How Us With MS Feel

I found this on my fellow MS blogger Gothic Rosie’s site. I reproduce it with her permission. Some of it is pretty darn funny….

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This is a Subjective creative writing page. As such it might be controversial in some ways, you are warned. The Author is Unknown

How us with MS Feel

How us with MS Feel……

When We Say We Can’t do Something Because We don’t Feel Well, Put yourself in Our Shoes By Using The Examples of our Symptoms Below…
– Painful Heavy Legs: Apply Tightly 20 LB ankle weights and 15 LB thigh weights then take a 1 mile walk, clean the house, go shopping and then sit down – how ya’ feeling now?

– Painful Feet: Put equal or unequal amounts of small pebbles in each shoe then take a walk, if we are mad at you we would prefer needles to pebbles.

– Loss of Feeling in Hands and/or Arms: Put on extra thick gloves and a heavy coat then try and pick up a pencil, if successful stab yourself in the arm.

– Loss of Feeling in Feet and/or Legs: Ask a doc for a shot of novocaine in both of your legs and then try and stand up and walk without looking like the town drunk. Hopefully you won’t fall down.

– TN (Trigeminal Neuralgia): Take an ice pick and jam it into your ear or cheek whenever the wind blows on it, or a stray hair touches it. If you want something easier to do, get someone to punch you in the jaw preferably daily.

– Uncontrollable Itching: Glue or sew small steel wool pads to the inside of your shirt, pants and undergarments wear them for an entire day.

– Tingling: Stick your finger in an electrical socket – preferably wet.

– Tight Banded Feeling: Put 12 inch wide belt around you and make is as tight as you can and leave it there for the entire day. How ya’ breathing?

– Shots: Fill one of our spare needles with saline solution, saline won’t hurt you, we would love something worse but don’t want to end up in jail. Give yourself a shot everytime we do our shot.

– Side Effects From the Shot: Bang you head against a wall, wrap yourself in a heating pad, wrap your entire body with an ace bandage tightly then finally treat yourself to some spoiled food or drink.

– Trouble Lifting Arms: Apply 20 LB wrist weights and try and reach for something on the highest shelf in your house.

– Spasticity: Hook bungee cords to your rear belt loops and rear pant leg cuffs then for your arms hook bungee cords to your shirt collar and cuffs on shirt sleeves then go dancing.

– Poor Hearing/Buzzing in Ears: Put a bee in each ear and then put a plug in each one…Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

– Balance and Walking Problems: Drink 100 proof grain alcohol and then sit and spin in an office chair for 30 minutes, now get up and see what happens.

Urgently Needing to Pee: We put a .5 liter remote controlled water bag and drip tube in your pants, we point out 2 restrooms in a crowded mall, then we tell you that you have 30 seconds before we activate the water bag (by remote control) to get to a restroom. Just for spite we may make that 20 seconds without telling you.

– Bizarre and Inexplicable Sensations: Place tiny spiders on your legs or arms and allow them to periodically crawl around throughout the day, heck all day would be good too.

– Pins and Needles: Stab yourself repeatedly with needles all over your body or better yet….Get a very large tattoo in your most sensitive area.

– Dizziness (Vertigo): Get on a gently rocking boat all day and all night and take several walks around the deck with your eyes closed.

– Fatigue: Stay awake for two full days to induce incredible fatigue and then cook dinner, clean the house, walk the dog and see how you feel. Please do not compare MS fatigue to you being tired from only a few hours of sleep – it’s not the same at all.

– Cognitive Function (Brain Fog): Take a liberal dose of sleeping pills but stay awake. Try and function properly and think clearly. To make it even more real without killing yourself of course, take the sleeping pills with a small sip of wine.

– Bowel Problems: Take a 4 day dose of an anti-diarrhea medicine followed directly by a 3 day dose of stool softeners for a minimum of 3 weeks, at the end of 3 weeks sit down on a hard uncushioned chair and stay there till tears appeared.

– Burning Feeling: Make a full pot of boiling water and then have someone fill a squirt gun with the boiling water and shoot it at yourself all day long. However, you can give us the pleasure of shooting you instead…optional of course.

– Intention Tremor: Hook your body to some type of vibrating machine try and move your legs and arms…..hmmm are you feeling a little shaky? You are not allowed to use anything fun for this lesson.

– Buzzing Feeling When Bending Our Heads to Our Chest (L’Hermitte’s): Place an electrical wire on your back and run it all the way down to your feet, then pour water on it and plug it in.

