Oct 202012

Over the past 36 hours I have done lots & lots of thinking about my adventure into the great abyss. Since that night I have been sort of dazed & pitiful. I don’t like feeling this way. The best way for me to process it all is to write it down and find some perspective. Even if I don’t gain any perspective, it’s hopefully a cathartic action that might lead to some sort of epiphany about the current state of my being.

Beginning with the most superficial of feelings, there are now a few new huge dinks in my pride.

-I came into my own as an adult when I figured out that I have value. I figured out that I was smart and had the capacity to learn more. Over time, other people began to value me for my smartness. I took great pride in that. I even ended up being the “go to” person in some areas for those in my life. Again, I was prideful of that. When I think about it, I think the amount of pride I had in my smarts was a result of feeling like a boob during most my youth and young adult life. I felt like a dolt, an idiot, a useless ditz. I was dumb, I was stupid, I couldn’t tell my ass from a hole in the ground. Now I know that wasn’t really true but in that time, it is what I believed about myself. So when I finally saw that I was smart… wow! That was a real whopper. And now? I have reverted back to that dolt.

-I was so terribly embarrassed to face the coaches the following day. They all looked at me with such pity in their eyes. They walked around me as if I was a fragile little thing (in reality I look like a big fat tick, albeit a cute tick, but a tick nonetheless and we all know ticks are not so fragile at all!). Pride rears up its ugly head. I hated to think about what might going through their minds. Do they consider me a drama queen? I can imagine most people hear the story of my adventure and don’t understand what the big deal was. As much as getting lost is a pain in the ass, it’s not really THAT big a deal… just turn around, find your way back. But this is so much more. It’s that my mind isn’t working correctly. It’s that I couldn’t think in logical ways. It’s that there was no ability to problem solve. Critical thinking? Nope. And there is that pride again. Does it really matter what they think? In the grand scheme of things, no, it doesn’t. But tell my pride that.

-Emotional strength is something that I valued. As a young person, I wore my heart on my sleeve and had no way to control my emotions… or I hadn’t learned to do that yet. Over the last several years I had gotten a good handle on that. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still very emotional. I cry at the drop of a hat. But I had learned to control it. I reserved my emotions for my private time or for when it was appropriate. The other night I had absolutely no control whatsoever over my emotions. The rapid escalation of fear and sadness was overwhelming to me. And it spilled over onto everything & everyone. Pride has been bitching me out about that ever since. What happened to that strong woman of yesterday? Where did she go?

Next on my list is the knowledge that my MS is progressing, obviously. I have always maintained that I will find a way to deal with the physical shit this disease deals me. Just please leave my mind alone. Well, that’s not happening. When I lose the ability to reason or critically think, the ability to connect the dots and process information… I don’t know what to do with that. And for me, it makes it so much worse that there is one area of my mind that is completely aware when it happens. I KNOW I am confused. I KNOW I’m being dramatic. I KNOW I should be able to figure it out. But the part of my mind in control of that moment isn’t working right. I am so angry and so sad and so, I don’t know…. I can’t believe that I’m losing the ability to process and reason. Once again, here I go being dramatic. But those of you who are or have been in my shoes know what I’m talking about. There is something that is so humiliating about not being able to reason something through – things that you KNOW, things that are familiar, things that have been a part of your life always. Suddenly you can’t process it, whatever it is.

Over the past 36 hours I’ve been given all sorts of well-meaning, well-intended advice on how to avoid this happening again. I have GPS that couldn’t find me, I have maps that I can’t read.Yeah, my mind couldn’t read or process a map at that point. If I can’t figure out how to call someone for help, how in the hell am I going to read a map to figure out where I am and where I need to be, then find the path to get there? There is no way others will understand this ever.

** Actually, my daughter and my father have both given me some good ideas. They involve the ability to ping my phone to locate me as well as talking to me on the phone while they are on a navigation site to guide me home.

I am more than willing to listen to and try out most any idea anyone has to offer up. At this point, my driving has been greatly reduced… and when I do drive somewhere, paranoia is now sitting on my left shoulder holding his head high, the little bastard!

