Monday, May 28, 2007

Catching Up

I read a couple of interesting articles recently. It looks like a special form of glucosamine may help with MS; and so might testosterone gel. The cool part about both of these is that they are generally quite well tolerated, and they're also fairly well-studied. Another article suggests that normal over-the-counter glucosamine might also help, so maybe I'll start taking that. Who knows, maybe soon men with MS will be known for their high level of joint fitness and their slightly larger-than-average muscle mass.

The last few weeks have been super busy, but generally in a good way. I've been using coffee to combat sleep deprivation, a habit which I hope to drop in a few months when Little Boy is able to sleep more soundly. It makes it hard to stay hydrated. I keep wondering whether the Tucson heat will someday start getting to me, as heat bothers so many people with MS. If so, well, I hear that Google Switzerland is hiring. With my firm grasp of the Swissish language, I'm a shoe-in!

This Friday's shot was quite painful for some reason, and I hope I don't hit that particular spot again. But I slept in till late and felt pretty good on Saturday—with the help of Trusty Sidekick Advil, of course. That Saturday sleep is really important (the Web thinks so too), and hard to get with a new baby. Audrie really supports me, though, and I think we're settling into a pretty good groove.

I'll close with this link, which I stumbled over while searching for the sleep link above. It is a site that lists scams and questionable treatments for MS. Now I just need to find out whether that site is itself reliable!

Birthday Shot

5/11/2007: A lot of folks will buy their friends shots of liquor on their birthdays. But United Health Care, my insurance company, went one step farther and bought me an actual shot, sterile needle and all, on mine. Thanks, UHC!

A year ago, I had barely begun to imagine that I would be giving myself a shot of MS-fighting drug weekly—not to mention that I was still getting fitted for my fatherhood uniform. Nowadays, there is a new normal, and the dad duds are the most comfortable I've ever worn, but each week's shot still looms large in my mind nearly every day. Maybe next year it will seem no more significant than putting gas in the car or changing the humidifier filter. Let's find out.

5/28/2007: It is now 17 days since I started this post, so I'll wrap it up quick-like and maybe start on one that's a little more current!

My shot on my birthday was nearly painless, which was a nice gift. Side effects were also minimal (thanks to management with Advil). I had wanted to mention the way that self-hypnosis helps: I find that I am generally able to stay physically quite relaxed if I suggest to myself that I will, and this makes the shots go more smoothly. Then, a virtuous cycle ensues.

L— had asked what role music played for me (she was the one who inspired me to start playing music in the first place). I think what it does for me is give my brain something to do. A part of my brain that would otherwise be focused on the shot, maybe with anxiety, just listens to the music and is content. As I've been playing the same songs each week, too, a routine has developed, with its own pacing and expectations. For example, Enya's Only Time comes on after I'm done with my shot, and leads me to reflect on the future.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

The Madness of King Walgreens

I still find that I cannot plan to accomplish more than one thing each day (not counting keeping the baby alive). If the nanny is out, everything else drops by the wayside, but she's back in her usual fine form, so I expect to Get One Thing Done. But today I already have at least two notches on my Accomplishment Belt, so this post may be shorter than short. Let's find out.

Shots have been uneventful the last several weeks. I believe my side effects are still on a positive trend. Though they are no longer decreasing sharply from week to week, with judicious use of Advil and naps, I can almost reliably interact with the world on Saturdays. I have even gone so far as to make tentative plans to attend a week long conference in November, flying out on a Saturday and returning Friday before my injection.

Walgreens is keeping up its tradition of bare adequacy. They didn't call to schedule a refill this month, and when I called, the first person I spoke to mistakenly informed me that I could do refills through the retail outlets from now on. Two minutes after I hung up with her, Rob from my local outlet was on the line telling me that my insurance didn't play that way, and I'd better get back on the horn to Miami. The next person I spoke to told me that getting the refill out in two days was pushing it (this was a Tuesday), but that it would "probably" get there. That's the first time I've heard any such doubt. But everything seemed to be in order until the phone rang Wednesday morning.

The woman I spoke to Wednesday morning, who was refreshingly articulate and together, told me that there were two conflicting delivery dates, and that the notes in my file were out of chronological order, making them confusing. But she did get me straightened out. And I didn't even have to tell her that the local outlet is where I want my Avonex delivered. Despite that being the only place I've ever had it shipped in the 10 months I've been on the treatment, the person on the other end of each month's phone call seems entirely surprised that I would do such a thing. If Mr. Wally Greens were a coworker, he would be so internally confused as to be insane.

So that was my big adventure for this post, and now I've got to go help put Little Boy to bed.