Monday, 30 January 2012

Who do you think you are?

Another day, another song - Jar of Hearts by Christina Perri. It’s the ‘Who do you think you are?’ lyrics that resonated with me because of MyMan deciding he can’t ‘do’ relationships until he has ‘found’ himself. I have a friend who would like to “shake him till his eyeballs rattle”. I can’t help but agree.

Who I am has changed a lot over the last few years. When I first had DX my MS Specialist nurse often told me that I should remember I am still me. I have MS, it doesn’t have me. Except it does. My MS affects nearly every bit of me and my life. I read the Spoon Theory by Christine Miserandino for the first time today and thoroughly recommend it as a way of understanding what it feels like to have a major medical condition: Spoon Theory

The year before DX I was a different person, just getting used to my dad having died. Getting used to being an orphan as a friend slightly thoughtlessly, if literally, put it. I didn’t really understand how badly I was bereaved. Dad died in 2008, Mum in 2005. I don’t remember going through the Seven Stages of Grief but when I became thoroughly depressed with my MS I began to recognise my bereavement. I had lost my parents and I had lost myself.

I don’t know when or if I have found myself but I think I have. Or at least I am on that journey as we all are. I don’t think it’s finite because I think we are always changing. I’m pretty sure I have been a good girlfriend. Supergirlfriend I have been labelled. According to MyMan, I tick all the boxes. And yet now I am alone again.

The real irony is that I may shortly be helping with some publicity for the MS Society Cake Break. I commented on this wonderful lickingthehoney blog spot Sharing a Sharps Bin saying that “I met MyMan at my CakeBreak in aid of MS Society so he knew from the start that I have a lifetime condition.” I went on to say “None of us can truly know what a relationship will turn up.” Little did I know that my relationship was about to end. Little did I also know my story would catch the eye of a Press & PR Officer who is working on the PR for this year’s Cake Break. She finds my story unique. I don’t know if it is. I do know hosting Cake Break had its fringe benefits for me. I don’t know who I think I am believing anyone else would be remotely interested but let’s hope they are. Let’s hope more people join in with fund raising and eating cake. I certainly intend to. Now should I invite the ex-MyMan to my Cake Break this year? We found he does make an exceedingly good cake.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Maxwell's Silver Hammer

This song has been going round my head - Maxwell's Silver Hammer
“In 1994, McCartney said that the song merely epitomises the downfalls of life, being "my analogy for when something goes wrong out of the blue, as it so often does, as I was beginning to find out at that time in my life. I wanted something symbolic of that, so to me it was some fictitious character called Maxwell with a silver hammer. I don't know why it was silver, it just sounded better than Maxwell's hammer. It was needed for scanning. We still use that expression now when something unexpected happens.” Times are bad when I start quoting Wikipedia in my blog posts but at the moment times are bad.

Completely out of the blue, MyMan did the whole “it’s not you, it’s me” speech.  He doesn’t know if he can/should ‘do’ relationships. He ‘cares’ about me a lot – this from a man who has always said he loves me and can see us together in our 70s. It was a blow to the head. And much worse than a few days previously when I fell badly and banged the back of my head hard on the floor.

My GP gave me a hospital sheet she printed off: ‘Advice after a head injury’. I had the accident on a Tuesday. I saw her on the Thursday. Already I had contravened six out of the seven pieces of general advice. The only reason I hadn’t broken the seventh is because I don’t do contact sports.

There does not seem to be a similar advice sheet for what to do after your boyfriend unexpectedly decides he is not sure about whether he should be in a relationship. I think I have to go along with the general piece of head injury advice under the heading ‘Long-term problems’: “Most patients recover quickly from their accident and experience no long-term problems.”

I am in a holding pattern. The relationship may not be without hope. I love MyMan. He is going through a difficult time. I have only just come out of a period when I thought I was going into relapse. He says that I still tick all the boxes for him. It’s not me, it’s him. My head hurts.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Pythagoras Theory and other things I've forgotten

This may be a short post, not because there aren't many things I have forgotten. It's more that I have forgotten what I have forgotten. Yesterday I strangely remembered forgetting Pythagoras Theory.

I used to be good at maths. My dad was a mathematician and a few years ago I even played Ada Lovelace (look her up) in an interactive production which meant learning more mathematics than I'd known before.

But many more years ago, long before diagnosis (BDX), I was working on a project involving an outdoor performance with a train structure that would convert into a cake (don't ask). To make the slices of cake I was working with triangles and needed to use Pythagoras Theory for the dimensions. I couldn't remember it and, in those ancient days, did not have use of Google so couldn't find this:

Having inexplicably remembered my Pythagorean lapse yesterday, I realised I still couldn't remember the straightforward equation a2 + b2 = c2 so I looked it up.  I recognised and understood it. Today, again I couldn't remember it. I also couldn't remember the Spanish for garlic. This is not related except that I needed to know the latter to communicate in an Austrian restaurant.

Again this was BDX. It was a Valentine's weekend surprise. I like to know at least some words in a language before visiting another country.  I didn't expect to be in a German speaking country. I hadn't brushed up on my vocabulary. The waitress spoke no English, I didn't recognise all the German words on the menu so we were talking in Spanish. As a vegetarian in a big meat eating country, I wanted to check what I could eat. I had never learnt the word knoblauch for my German 'O' Level but I did learn ajo whilst doing Spanish 'O' and/or 'A' Level.  I didn't remember ajo when the waitress said it. She had to resort to bringing a head of garlic out from the kitchen to show me. Again today I couldn't remember either word. I think both of those lapses in memory are entirely forgiveable and, even without my faulty scrambled eggs, quite understandable.

However, today I also struggled to remember the name of the actress I was assigned during a New Years Eve party last night. I could remember many of the eliminating questions I had asked, and the yes/no answers I got but not the name. It was like playing the game again. On my own. And then I got the name back. Kate Winslett. One of the other guests had said it was highly appropriate for me to be given that person to be because the dress I was wearing was like one she would suit. The red dress. I think it was a compliment. I silently applauded myself for remembering Kate.

One of my early MS relapse symptoms (not that I knew it at the time) was completely forgetting the well used, familiar pin number for my ATM card. I know it now and I'm not telling you. No, it's not my birthday though that is in less then two weeks' time - a gentle hint for anyone who knows me!

I think I am now used to forgetting things. I forgot how I had met three of the other guests at last night's party. I had shared two long car journeys with the family just a few months ago. It didn't particularly matter that I couldn't remember this. Nor is it important that I don't know Pythagoras Theory or the Spanish for garlic. But for 2012, I would like to remember. Remember what? I don't know. I've forgotten.