Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Hear me, God 'o Pot! I have seen your powers....


And I swear I will never take another three shot of the new pot pills I'm on now.

The pills (take one when you feel necessary) were just sitting there and I shall state that the dispenser guy did say up to a maximum of three.  One of the neat parts about being bipolar/MS is that you forget things.  Did I already take this pill?  Is this my shirt, or yours or just a shirt on the new floor. You're the blonde I'm married to, right?  (She continues to claim to be that individual, OK so with me! So far!)

Anyhow, it was Sunday and we were home and I'd taken two of the 9.7 THC pills and felt alright, like on a Wednesday afternoon when I was still working but stopping now and then to look a the tree outside my office. Sturdy and weak with giant wooden arms supporting small buds on just slightly larger sticks that pull away from the mother trunk ...

Yeah, it kind of started like, but ended up with this....

(OK, quick history lesson.  I love baseball and that has been such a part of my life, that I mourn each days from November 1 - Feb 15 as wasted days of life.  To celebrate this enthusiasm, my parents bought me a "Sports Illustrated dice baseball game."   You rolled some dice and looked at a chart to see what the batter did.  I only played a few games with it and next year it was replaced by a game called APBA baseball.  No, I don't know what the initials mean, but I think it was what the founder of the game's own baseball card league. American Professional Baseball Association

So anyway you pick two teams, get your lineups ready, scoresheets, and beverage and then roll the two dice and see what happened to that leadoff batter.  End of lesson).

Oh, this is an APBA card:

For me that night, I was playing a game between Boston and St. Louis.  Boston completed a series with the Cincinnati Reds just earlier that afternoon, (Another quick lesson.  The player cards come in manilla envelope that identify the team and league like this:                                              

).

I hope you see the cover in upper right.  The team is the Dodgers, but APBA figured if you'll fork over 40 bucks for the game and cards, why should they slow the cash flow by re-signing up with Major League Baseball to put authentic names to leagues, teams and in a few cases the players. OK, 'nuff said.)

As I sat there at the kitchen  table around six PM Sunday, prepping for the Boston/cardinals when the table seem to bubble and the player cards of the Reds/Cardinals/Braves seemed to slip into the wrong envelope, moving away from my hand as if my selection of him for shortstop for the Cardinals was the wrong one (it was.  That guy's a catcher). But the cards were still moving from hand to cover to lineups,  and then the little brown things came around to help move the cards faster.

Decision time for moi.  Am I actually asleep here? And this quick move to dream session normal?  I had no sense of moving my body but my wife only sitting about 10 feet away just saw me looking at the cards, and not seeing the war raging between the Reds and Cardinals across our kitchen table.  Baseball blood!

So that was my "high".  The part of me that still thinks I am fine told me just to breathe and relax. And, much to my amazement, the pot images went away.  I just sat there.  Breathed. The third pill was fading out.  The cards arrived at their appropriate sleeve and all was right.

And that was probably the first/ last time with Three-fer-me.  The pills (THC) do help in the middle of the day when I am starting to take a nap, spazz out,  and see if anyone noticed.  Since it is only Jackie here it would be thumbs up or down by the Empress and a very concerned look at her husband.  Nah, keep this one close.  Just one every 8 -12 hrs.

I was too boring as a kid to know much about drugs, except Excedrine, Kaopectate, Pepto Bismol, pimple purging pills and the clear Avon products my mother bought me.  I did see more of marijuana in college, and stayed away from it.  Why? because I am letting someone/thing take over.  And that is not allowed.  By the way, all the pot brain girls needed a ride home...And I just happen to be sober and have the Mystery Matador:


I did OK. And with the help from the support crew, I will not prevail, but I'll make it as nasty as I can for MS, like put it into the back of that Matador and drive cross country with my family. Car parts will render themselves useless, unless you need air for a flat.  That's why they made Stewart's shops for. And ice cream.  Hey how bout this - Ice Cream Brain Freeze and the three pills? Then look at the baseball cards.

Cherry Garcia bats leadoff...



Friday, May 12, 2017

Pot, Cervical Cancer and her

Monday I had settled in on the living room couch, TV remote in one hand, warm coffee cup in the other. Before me lay on the coffee table (a relic over 50 years) a small pile of books I can peruse while Masterpiece Theater goes through its beginning of thanking rich people for giving them money and encouraging them to take boat rides around Europe.  I more wait for "the not rich" people "Thank you" because I actually write checks so I feel I can pay for a hair cut on, or half a one, for Daniel Day Lewis.

