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spasms

Lord, please…

Over the past week, my concern has grown.  I walk into the room and see him sitting there.  His eyes are shaded in pain–not severe pain–more of an aching discomfort due to the broken skin on his coccyx. We’ve tried several types of patches to protect the area but one of them slide and broke the skin.  Then it happened again and more skin was torn.  Now he has an area that’s draining and sore on a place he has to sit all the time.  He can’t be comfortable in bed.  He has to sit up and peddle to relieve the stiffness.  He tries to lie in bed but he just can’t tolerate that for very long. Please don’t let this be the beginning of a difficult to heal bedsore (or in this case, seat sore).
Then there is that look of illness.  He feels miserable–you can see it in his eyes.  He tries to crack a joke but the sparkle doesn’t reach his eyes.  In fact his eyes look sunken and blood-shot.  Blood-shot from the terrible sinus congestion he has which makes it hard to breathe all the time. He has chronic sinusitis and uses 1/3 strength nose spray all the time to combat it but he has to have it at least ever hour.  Imagine how stuffy you feel with a cold and then imagine being like that most of the time.  It’s so miserable. Lord God, help him to breathe easier.
But that’s not what’s behind the look. He feels soooo bad. For months he was on a detox of sorts to try to heal “leaky gut syndrome” and we attributed his feeling bad to that.  Well he’s off the detox now.  Could this “bad” feeling be his reaction to taking the flu shot last week?  If so, why is it taking so long to get better?  Or is this just MS again, rearing its ugly head and making his life miserable?  Where is his quality of life if this is what he has to look forward to?  He tries so hard.  He eats well, exercises, tries to keep a positive outlook and stay active, but it’s so hard to remain hopeful like this.  He’s sick and tired of being sick and tired.  Lord, please show him mercy.
Then there’s the lab work.  I called to check on some lab work he had done two weeks ago.  His hemoglobin was 10.3.  In September it was 12.3!  Why did it drop?  I am hoping that the person who read it to me read an old report.  I’ve sent an email to his PCP to check the lab work since she didn’t order it so we can find out.  If it’s accurate, and I don’t think it is, then something else is really wrong.  I was convinced yesterday it was a mistake but the more I think of it, the more I realize he’s feeling worse and more tired.  His leg is spasming again too and it had stopped, or just about had, when his hemoglobin was up.  Lord, please don’t let that lab result be right because that means another specialist.  He has enough doctors.
He entered the hospital for the first time in his life a year ago this Sunday. During that admission, he was in and out of the ICU four times before he went home.  He’s been too sick the last two years to participate in Christmas and our goal is that he will be able to enjoy Christimas this year AND he will be able to remember it.  Please, Lord, let that come true. 
MS is a strange condition.  I know people whom you would never suspect have MS.  And then I know some like Lynn who seem to have all the symptoms.  I don’t know why it affects some worse than others but I do know it’s disappointing that so little research is being done to look at why it progresses faster in some than others.  I also am angry that there is no treatment for the progressive stages.  It’s like once that point is reached, they are written off.  At least that’s how it seems to me.
He’s calling me again to get him up.  He was able to stay in bed this time about 50 minutes.  I expect he will be up all night now.  Pray he feels better tomorrow.

Love/Hate Relationship with the Night

I’ve always loved to sleep.  I don’t nap during the day, but if I had my preference I would go to bed between 10 and 11 p.m. and not get up again till 9:00 a.m.  A good night’s sleep for me is 9 hours. During that time I might get up once to go to the bathroom but most of the time I would spend in slumber.  I also love after a good night’s sleep to slowly come awake–stretch a bit, and allow myself to fully come awake.


I can’t remember when I last had a “good night’s sleep” based on the description above. I long to go to bed (which is the “love” part of the relationship) but I hate how often I have to get up at night.  A typical night for me now is to get into bed between 1:30 a.m. and 3:00 a.m depending on how long it takes Lynn to eat dinner (he likes to eat around midnight) and how long to get him settled and comfortable afterwards.  It takes him about 45 minutes to eat dinner. After I feed him, then I help him do his teeth. Then I put him to bed.


Bed time is a ritual.  He’s very difficult to get comfortable in bed. Since he cannot move any part of his body himself (other than his left arm), I spend a lot of time moving body parts, positioning them with pillows or whatever, putting corn starch in places that might rub, putting his “contractor prevention” boots on, then setting up and strapping on his Hayek shell (making sure it doesn’t have any leaks) etc.  Meanwhile I put in a catheter to drain his bladder, adjust the settings on the Hayek and heat up 2-3 heating “pads” in the microwave to put in various places against his body because the air movement from the Hayek over his chest makes him cold.  Then he gets some water, sleeping aid, and dry mouth gel.  I pull his covers up tight under his chin and tell him goodnight and then go off to get ready for bed myself.  Some nights I have to repeat some of the above a few times.  Other nights I just about get him settled and his leg starts “jumping” (muscle spasms).
If his leg starts to jump, that means undoing all the above, getting him back up and dressed in his wheelchair, setting up the peddlar (make sure it’s not rubbing any ankle bones after it’s jumped a few times), putting weights on the peddlar so the spasms don’t knock it out of position, then putting a head strap on his head to keep his head from falling onto his chest when he falls asleep and putting a terri-cloth cape over him and his wheelchair so he won’t get cold.  Then I go to bed.


Somewhere around 1 1/2 – 2 1/2 hours later, I hear, “Hey sweetie, I want to go to bed.”  I get out of bed, take him off the peddlar and start the process outlined above (cath, Hayek, heating pads, boots, water, mouth gel, covers).  Then I go back to bed.  Usually about 2-3 hours later, I hear, “Hey sweetie, I need to get up; I’m stiff.”  So up I go and reverse the process again.  Usually I put him to bed about three times a night and get him out of bed twice. The last time I put him to bed is usually when I’m getting up for the day which is usually six or seven hours after I go to bed; sometimes five but always less than it seems because of being up so much.


When I get up most days now, I’m tired, sleepy, and my body aches.  The body aches are a combination of sore muscles from lifting but also age so I guess if I had a full night’s sleep I would still be achy. The sleep deprivation is a bear, however.  Coffee helps a lot but just keeping up movement does, too.  I usually hit a wall around 5 p.m and if I’m lucky, I can catch a 30-60 minute nap before he gets me up for something he needs.  That keeps my feeling pretty rested till bedtime. But with all that I have to do at night now, I feel like I’m “on” 24-hours a day without a break.  Night-time just isn’t what it used to be anymore.