So, in the end, the getting lost part of this adventure really isn’t that big a deal (except that I was probably in a bad area)… what makes it so awful is why it happened and how am I going to deal with it. The injured pride, the loss of a little more independence – these are the things that make it so awful. Pile on a little of that emotional lability shit and the world goes to hell in a hand basket QUICK.

There is more but I can’t remember what I was thinking… it will come back to me I’m sure. And this is just another example of how things are working, or not. Pft.

Being an adult is like looking both ways before you cross the street and then getting hit by an airplane.

  10 Responses to “Processing the Adventure into the Great Abyss”

  1. I’m sorry you’re having these cognitive issues to deal with. Me, too. What I hate most is that DH assumes that anything I don’t understand is MS related, and he refuses to clarify because “it won’t make any difference.” Pshaw. Sometimes he is just incomprehensible, and he’ll never admit to it. But now it’s always MY fault when I don’t “get” something.

    I haven’t gotten lost yet, but I don’t live where I’m driving on unmarked roads. That has got to count for something in your situation, Sherri. You’re driving in an area that is new to you, and your GPS couldn’t help you out. I’d say next time just call 911 an explain the MS cognitive confusion thing and maybe they will guide you home.

    • Calling 9-1-1 is on my new list of instructions. Yes, I made a list of instructions… things to do, step by step, when I get lost again. That is just plain ol sad that I have to carry a list around. I let my family know where I keep my list in case I forget that as well haha Now all I have to do is remember to call someone next time.

      I haven’t heard the term Pshaw in so long! We used to say it all the time when I was working in the hospital back home!

      So far Coach has been very understanding and hasn’t gotten aggravated with my cog issues yet (that I know of… he just might not be telling me). I feel very lucky there.

      Today at the school, one of the other coaches how I enjoyed my visit to Palmview, which is where I got lost…. I flipped him off quite promptly LOL

  2. Here I go again reading post in reverse order. I really do apologize. When I fall back on my blog reading…anyway, I also fear when the brain starts losing it, I must say with MY MS as with all symptoms, this one was worst in first 15 years. I would be at staff mtg–blank. My co-workers were so nice about it. But now, knock on wood—I have been stabily (?) okay. I think, I mean how can we really know? At 30 I once took a test for job promotion, studied hard, day of exam–blank, looked like Latin. I found it…fascinating. My mom has Alzheimer’s, so…I am just doing best I can while I can. I too had an intellect that got praise, so when it is gone—who am I and who will care? (Besides MY “Coach.”) No advice…I had to give up my beloved car many years ago. Keep the faith though, I think my brain improved over the years. I do think you should take a brave soul with you when possible. I agree stressing about it makes it worse and Dad had a good idea.

    • Dementia runs in my family and is something I’ve thought about. I can’t imagine something like dementia or Alzheimer’s on top of an already compromised brain. I’m going to be a crazy loon for sure! I’ve told my daughter that I’m going to come live in her back yard, die my hair some crazy color and she’ll just have to forgive me as I run around naked in the neighborhood haha

      It makes me sad to think of what I used to do. My job was so complex, life & death, high stress stuff. I read my job description on my resume and it breaks my heart.

      I read posts in reverse order too when I get behind (which is often)…. many times things don’t make sense and I have to go back a few posts to figure out what I missed LOL

  3. It sucks. I have found that the more upset I get at my mind letting me down the less it is able to process anything, which gets me more upset and so it goes. When I can, I step away from the issue for a while, and come back to it when I am cooler (minded) and calmer. Easier said than done, and that wouldn’t have helped AT ALL when you were lost.
    Sending hugs, empathy and sympathy.

  4. I really understand Sherri, not that it makes it any easier for you to deal with…but know you are not alone. I don’t drive much further (alone) than the grocery store anymore. I miss my independence, I miss solo road trips and adventures, most of all, I miss being a fully functioning person..

  5. I understand more than you can possibly imagine. Hang in there. (hugs)
    Stay inspired!

    • Thank you Michelle! It means a lot to know that there are others out there who do understand… although I hate that anyone would understand it because that means you’ve dealt with it as well….

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