Wings Are Clipped But She's Still Flying

A couple of issues ago I rained all over you about my current health problems, the first being that the bone tissue of both femoral heads (those knobby little things at the top of your thigh bones that fit into your hip joints) had been chemically destroyed by some long-ago high dosages of prednisone. Then, upon a more recent quicksand escape, the jagged, coral-like surfaces of those femoral heads set about chipping away the hip joints.

Hopefully, a couple of surgeries will soon have all this resolved, but until then I have decided that as long as the gods have put pain and limitation on the menu, I might as well learn from them. After all, to learn nothing from an unpleasant experience is to suffer for nothing, and who am I to waste all this perfectly good misery?

Mindful that it was the side effects of a prescription drug that first got me into this mess, I decided right off not to take any heavy duty pain medications. No chemical brew not found in a health food store would go into this body. This has led to a predictably lousy experience but the lessons have been fabulous.

WAY LESS MOBILITY.

Emotionally, my first impulse was to dive-bomb straight into a rerun of those first years with MG. You know the ones - can't move, scared to death - cut off from all the reassuring ways you'd taken for granted - but then I realized a critical difference: I wasn't scared. This time the chilling, grey, face-off with the Demon of Disability was in the past. This time the enemy was boredom.

Welcome, if you will, the wild and wacky world of electronics. Today the internet brings me the world any time, day or night, starting with BBC news and videos. Netflix pops movies into my mailbox and, in addition to books, the public library has tons more movies and music, all for free. And the Library of Congress' "Talking Books" program sends a steady stream of treats for when my vision is goofy. (Be sure to ask your local librarian about The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. It's super.)

Not always, of course, but sometimes this reduced mobility business can be whipped with just a little creative problem-solving, bringing all manner of delicious victories no one will ever know about - like when I finally figured out how to get down to (and up from!) the floor to block a nasty air leak that was savaging my record as a good eco-citizen.

ISOLATION.

Otherwise known as the reason God made telephones. Between phone chats, email and the Internet, the friendly folks at Verizon adore me. And phone visits mean you don't have to clean house.

HUMAN KINDNESS,

as in, "the milk of ..." While out and about using either a walker or both canes, I have been dumbstruck by the unexpected kindnesses of strangers. So far no fewer than eleven (!) people have greeted me with a smile, asked how I was doing, chatted a bit, and then politely moved on. Who were they? Beats me. Never saw them before, haven't seen them since. But thanks to the amazing grace of these fearless souls, I was emboldened to discover that I can make it across the supermarket all the way from the bread to the milk; that I can stand another three minutes in the post office line; and, yes, I can get back in my car and drive home.

Dear friends, never underestimate your inborn ability to empower someone in need. The next time you see someone in obvious discomfort, please look them in the eye, give them your most radiant smile, and say, "Hi, how are you today?" They won't think you're nuts. They'll think you're wonderful!

LOSS OF FAMILIAR ACTIVITIES.

My current limitations have made me realize that most of the things I used to do, I did out of habit, not joy. What a really dumb way to live! Clearly it's time to let go and move on, and that's exactly what I'm trying to do. Some of my friends think my world is becoming eerily small, but I think it's finally getting a little deep. Besides grieving for, or clinging to, all the stupid stuff I used to do will only stunt an inner growth that's trying terribly hard to happen.

Every now and then each of us is called upon to pay some awfully steep prices for our personal growth, but you know what? Sometimes you get what you pay for. Honor the process and you're sure to get your money's worth.

The Successful Myasthenic

For many years, Patricia Armstrong was well known to readers of MG News for her upbeat columns pertaining to coping with the idiosyncrasies of having myasthenia gravis. During the thirty-seven years since diagnosis, Patricia has worked hard to find her balance in life despite her generalized symptoms. It wasn’t easy; a former husband would never get the Nobel Prize for compassion since he was embarrassed and irritated by her condition.

Learning to make the necessary adjustments that MG requires, changing her dreams and setting new boundaries has made Patricia, in her own words, “one strong cookie.” Patricia has parlayed her unique MG experiences and those of other myasthenics into entertaining and interesting vignettes which strive to help others deal with life after a diagnosis of MG.

 

©2020 Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of California.