Monday, November 4, 2013

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

This is how I would describe my weekend: Spaghetti Western.

The Good
The Good started out on Friday afternoon. I met with my Neurologist, who told me that my latest MRI results showed positive signs. While the little divots dissolved out of my myelin will never be repaired (at least not with current knowledge of medicine), the progression seems to have slowed and the inflammation has calmed. That was the word she used: calmed. The Avonex appears to be doing its job with little impact on my liver.

On Sunday night, it was my turn to host Sunday dinner. Every year, around Halloween, I usually go all-out on a spooky party. And the older my son, nephew, and nieces get, the more fun we have. This year, the kiddos ate brains with blood sauce, devils eyes, vampire fingers, and miniature pumpkins with a side of ghost.

The adults had spaghetti with meat sauce, deviled eggs, garlic breadsticks, and mandarin oranges with bananas. We also decorated sugar skulls, which was a ton of fun.

The Bad
Apparently, in all these times I have been shoved down an MRI tube, no one has thought to look at my neck. Or more specifically, my brain stem and spinal cord. So guess who has to participate in another MRI next week. If you guessed Salma Hayek , I can understand why. I am often confused for her. But, no, it is me that gets that little party. (Salma may actually be having an MRI next week. But if she is, she didn’t mention it to me.) Really, is there anything that brings quite the feeling of humiliation of sitting in a waiting area—in a hospital gown—with ten other people who are waiting for their procedures?

Another Bad of the weekend happened Saturday morning when I attempted to make a jump while on skates. Let me be very clear here. I got nowhere near anything most literate people would label as a jump. Maybe, if someone were being exceptionally generous, it could be called a cowardly, one-footed hop. I lost my courage as I approached the cones I was trying to jump.  Wasn't pretty. Probably pretty funny, though.

The Ugly
So, here is the Ugly. On Saturday, coming back from downtown where I had picked up the sugar skulls, I stopped for gas. I put my credit card in the machine at the pump, lifted the nozzle, and looked at the cover to my car’s gas tank. And I could not remember how to open it.

I tugged at it for a moment with no results. I got into the car, where I looked for a button that released the cover. Nope. I got out again and stared at it blankly. I sat in the passenger’s seat and rifled through the glove box for the owners manual, which read : To fuel your automobile, open the fuel tank cover…” No help there.

A total and complete blank. I’ve opened that fuel tank a hundred times. And I forgot how to do it.

I stood there for what seemed like an eternity, but was probably only a couple of minutes. I was fighting tears of frustration and mild panic. I finally pried open the little rectangular flap and gassed up. Then, of course, the cover wouldn’t close because I had broken it. Instead of lightly pushing on the side of the cover, releasing the mechanism that was holding it shut, I destroyed the latch by forcing it open.

It’s called Cognitive Dysfunction. And it is not like “where did I leave my keys.” It’s more like “I see what needs to be done, but I have no idea how to accomplish it.” For me, having this happen for the first time, it is scary, and frustrating, and strange.  It is, in a word, Ugly.

My car gets repaired on Friday. Unfortunately, my brain does not.


  1. I just experienced Cognitive Dysfunction for the first time recently, too. I was standing at the bus stop, exhausted and just wanting to get to my car so I could go home, and suddenly, I couldn't remember what bus I was supposed to take. I take the same stupid bus several times a week! I was going to call my husband, but I couldn't remember the name of the street I was on either - even though I stand on that same stupid street waiting for the same stupid bus all the time. I was terrified. Full of panic. It eventually came back to me and I got to my car, but I really hope it never happens again.

  2. I hate that you happened to you, but know you aren't alone. Knowing that helps me... kinda...

    Stay strong!