Thursday, 5 February 2009

Keeping each other warm

Boy, oh boy, this has been a hard winter hasn’t it? (Even before this week’s snow in the UK, weather-wise it’s been the worst.) Short, interminable, dark days; freezing cold. Fear of burst pipes (one upstairs) and power-cuts. Bad enough for anyone, but for an MSer alone, pretty unbearable.

Not having another human being in the house, not being able to move around or keep moving… well, a couple of times already (shivering, etc.), I’ve been afraid hypothermia was setting in; and known it was a miracle when I made it through the night.

I feel – and pray – for anyone alone and in a similar position. It’s tough.

It is my faith, as you know, keeps me going (“Be not afraid”, said Jesus, and I keep repeating the words). Praise God!

And Tom who still pops in (stays sometimes) and helps - or hinders: it’s not always easy to know the difference!

But it’s Lucy who has been, unceasingly, and unconditionally the physical friend-in-need. Gosh, it’s so true what they say about loyalty and dogs, and in a poodle’s case – certainly her’s – well, they’re just so empathetic, so caring: she seems to sense every time I’m feeling my lowest, and to know by instinct whether I need her to be loving (cheering me up, maybe funny) or absent (when she’ll go to her igloo-bed) and quiet.

When my legs hurt so much that I’m groaning, this little, curly bundle will smother them in healing licks, which sometimes astounds me for its generosity of spirit. (Don’t tell me dogs don’t come from – or go to – Heaven. I believe Lucy is truly a gift from God.) And it’s so soothing.

She also makes (horrible to think of, but weren’t toy poodles designed for “ladies” in the cold chateaus of France?), an instant, and constant, “hot-water bottle” to lie in one’s lap!

Oh yes, she’s much better now. Seems to be over her head-shaking, ear-scratching (that Thornit powder is brillant – I recommend it!) problems and hasn’t “attacked” me since we took away the “liquorice” probiotic (just a bit of possessive “You keep away!” barking when she’s with Tom sometimes). All-in-all, a much happier, healthy Lucy, to keep me company on these cold, lonely nights.

Lucy has been a best friend (and me, who never liked dogs!). She’s been great.


And, you know what, I’m going to cut this piece short now…

Because I’m fed up with starting to write a post I want to get out to you, only to be stopped mid-way, by something, someone (often both and to do with the home, i.e. builders, repairs, neighbours) or MS its-bloody-self.

Yep, I’m feeling p---ed off with MS right now. There’s been a pressure-sore driving me crazy when I sit; I can’t stand due to collapsing, painful legs; the bladder and bowels never cease demanding attention (as long as we’re alive, I suppose [and if it’s not mine, it’s Lucy’s!]), and with fatigue making even thinking a positive thought too tiring, sometimes, if I do try to do anything (writing included, which breaks my heart) it takes too long. Time is running out. And I want to cry all the time because I’m cold.


Thank you, God, for all the good things – and there are many. Thank you, Tom, for your unwavering (joke!) support. Thank you, Lucy, for being here. And, thank you all, for encouraging me to keep going and bringing me back to life whenever my head starts to decline.

I’m going to come and lie on this couch more often.


A Haiku

I wrote this for Tom (he’s doing haikus in his evening class) one snowy day, when he was already having the afternoon off to come here and help with a delivery (would you believe, a second freezer?! I must tell you about the wonderful frozen food I’ve been getting…), and I’d asked, nay begged, him to stay in the morning.

My son said he’d walk
to work, through snow and on ice,
to leave my MS.

When I read it to Tom later, he added: “Yessir, climb mountains, and a whole lot more!” So kind.

You know, I’ve witten a few haikus about MS. Maybe I should put together a collection.