– Vision Problems (Optic Neuritis): Smear vaseline on glasses and then wear them to read the newspaper.

– Memory Issues: Have someone make a list of items to shop for and when you come back that person adds two things to the list and then they ask why you didn’t get them. When you come back from shopping again they take the list and erase three things and ask why you bought those things.

– Foot Drop: Wear one swim fin and take about a 1/2 mile walk, nothing else needs to be said for this one, you’ll get it.

– Depression: Take a trip to the animal shelter everyday and see all the lonely animals with no home. You get attached to one or more of the animals and when you come back the next day you come in while they are putting her/him asleep.

– Fear: Dream that you have lost complete feeling in your feet and when you wake up wiggle your feet, just so happens they don’t move. Think about this every night wondering whether something on your body won’t work the next day when you wake up.

– Swallowing: Try swallowing the hottest chili pepper you can find.

– Heat Intolerance or Feeling Hot When it’s Really Not: You are on a nice vacation to Alaska. It’s 35° outside and 65° inside. Light a fire for the fireplace and then get into it. Once you have reached about 110° tell me how you feel, even a person without MS would feel bad, now add all of the above symptoms – welcome to our world.

Then Finally…

After subjecting yourself to the items above, let everyone tell you that you are just under a lot of stress, it’s all in your head and that some exercise and counseling is the answer.

Exacerbation Exasperation

Exacerbation: make (a problem, bad situation or negative feeling) worse

Exasperation: irritate intensely; infuriate

MS comes in several forms. The first and kindest is known as Relaxing-Remitting. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society defines it like this:

People with this type of MS experience clearly defined attacks of worsening neurologic function. These attacks—which are called relapses, flare-ups, or exacerbations —are followed by partial or complete recovery periods (remissions), during which no disease progression occurs. Approximately 85% of people are initially diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS.

That one is a walk in the park as far as MS goes. I’ve had MS for over 25 years, and as evidenced by recent Facebook posts, some friends I’ve known for 30 years didn’t even realize there was an issue with my health. So what if I’d stagger around a little bit ~ it’s no secret I like my wine and perhaps they thought I’d had a tipple a little earlier than usual (really, 10 am? It was the music business, but anyway…).

Next comes Primary-Progressive. Apparently I opted to skip over this one completely.

This disease course is characterized by slowly worsening neurologic function from the beginning—with no distinct relapses or remissions. The rate of progression may vary over time, with occasional plateaus and temporary minor improvements. 

Then we start into the big daddy part of the equation. Secondary-Progressive.

Following an initial period of relapsing-remitting MS, many people develop a secondary-progressive disease course in which the disease worsens more steadily, with or without occasional flare-ups, minor recoveries (remissions), or plateaus. 

My beloved neurologist Dr. S wrote a letter for me in support of my disability claim stating that I had moved from relapsing-remitting to secondary progressive. Silly me, I thought maybe he was just being nice and exaggerating my exasperating exacerbations for the benefit of my pending claim. On the inside, I knew better. Dr. S wouldn’t do that (be nice, yes; write an untruth, no).

Finally, there is Progressive-Relapsing. This one starts out bad, stays bad, and gets worse.

In this relatively rare course of MS (5%), people experience steadily worsening disease from the beginning, but with clear attacks of worsening neurologic function along the way. They may or may not experience some recovery following these relapses, but the disease continues to progress without remissions.

I thank my lucky stars daily that I am not further disabled. I still hirple around pretty good and manage on my own for the most part. Except. Except for the monsoons.

Spasticity is a common symptom of MS. Again, the NMSS: The word spasticity refers to involuntary muscle stiffness or spasms (sudden muscle contractions). In laymen’s terms, it means that (in my case) I either walk like Frankenstein, or my knees suddenly give out, or my foot drags and I trip. To give you a better idea, I recently visited my surrogate granddaughter who had just learned to walk 3 weeks earlier, and we walked just about the same. It also causes muscle weakness and it is wreaking hell on my gorgeous gams, I can tell you that.

Major triggers of spasticity are heat and humidity. (Southern Arizona! Good plan, Erika!) One of my favorite things about living here in Tubac are the monsoons. Big, huge, towering white spires of clouds that can bring wind, torrential rain, flash flooding, hail and magnificent thunder and lightening ~ it is a spectacle like no other. These storms are often followed within minutes by bright blue skies and enormous full bodied rainbows. It is magical.

