Friday, September 28, 2012

Angels in the Swimming Pool

I'm sitting here with a home made ice pack on my left shoulder.  The pain and discomfort on my left side has grown over the last few weeks to the extent that what was an occassional tingling is now a constant, albeit not cringing, throb with tingling down the arm to my left hand, dancing all tingly like in my ring and middle fingers.  The ring finger is bopping to its own music even now.  Lucky I don't need it to type. 

So today is water therapy day.  I was hesitant to make the drive today as the Mets' R. A. Dickey was going for his 20th win and with the pain in my arm, etc. etc.  But I put on the big boy pants and went down the road to Seton Health anyway.  And, as usual, was glad I did.  The therapist had a few moments before splash in time and we talked about the arm pain.

"Maybe you can ice it," she said.  "Tone down the exercise.  See how it goes.  The shoulder could just be inflamed.  If you find its not changed by Tuesday (our next session), then maybe its inflammation not from exercise, but is being pushed by MS."

Maybe. Always maybe with this thing.

So into the routine, and into the water, bobbing around like an apple in a Halloween tub, in five feet of warm water.  I'm the youngest guy in the pool, sometimes the only guy, some times just the youngest, and I stay in my little corner moving arms and legs, using water weights lighter than I've used before.  Damn, this hurts.  Okay, not Spanish inquisition pain, but that's not my MS. I have the nibbled into a wheelchair by ducks version.  Longer breaks between stints of work.  Later, the therapist turns on water jets and the soothing spray numbs my back and arm throbbing for ten minutes or so.  I gab with the ladies on good places for dinner.

The hour passes and its time to head out.  Just before I leave the pool, a beautiful young lady of about ten years of age, and her mom, stepped into the water therapy room.  The girl's body was skin and bones.  She had the look of a child who has seen perilous times, but has come through it all with an amazing smile.

And a limp.  But take her from land and place her in the water, and she floated with wide eyes and a radiant grin.

"This is like walking on the moon!" she said as she moved serenely from one edge of the pool to the other.  Her mom smiled wanly and excused herself.  Her child was in safe hands.

I hope she does walk on the moon.

So, another week of doctor's visits and changes in prescriptions.  We doubled the Nuvigil to 200 Mgs and MY AREN'T WE UP AND PEPPY!  Time to do the laundry! Again! Done? Go next door and get the neighbors!  Do theirs! Finished that novel? Great, write the next!  Use exclamation points!

Quoting my psychiatrist:

"You've got MS and are bipolar.  There's nothing you can do about the MS,
so looking at your bipolar status, you can be depressed or manic.  Personally,
I recommend manic.  Within reason."
I'm reasoning as manically as I can.  But then I think of that sweet child moving about the pool, feeling weightless and free, if for only a short time in her busy life. Tis well.
All of us in that pool are damaged, looking to hold on to the side or feel free to float and dance.  Like angels dancing in the morning sun.  I see them there in that water every Tuesday and Thursday, whether helping or being helped.  There is no hope in my disease. But there is amazing peace. Like walking on the moon.

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