Time for "Wolf Hall" author Hilary Mantle's book on King Henry VIII, and his six (VI) wives, as seen through the eyes of Henry's friend and advisor Thomas Cromwell.  The characters just seem to stand around and shiver, or die because they can no longer stand shivering.  Cromwell just walks into rooms and looks at everyone there, and then goes another room and looks around and then he'll  be mumbling "Save this queen at least!"  A British documentary had the author become a small bit player but enough to see.  Three nights, six wives, Boom! over, instead of six episodes, and two queens.  It's a thought. I have them. Thoughts.

I have been approved for medical marijuana by the State and a doctor in Angola, NY.  I was never sure if Angola was a small southern African Nation with a penchant for civil wars or a small, dying population also in need of food or the Rust Bucket remainder stretch of broken dreams near Buffalo. This led to the usual paper chase for a 60 year old trying to do paperwork and follow up, take a short turn down a street and just a million screams of the Hellroad will the be subject to your object! Finally, an answer arrived and it was, through the magical of the inter web, an ID Card, and knowledge that I now have  to learn - what my assigned case number is with the FDA (FS3473838)

Here's a picture of one the cannabis pills, just mere seconds before being consumed by me.


I took the first one around 10:00 this morning, and like I said, at 6:25 pm 5/12/12.  Still staying smooth, with minor bump or two, dizzy spells, and just keeping a watch over moods. All part of the standard MS world. The shoppe for Pot is located on a back street in Albany, not in what you'd call a nice great area, or maybe it was when Roosevelt was in the governor's chair (Frank or Ted).

The pills may help, they may not.  But I have nothing sure but a certain stretch of moments that will go from now as you read this to when the moments permanently st-.  So it allows me to toe test the 1960 or '70s other tradition while I more grooved (oh, please) with the music.  But back then I could only smell what came from a dried dusty weak, dare I say weed? stick could produce maybe. Never tried it in any form to see if it worked, or if you had any reason you really needed thought you needed it.  But I was never in the cool students groups and agreed to be a tripping victim on Thursday morning in front of science class so I could maybe not be harassed that or any day?



The info on  Cervical Cancer is about (for me)t an old friend, but old is the wrong word, she was/ is one part of my life that had college, first job, and the fun times in between tragedies.  We parted nearly 35 years ago, but I could keep an electronic eye on her through my job, though more from a database, nothing personal but that just to see if she was still around.  This friend, who with me tagging along, went to concerts of rock stars across New England, Jersey and into Pennsylvania, is now stuck in a wheelchair as she fights a bizarre version of, oddly, (or maybe not) MS.  Now, neither of us move well, or are not that good thinking.  She was always right, and I agreed.  And I helped her laugh, she said.   Yeah, I could make her laugh.  Wish I could now.

I'm just that guy from that PBS series Wolf Hall, Thomas (Martin) Cromwell.  I just go to rooms and listen, maybe say something to someone, but mostly just be in rooms, listening, and waiting for something. I'll think of what that was at some point. Probably. Well, maybe.


Sunday, April 2, 2017

I ain't got no pot to ...

Buzz......Buzz.....Buzz  ** Click.

"Free Marijuana for sick people. Can I help you get sump'n?"

Uh, yeah um I'm Tom Martin and I was told that I need to speak with you folks to -

"Yeah, yeah, Everybody's needy, my friend.  Who set you up?"

That would be my Psychiatrist, Doctor U* and he -

"Wait, wait man.  Your psychiatrist wants is Doctor Who?"

No, no.  Not The Doctor. MY doctor is U******.  He's local.


"He ain't got a Tardis, huh?"


Right. No timelords need apply.  But I did hope to find out what I need to do get marijuana.

"Wait, how old are you?"

I'm, uhhhhh, 60 ish."

Silence.

Still there, sir? I asked.

"Sorry, man. I can't believe a guy that old has now idea how to find weed, at some point.  Now just for me to be sure, if you're 60, you must have gone through the 1970s, right.  Plenty around as I recall, or rather I have been informed, if you get my meaning.  You must have been in high school or college.  There must have a buddy who could have set you up."