But the humidity is hell. And wouldn’t you know that when I was in California last week, they had an unusual and unexpectedly hot and humid spell that brought…monsoons.  So for 2 weeks now, I have been staying inside, sleeping like 15 hours per day, and unable to walk more than 2 steps unassisted.

I realize my best bet might be a move to Siberia. Cool weather, hunky Slavs, vast lowlands and fluffy dogs. Instead, I’m heading moving back to Southern California this fall and leaving my little desert paradise. Hopefully the monsoons there were an anomaly this year and not an ongoing trend. That would really exasperate me!

Grown Up Doctor

How refreshing. Yesterday I went to see the doctor assigned to me for the 2nd round of my SS disability claim. Unlike Dr. Flintstone, she actually gave me a quasi neurological exam! She asked what meds I take, what characteristics my symptoms took on and not once, did she ask me if my children were married or why I lived in Tubac. Hooray! I feel like I might actually have a chance this time. At the very least, I feel the information she submits to the powers that be up on the big SS disability judgement thrones might actually reflect what is going on. Fingers crossed!

Lumps and Grinds

I am generally a pretty sunny person, and don’t like to spend a bunch of time lamenting my lot in life. Overall my lot includes beautiful children, an amazing and loving family, fantastic friends and the gift of a sense of humor (thanks, Mom). But every now and again, something just pisses me off, so allow me this rant.

Eleven years ago, when I was first diagnosed with MS, there were 3 therapies available commonly referred to as the ABC drugs: Avonex, Betaseron and Copaxone. The choices between them were wonderful: weekly injections or every other day injections or daily injections. Golly – how to choose? The first two apparently can cause such bad flu-like symptoms that after injecting, you can be down for the count for days. You’re kidding me, right? I didn’t think that was my best choice. But a daily injection? Ugh.

Fortunately, (I use the term rather tongue in cheek here…) Liza was giving herself up to 6 million insulin injections per day for her diabetes, so I was chagrined at what a pussy I was being; and we were also rich in sharpies disposal containers.

During this time we also had a cat named Lila (sister of the demon Cleo) who got sick and the vet informed me the she would require daily injections. I didn’t think so. She got exactly ONE if you take my meaning….

Anyways….so I chose the daily injectable of Copaxone, as the side effects seemed minimal. My doctor at that time was a Dr. K who worked at USC. He had been one of the early champions of Copaxone (I believe he was one of the developers of it (certainly he spearheaded up clinical trials of it) so he of course agreed with my choice. (Dr. K was great ~ he once told me after seeing my MRI that yes, in fact, I had brain rot. We shared a similar sense of humor…).

When you begin a new therapy that costs over $4,000 per month, it comes with a nurse who makes a house call. She showed me how to wash my hands, open an alcohol swab and how to mix the alchemy that was my shot. When I started this therapy, I used to have to mix up my own potion. I had little vials of stuff that I’d measure out and swirl around until the concoction was ready, and then I’d draw up my own syringe. Egad. It was like high school chemistry all over again. Oddly enough, I flew overseas one time with this make shift lab in my carry on, and nary a word was spoken through security. Must have been pre-Sept 11.

The nurse showed up with support materials: a little stick figure picture detailing the 7 points of entry: left arm, right arm, left thigh, right thigh, left hip, right hip, belly; a little calendar to put on the refrigerator to remind me of which location on which day; and an 800 number for support.

All good, let’s go. I took the first shot in my right arm. H-O-L-Y F-U-C-K. Big giant alligator tears streamed down my face ~ it HURT. In trying to describe it later to my sister I called it Bruise Juice. There was no other way to describe it. You know how when you’ve bruised yourself and you inadvertently lean on the bruise you get a very distinct and unique wave of pain that spreads up to your ears? Imagine, if possible, that feeling being injected into your body. It was the worst.

The capacity of the human body to adapt is nothing short of amazing. In a relatively short period of time the bruise juice feeling subsided, I scrapped the support items and I was jabbing away like an old pro. My daily grind, day in and day out. And then, about 3,500 shots into it, a new phenomenon set in. Scar tissue. I guess it’s inevitable that you just can’t keep stabbing ourself over and over and expect the tissue to remain soft and supple, but it got so hard the needle could no longer penetrate. And I got dents. Dents in my arms, thighs, hips and belly.

