Sunday, September 2, 2012

The new normal

Yesterday my wife and I had planned a trip up to Vermont to go to a blues festival to be held at the fabulous Calvin Coolidge birthplace historic site.  Every time I go there, and see the vistas and feel the peace there in that little village and I wonder why Calvin ever left.  But 16 hour days on a farm plowing and taking care of the animals might wear on anyone.  He had a stirring in him, one that got him to college, law school, political office and the Presidency.

I'm not sure if Calvin ever heard the blues, but he certainly knew it when his son died while the Coolidges were still in the White House.  "All the joy went out of the Presidency," he said.  So he made not have heard it, but he knew it.  And maybe when he died a few years after leaving office he was hearing the blues of a whole nation, suffering its own Depression, something he thought might come, but knew he could not stop or prevent.  Not the government's job. 

". . . I feel I no longer fit in with these times." he said to a friend.

Calvin could not get used to the new normal, so he got out of the way.

And it would have been great to see the place again, but here's the thing, I've got my own new normal.  We made it to Queensbury, had a great breakfast and I went out to the car to wait for Jackie while she powdered her nose.  By the time she returned, my brain had turned to mush, a rush of total exhaustion had come over me, and I wanted to go home.  Jackie could see it on my face.

"How about a Lake George boat ride?" I asked

We compromised on a boat ride, one hour and it was nice to be out on the water.  A quick walk (its always a quick walk now) around the t-shirt shops and home to watch the ball games,  and I closed my eyes and two hours disappeared.

This is the new normal.  Plans are made to be changed.  We started talking on the boat ride about our upcoming trip to Disney World in October, and what we would do.  We'll be there five days and expect to not move very far on at least two.  Do a park, sit a day.  Try a walker? We'll see.  I've spoken about this trip already, so more on Disney another time.

But it reflects the new normal.  Plan for something, and it won't happen.  New drugs from new sources, old drugs gone, different doctors, but it still comes down to each of the 500,000 of us in the USA and how we feel the moment we open our eyes.  What's the new normal for that day?

There was a great article in The Atlantic - "Hurtful and Beautiful" by Alice G. Walton a few weeks back which talks about the gradual movement of her normal life toward disability.  A poet, she lives in her mind and can express thoughts that reflect how nothing is disabled in her soul.

Ms. Walton has RRMS and has relapses. As a PPMS person, it just goes along for me, the slow role down the hill.  My normal changes gradually, at its own pace, and the best we both can do is fight on.

Calvin had some thoughts on battling through things:


Thanks, Calvin, maybe next year. (It could happen).

Tomorrow another meeting with my psychiatrist. More to come.  Thanks for reading.

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