There was.  I just never went to his setup.  Look, I'm supposed to be interviewed for the program, so maybe we could...

"Guess what? This is the interview.  So far you're old and confused and have been since Nixon was in town.  No wonder Doctor Who wanted you prepped.  Now next do you need instruction in assembling a doobie?



Look, I've got MS and whatever goes in the paper will fall right back in to the can.  I'm using pills for it.

"Well, that ain't much fun.  You see, you shoulda started years back, I'm telling you. You would had have an occupation or a hobby in the nursing home - 

I live in a age 55 plus condo, please.  

"Yeah? tell me how many pills they got you on? All your doctors."

I think its about 15 or so.

"Fifteen? Dude, I want some of that.  I'm a missing a moment here."

Come on.

"No, man you got a nice apartment  that's 55 year old, and you've got yourself 15 scrips? Food? Cable? Heat? You're fine, fella.  I want the names of your doctors."

So you can get some of what I'm on? Nope. You don't want it.  But really you should have all the paperwork, anyway. I had it faxed over.

"Wait a minute.  Lemme see  Lemme see. Nope.  Your name was what?  Oh, yeah.  Nope sorry.  The doctors who gave you so many pills were too busy giving out even more happy pills to other sad songs like you."

Some people need them, sir.

"Sorry, man.  Look you're gonna have to do this yourself, at least, to start.  We are only as good as the information we have, and we got none on you except your name, you live in an old folks home and you're drugged up your whazoo.  You gotta hit the streets, my man, and don't let the streets hit cha back.  Little joke there.  Get me stuff and then I can set you up with stuff."

Stay with me as the hunt continues....



Sunday, February 19, 2017

OK, I'm 60 years old and now(!) I get to experience medical marijuana. I have a sudden weird need to wear bell bottom jeans, put on a pastel shirt, let my hair grow, and groove out to the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. I wish I had hair to grow....




Sorry, Little Buddy.  Should've tried that pot the Professor snuck on the S.S. Minnow to try on Ginger and Mary Ann.



I don't have to roll my own. I would not know how to roll anything except maybe dough, and that poorly.  Try and keep teeny weeny seeds on a small cut of paper when your hand shakes just a little 



And while I'm at it, why are pills round? What's wrong with ovals? My oval pill does not try to flee.  Gel caps try incessantly to get away and some times can for a while, hiding under the couch.  What's wrong with a trapezoid? See that triangle pill? No problems.  But even as they are placed onto my tongue, they never stop trying to flip[ out, leaving their nasty taste so I have to use two full glasses of water to get them down, which goes into my kidneys and that's a whole other column.



I mean take a look at the picture.  The pills are grouped by time I take them.  The pills on the white square are breakfast pills.  The ones on the left are lunch pills, the four below nighttime.  There's also Clonzepam in its nice sealed square packet, which merely temps you into thinking "well, I can get this ready to pop into my mouth ".  The pill emerges as you tear open the packet and immediately seeks freedom away from where it is supposed to be - my mouth. And the search is on - where on the beige shag carpet could it be hiding?

For the last ten days or so, I've been without a number of these pills due to a payment screw up between Medicare and Blue Cross insurance.  I may be the culprit as I still try to master computers as if I still know what I'm doing.  OK, I can luck out and do Class AAA job, but I've sort of become  a B minus guy.  I get the basics, and maybe that's all now.

The loss of the pills made my body twitch more and more, instead of the minor blips of even a week before.  That and my temper was resurrected from its grave.  Sleep was just nightmares, and only quietly screaming about not going to bed, but the body and mind tired of whatever I did thought and in I'd go and my personal Twilight Zone would begin.

So medical marijuana joins the group.  I shall keep you up do date.

And oddly enough, the first song that came on my iPod when I was taking my shower was "Got to get you into My Life", Sir Paul McCartney's song about pot.

"Say we'll be together every day
Got to get you into my life."





Friday, January 27, 2017

Crying...over you.

Do you remember the first time you cried? Not the I'm-hungry-there's- a-smelly-stuff-thing-near-what-I-think-are-called-legs. Hey! I-need-a-little-help-here kind.

When was the first time you cried because something so terrible had happened that you could not process it in anyway? When your parental figure just had to hold you and let you get it all out?

I'm sure there were times before but the first time I can remember crying, really weeping until my eyes hurt.

50 years ago tonight.  January 27 1967.