Since no piece of cake is complete without a cherry on top, I added menopause into this olio of battered flesh. This change in hormones almost always includes a healthy helping of unanticipated and rapid weight gain, particularly in the middle. I am no exception. So here I am: a pair of skinny legs with dented thighs; a set of skinny arms (I don’t even have flapping underarms) also deeply dented; some good cratered curves on top and a nice comfy and lumpy belly. Pretty.

Now that you have that fabulous imagine seared into your mind, let me explain the reason for the rant. I stopped injecting in the legs and arms as they don’t have the…let’s call it the traction, that the hips and belly do. Now I’m down to 3 locations and they have taken the brunt of the over 4,000 shots I’ve given myself over the last 11 years. This hardly seems fair, so the other day I decided to give the leg a shot. It got all swollen and creepy and I had to run over to a friend who’s a doctor to look at it and then ice it for an hour. So, next up, I tried the arm. Son of a gun if that old Bruise Juice feeling didn’t come burning back through, AND I couldn’t lift my arm for 3 hours.

That is what pissed me off and prompted this rant. We all have to take our lumps in life and I know it as well as anyone, but sometimes it feels really good to just get mad and vent. I feel better now, so I’m going to go back to Googling the new oral meds that are coming out ~ I hope to heaven they are not Bruise Juice pills.

Woody and Hannibal…When Worlds Don’t Collide…

Woke up early. Got ready for the MRI. Alec picked me up and we drove up north and found a coffee shop. Nice hot coffee, one single donut hole to cushion the hastily swallowed Ativan pill, and off to the lab. Fill this out, answer these questions, sign here.

Standing on the defense of a case of first rate denial, I plead absolute negligence in finding out before hand what my portion of the costs would be.  I got the procedure codes from the desk administrator and gave the ‘ol insurance company a call. When all was said and done, my out of pocket expense was going to be upwards of $800. I don’t think so.

This is not a critical procedure to my MS. It was recommended by a doctor who suggested that as my insurance would be running out soon, and I’d had some flare ups last fall, it might be a really good idea to get them done. I begrudgingly agreed with her and hence today’s scheduled appointment. But $780!? Nuh uh. No way. I just can’t afford that!

Nothing motivates me faster than not being able to accomplish something, even something as simple as not getting a dreaded MRI because I can’t afford the co-pay. Watch out world. Once this Atavin wears off ~ as my brother always says~ I’ll be Back, I’ll be Bold and I’ll be Bad!

Woody Woodpecker Meets Hannibal Lecter

I’m feeling very anxious, because tomorrow I go for another dreaded MRI. I think this is probably my 4th or 5th time. The neurologist I met with at the University of Arizona hospital recommended having another one based on the exacerbations I had last fall and before my insurance runs out. I know she’s right, but ugh. I don’t like them.

I am having my brain, thoraxic spine and spine all viewed. Although it is not invasive like a surgical procedure, it is the most intimate encounter with your insides that can be done without using a knife. For those of you who have never experienced this particular procedure it goes like this: you arrive showered and wearing no jewelry or hair product or deodorant, then  gowned and put onto a stretcher type apparatus (a gurney? A bed? A table?). You are then injected with dye. In order to maintain total stillness, your neck is stabilized with a collar type thing and then a Hannibal Lecter type mask is placed on your face and you are fed into a giant, scary tube into a machine.

Sound fun? Now you are told to just breathe deeply and stay calm. Oh sure. What the fuck!? Get me out of here!! Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. Phewww. Ok. Once inside the tube, these mechanical noises from the Alien movie start engaging, and then this knocking sound starts like Woody Woodpecker is circling your head and pecking and looking for the best cranial opening he can find. No wonder I feel like I’m going nuts!

The whole thing takes over 2 hours. That’s right, 2 hours. I take music and headphones, my teddy bear Eustace, and this time 2 valium. I’m not scared of MRIs anymore, but I can’t say I’m looking forward to it. Damn, I hate MS.


Important Papers

My father, Erik, was a construction engineer. He was the kind of Dad that went off to work in the morning with a big leather briefcase filled with papers to some mysterious office somewhere (there was no “take your daughter to work day” back then) and then showed back up at 6 or so for cocktails and dinner.  Next day, same ritual until the weekend which generally included yard work, a SF Giants ball game on the radio and a BBQ.

These were the 1960s, back when the 3 television networks signed off  each night and a good neighborhood game of kick-the-can could last until 10 p.m. Without sounding like one of those internet pass along ‘remember when’ emails, these were good times that required good old fashioned energy and imagination for fun.

