends. Well the holidays are over. No more stuffing ourselves with Thanksgiving. The change purse is dry from Christmas and now we here in the northern part of Indiana wait.

 

What are we waiting for? Well, some are waiting for the usual snow we have plenty of by now; but it  hasn’t arrived. I’m sorry, but for me, less is more. Now that I am older, snow is my enemy unless I’m sitting inside and watching the flakes fall.

 

There are lots of comments being made. No snow in December or January is a promise of over-load in February and March. I don’t know the future. I will have to deal with what is given me; but for now; I am fine.

 

January is the longest month of the year for me. It always has been. Maybe it is because it is long and boring. No real holidays in it. The back to the normal groove thing returns and the days tick down until a lot of people get their tax refunds. At this point of the government shutdown, who knows when those tax returns will happen.

 

I saw a post on my Facebook a bit ago which stated,”Count the Mondays.” I got it immediately. I suppose if you live in the southern part of the country,  you may not understand but up here, if you can count the Mondays in the long month of January, it will promise to get you closer to Spring.

 

February is a time when I will be thinking more of Spring. The farmer commercials will be posting on the television. This is a good sign that Spring is coming. I will be starting to watch for the Robins to reappear. When they arrive, it means that there will not be so much snow that they won’t be able to find food and shelter and Spring is near.

 

Animals say a lot about your weather. Have you ever watched the squirrels gather nuts for winter? On bad winters, you will still see the squirrels in early December, storing nuts. The Catapillars, the ones who crawl so slow and have beautiful colors, these creatures turn a dark black if our winter here in Indiana is going to be a vicious one.

 

As for me, I have been fighting something for four days now. I don’t have a temperature or aches and pains, but instead, I am nauseated anytime I eat. This circle includes a trip to the Ladies room no matter how little or much food I put into my mouth. I have lost four pounds in four days. I am glad I am experiencing this during our winter months.

 

I don’t get out much in the winter time. It’s too cold. Aged skin cracks and burns. Eyes sting, and the thoughts of playing in the snow are exchanged for will my walker get through the snow and ice. Here where I live, that is doubtful. There is not sufficient cleaning in the parking lot so there are many grooves of ice. I just don’t want to fall down at this point in my life. I do go out if it isn’t too cold or snowing and go to my volunteer job. I try to go twice a week during the winter and I will go at least three times per week or more in the warmer weather.

 

I didn’t go to church today. This matter of my stomach is just a little too much to deal with during a church service. I do have one thing to look forward to in the month of January, 2019. My daughter is coming for a visit. It’s been quite a while since I have seen her and am looking forward to a visit.

 

Another thing I am looking forward to is; my insurance is covering the expenses for me to have Life Alert for my falls. It will bring me comfort knowing I am now not alone here in the apartment, or too far away from a pull light, or definitely when I am taking a shower. It will be worn on my wrist and if I fall it triggers the alarm company. If I don’t answer the second chime, this tells the company that I am not alert. I believe from what the company said, is that I will receive my wrist band and plug in box in five to ten days.

I know this is not a big deal to most but for someone as unsteady as me and who lives alone; this can be a real life savor.

What about you? How do you get through the long month of January?

 

2018-2019


The time has come to say goodbye
Not forever; not going to keep those memories shy.
It’s a new year you see, everyone waiting
Excitement definitely seems escalating.
 
 
For me it may be different than for you
I won’t be partying as you do.
I move forward with caution; eyes wide open.
Hope in my heart, feeling memories again.
 
 
I will pray for a closer walk with him up above
I will share what I have and give to all those I love.
I will sometimes sit alone, a choice I will make
And run the movie of memories which I have made.
 
 
So I say to you, two thousand eighteen
It’s been a trip; one I’ve never seen.
I will welcome in two thousand nineteen
With hope in my heart and a soul that gleams.
 
Written by,
Terry Shepherd
terry