When I was a kid I loved the space program and, of course, dinosaurs.  Thereforet, this show made me happy...


But there was no Doctor to console me when I was 10 years old.  I knew the names of every astronaut on every flight.  I followed every launch and listened intently to Walter Cronkite and Jules Bergman talking Project Mercury capsules, Gus Grissom's capsule sinking after he splashed down in the Pacific and the Navy having to scramble to pluck him out of the sea before he went down with the ship.  John Glenn's words "Zero G and I feel fine, capsule is turning around.  Oh! that view is tremendous!" I have a Mercury capsule with GI Joe in it.  Right on my book shelf.  GI Joe and his capsule also came with a yellow 78 rpm that had the launch and a narrated version of Glenn's journey around the Earth.  That record is long gone, but I'm fine with it because my brain has been kind enough to allow me access to parts of the recording.  I have to take the small wins where I can get them.

Gemini flights with the Mercury Astronauts and other guys with the right stuff.  Ed White's walk in space.  Two ships docking practice. I have a plastic model of the two man Gemini capsule, all parts painted as they actually were - I had the books!  We were going to the moon.

In my ten year old memory, I had no concept of people "dying".  Everyone I knew was still there, and always would be.  My mother's mom had died when I was four, and I had no idea what was going on, and it appears my parents wanted it that way, as even today I have no idea of the woman or that time.  And now no one left to tell me.  So I just went on until January 27, 1967.

"People die," my mother said. "They're still your heroes, right."

"But they hurt...", I said.

"And you do too," she said.  "But there will be more."

More.  The world goes on, as I and most humans on the planet realize at some point.  The question is how fast and how far, and is it worth it to you?  You may need to cry again.

I'm not sure how folks will answer that.  But lemme tell you, ever since I had a wallet, in that wallet was a picture of Ed White during his space walk "floating on his tin can".  Two and half years later Americans were on the moon (really, they were).  And that day was one of the best days of my still young life.


Ed White  Roger Chaffee Gus Grissom

I still mourn these men, and am still puzzled why NASA used straight oxygen for the guys to breathe in the TINY Apollo capsule? Scientists might have remembered that oxygen feeds fire, and pure oxygen would do what, brainiacs? But....never mind.

While I may have shed tears in later times (that would be all of 3) nothing was like this day for me. People die. People burn up and die. Be glad you had the chance to know them. In any time.

"Challenger, go with throttle up."

"Crying over you,
Crying over you,
Yes, now you're gone,
and from this moment on,
I'll be crying, crying, crying, crying
Yes, crying, crying,
Over you." 

Roy Orbison

Man, I miss them still.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Spazzing is a MS thing or how to be a hypnagogic jerk

And now...spazzing.

I’d like to start off with my best spazz (uh..muscle spasms, a very annoying symptom).  Many of us have muscle twitchings as part of our own MS world (your symptoms may vary) but on for me, when I lay down my weary bald head, the twitching begins. Upper back, left arm, the upper left thigh, dash over to my lips, and a stop in the back before it repeats.

And then comes the best part, but allow the pictures and words below tell the story.

I was in a doctor’s office awaiting my wife Jackie’s return from her appointment with her physician.



A waiting room like this one, only there were actual humans in some of the chairs.  I’d put me in the far row, the second chair just below the right hand framed picture. And as I’m usually prepared for these waits (30 years and you should have picked up the pattern, or you won’t still be there in 30 years).  I had my book and my Starbuck’s latte.
                                           

And the waiting began.  The book was a thick one on the Civil War and, after 20 minutes, the small details of the Battle of Cedar Creek and the small print were starting to get to me (remember I’m drugged up as well), and my eyes began to close, but I bucked up, downed more of my latte, and charged back into the Confederate strategy of that mid-October battle.  And then....




This lucky guy here at least had his left arm to support his tired little head.  Me? When the brain had decided to go to neutral, it forgot (it does that a lot now) to pay attention to the update from the Hands department, that they had an opened hook in the right hand, and the left held the coffee cup.

So my body started to fall into a peaceful nap, but full hands and an empty lap, and MS, as many of you can attest, loves moments like this….



The dreaded full body spasm!  My muscles went all which way.
 


And, a second or two later the result…..