Dad’s mysterious briefcase contained some exotic items to our young minds, including carbon paper, change order forms in triplicate and check requests. The advent of computers has made all of these hands on items obsolete, but they held a magic to my sister and me of how grown ups moved in the world ~ a step up from nursing and bandaging our poor stuffed animals imagined wounds (we traveled to Europe as kids on an airplane and so ministered to Tigger and Hippo with packaged mustard samples – very new age, albeit quite messy).

As Lisa and I elevated our play standards from (oh, so childish) nursemaids to (oh, so grown up) business women, our props necessarily needed to change. Dad thankfully obliged with some items from The Briefcase. With such a juicy selection of forms available to us, no doubt our favorite was the bid sheet pad. Basically, it was a paper version of an excel spread sheet.

We invented a game called Important Papers and it went like this: we would take turns sitting across from one another with the pad in front of us. Whoever had the pad would ask the other one Important Questions (like what? I have no idea) and then duly note the answers in the columns of the sheet. All Very Important.

We played this game endlessly. We loved being the Important One. As we really did grow up, both Lisa and I came to realize that much of life mirrored our game. A trip to the DMV, a job review, an application for a home loan or a social security disability claim often seems like just one big game of Important Papers. There so often is someone in ‘authority’ asking inane questions, making notes on a random form and thereby stipulating your future.

It makes me wonder. Although the medium has changed from paper to electronic bits, our world still seems to consist of endless games of Important Papers and briefcases filled with grown up and magical papers. Makes me want to go out and play kick-the-can with my pals, because in the end, the weekend is still yard work, baseball on the radio, and a BBQ.

What the Hell?

Sigh. According to NOAA it’s going to be 102 degrees today. And 107 degrees tomorrow. Really? Pure hell. My fellow MS-ers out there know what that means. Everything that is twitchy, painful, exhausting, numb, jumpy, gimpy, burning or just plain off ~ is about to get worse.

For the most part, I put myself under house arrest and do not go outside. This sounds like a perfect opportunity then to do laundry, pay bills, clean the kitchen, vacuum, go through closets, etc. Not so. Despite an air conditioner that goes up to a Stun setting, the heat permeates the psyche in mysterious ways that deem book reading a major activity. Fortunately, my friends gave me some books to read last night, I have some cold watermelon in the refrigerator, and a house full of many, and very, patient dust bunnies.

I went up to Seattle last month to visit my sister, brother in law and nephews. My sister, as I’ve mentioned before, is an amazing athlete. She runs, rows, does yoga, bikes… all while raising two incredible and active young men, working full time, running a gourmet kitchen and helping her husband start a new venture. She is basically fabulous (and today’s her birthday ~ happy day, Lisa!).

Lisa works out with a trainer in Seattle named Michael. Michael is 1) gorgeous 2) patient 3) knowledgeable 4) kind 5) see #1. As a birthday gift to me, Lisa gave me a session with Michael at his gym (where I’ve discovered my sister is some what of an icon ~ all the women aspire to be as strong as she is). Michael gave me a wonderful series of exercises using bands, light weights, balls and straps. I came home all gung-ho and worked out every day ~ balance was better, the hirple eased up, I slept better. Then…a trip to California, so I missed 5 days….now it’s as hot as hell here, and a workout consists of lifting the lever to turn the A/C up. This is not good.

Writing this is confirming my evolution of morphing into a slug. As much as I may not like the whole bathing suit thing I am going to go right now and head over to the pool for some water jogging. I can see Lisa waving at me and giving me a high five ~ that’s all the encouragement I need. Thanks, sis!

Ah Guano, Get Outta Here

The reminiscence of the Metallic trip got me thinking about some other memorable experiences in this rich, checkered life that I’ve lived to date. There was this one time…

Austin, Texas during the SXSW music conference. It was April and HOT in Austin. Texas hot and sticky. By some miracle or SNAFU, we were booked at the Ritz Carlton hotel for our stay. It was very swanky and very proper. I was only in for the one night so had a quick overnight bag with a change of clothes, a toothbrush, some Copaxone and that’s about it.

After a day of running around Austin in the million degree heat, I had one major mission at the end of the day, a glass of wine. (If it hasn’t been clear before, let me state now that I am a complete wino. I can walk away from beer, whiskey, tequila, gin, brandy, etc., but I love my nightly glass or two of wine). So I headed to the bar, get a nice glass of Pinot Noir and headed outside to cool off and see the sunset.