Dropped book and… (sigh)



and all eyes

                                                         


were on me. I quietly picked up my book, cleaned the coffee up as well as I could (what’s another stain on that rug?) and retreated to my chair.  The eyes returned to what ever they were doing before I spazzed, but not without occasional glances my way.

See, this is where being sick has even more challenges because you wonder if you should try to explain why all your muscles all began going in opposite directions.  But unless you’ve got a plague like MS or  one of the other nuero ailments, folks will just say “That’s a weird thing ya just done, splattering your coffee and your reading material there. Arms and legs flinging all over. Funny. Still, you’re looking great!” and move on.

These muscle spasms are also night visitors.  Their favorite time is after you’ve snuggled into your bed and are starting that lull into a relaxed thought, the last time for me as I was thinking about crossing a street.  My right shoe stepped down from a cement sidewalk to a cobblestone street.  The “thought me” said “I better move my left foot over or I might tumble over -





Under the sheets my arms and legs splayed out, my eyes bulged open, and I breathed quick. I knew the score. MS 1, Tom 0.  I was now wide awake, and shuffled down to the den and read for about two hours.  Maybe I should have read that Civil War book again.

At www.livescience.com, there is a good definition for this uh, thing:

A hypnagogic jerk is an involuntary muscle spasm that occurs as a person is drifting off to sleep. The phenomenon is so named in reference to the hypnogogic state — the transitional period between wakefulness and sleep. Hypnagogic jerks are also commonly known as hypnic jerks or sleep starts.

Is it really just an MS thing? No. But we, or I do, also have my legs numbing up so I’ve got a real careful moment when I get up sa-low-lee.  The bedroom is dark (though, having other brain problems, I see flowers and lace and swirling leaves, all white, but that’s another blog) and Jackie has not woken or even moved in our bed.  Anyway, start with livescience.com and Google around.

One memory still clear in me is seeing my father sitting in our kitchen watching the small TV we had there in the late seventies.  He would watch for hours, breaking only to doze off, have his head start to sag to his chest, eye lids closing and then his body would spazz.  He’d look around and then turn his watery blue eyes back to the TV.  I was concerned, and slightly scared then, because, well, that it could happen to me, and as I researched MS I saw spazzing would be part of what this is drudgery.  And it is.  He had no idea what this thing was.  I know what this thing is and what it is doing and will continue to do to me. Which is better?

Monday, December 26, 2016

Silent Night

2 am now on an early Christmas morning, and I'm sitting in the den watching Dirk Gently's holistic detective agency on BBCAmerica.  Jackie dozed off about 90 minutes ago, and the visions of soap operas are no doubt dancing in my little sweetie's head.

Our first Holiday Time in the new place and we've decorated some, tree decorated but in minimalist fashion, that is, there are boxes of Hallmark ornaments sitting in storage lockers wondering if they will have another hanger placed in the Golden Orifice on their top or middle section.  Boxes.  But it is still nice...





A quiet ride out and back from Syracuse, Jackie now does 67% of the driving on longer trips, I do the rest (like driving in Boston).  I can keep focused by watching the white lines on the room and having the radio or a CD playing.  I can't focus all that well anymore, something you might have surmised, but if there are tunes going (when driving Jackie's car the choice of music is normally country music or oldies. I prefer the latter. In my car oldies or classical goes unless I'm solo, then its books on tape). 

So what I am saying is we have taken more slow steps to Our New Normal seeing what works and what may be slipping, like cups, bottles, small tools, pens, small paperback books, pickles, bath soap, small frogs, those sort of things.  Mood changes grow, true, when we're driving, er, when I'm driving, and my wife, concerned as she is for her own safety as well as mine, rides shotgun, making sure I have seen what she hopes I have seen.  Maybe yes, maybe no.

So the 60th Christmas of my life (and the whatever of yours) passes quietly.  

One week left to the year, and as we approach the non-holiday of New Years, and the upcoming trump administration, I hope things go well (for us and you), and if they don't, well, don't you be annoying the members of AARP,  Donny boy.  You are not the only one with hair of blond, and face color of not of human birth.  We're old (some not as old as you) and we want our early bird specials, coupons for the movies, and our TV shows.  We're the baby Boomers and we've done all we could.  Now let somebody else clean up our mess.

Last note for the year.  I do not know how or why these stories have suddenly found or deserved a 30000+ hits scale.  But thank you anyway.

Oh, Bubble Santa says Happy Holidays!