Austin, as it turns out, is famous for bats. LOTS of bats. Most specifically, they dart out from under the Congress Street bridge at a precise time every night and bat watching is a local past time. The Ritz even has it’s own bat-watching dock! At about 8:05 that night, 1.5 million Mexican bats shot out from under the bridge as if shot from a fire hose and headed off into the evening sky like black clouds ~ really something amazing to see.

Prior to the migration however, I found a bunch of my buddies, clients and co-workers on the bat-watching platform of the Ritz by the side of the river, preparing for the show. It being really, really hot, I made one of the stupider dares of my life. If Mr. No-Fun Guy that was hanging around (I assumed he was a client, or at the very least, a prospect) would take off his shoes and socks (which we all had done, but he would not), I would jump in the river. In my defense, I was hot! The river looked enchanting, refreshing and cool.

Son of a gun, he took off his shoes! A bet’s a bet, so in I went. It was cool, alright. It was also about 100 yards from the underside of the Congress Street bridge which was inhabited by 1.5 million bats…..OMG. I found myself thigh deep in 3 feet of guano slime. Gross…gross….GROSS!

I hauled myself back out onto the dock. We all watched the bats sail by the thousands and thousands into the fading sky. It was magnificent and memorable. I was a mess. Next stop was definitely back into my room for a shower and a change into some fresh clothes.

Tiny problem. The only way back in was through the lounge, the bar and the lobby. This being the Ritz Carlton and Texas, of course there was some sort of formal wedding or cotillion going on and the lobby and lounge were filled with women in fancy voile, tulle, satin and Chantilly lace dresses, replete with matching shoes, bags and wraps. Egad. I was a stinking, seeping, oozing creature from the black lagoon, with a wine glass in my hand, parading right through their midst.

I slithered to the elevator, up to my room and into the shower. I put the offending items into a hotel laundry bag, and tucked it in my suitcase to be cleaned upon arrival home (needless to say, they were beyond saving and had to be thrown out ~ that’s how nasty they were!).

Whew. What an ordeal. Too funny in retrospect, my friends had a laugh, I had a laugh, we chalked it off to Erika’s antics. Then my friend Phil sent me an email. How charming! He had the whole thing on video tape, and turns out his SOB friend (the guy with the shoes) had only pretended to take them off, and the dare was bogus. And he was neither a client nor a prospect.

Right then and there I vowed to behave from that point forward. Ok, just kidding.

Trials and Tribulations

There isn’t anyone, anywhere that would argue that swimming and pool exercises are probably good for someone with MS. The gentle support of the water, the cooling effect on a hot day, all the ducks are in a row. I discovered something though ~ I don’t really like being in the water.

There are several reasons. If I even so much at put my toe in the water, I get water in my ears for 12 hours which is extremely annoying.  Since I can’t work out like the old days; am turning 54 in a few weeks; and have no plans to give up wine, my body doesn’t look so hot in a bathing suit anymore. I don’t like squeezing my substantial bits into some tight rouched (read slimming) slice of spandex. And then there is the hideous sensation of peeling the thing off post swim ~ yuck.

Also high on the list is the whole shaving thing. I’ve never actually met a woman who enjoys shaving, but it is another one of those seemingly no brainer tasks that becomes quite challenging with MS.

I assume I can thank my Scandinavian heritage for the fact that I am pelted like Sasquatch. The fact that I am single and unemployed, precludes the outlay of cash for waxing. The nether regions are safe from view with the exception of the rare occasion when I actually do don the tortuous bathing suit, and of course I live in shorts because I live in the desert. Consequently, I need to tackle the project of shaving at least once per week.

Oh sure, big deal. Lather up, scrape it off, have a Pepsi. Not so. I’m constantly thinking up clever ways to get the task accomplished. I swing one leg up and hang on to the shower bar with a death grip until I start to fall over. I just lean down like the old days and get so dizzy I think I’m going to pass out. I sit on the toilet and put a towel down on the floor. The best practice seems to be to go outside (this is when I’m thankful it’s a zillion degrees here), pull up a chair, a razor, some cream and the garden hose. Oh sure, the cold water sends my legs into fits of spasticity, but the net result is doubled: freshly shaven legs and a freshly watered garden.

Now, that is multitasking!