Friday, December 31, 2010

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Roid Rage

I went for the usual visit to my neurologist in LA over Thanksgiving week: walk on tip toes, walk on tip toes backwards, walk heel to toe, walk heel to toe backwards, close eyes and touch nose, determine soft (a Q-tip) from sharp (a safety pin), jerk around from the little rubber mallet hitting knees and elbows. I always imagine this is what getting a drunk test must be like. It seems to me that a big disease with it's own initials  (MS!) should have a more intricate and serious seeming examination to go along with it. Q-tips, safety pins and rubber mallets seems so amateur we're just playing doctor patient.

So, when Dr. S. suggests I go for a steroid infusion treatment (since I  didn't do so well on the walking parts of the test), I'm happy to play along with the game. 3 hours a day for 5 days getting a slow drip of something called solu-medrol, sure!

The first day was cake. I snuggled into warmed blankets and watched I Love Lucy reruns while eating the proffered snacks from a little basket and drinking fresh hot cappuccino made on site for me by the nurse on duty. This place in Pasadena is a 5 star infusion center!

Day 2, again, not so bad. It being Thanksgiving Day, I was moved to a different part of the clinic without a nurse dedicated solely to my whims, but I was in the glow of actually having been able to stand on one leg without falling over last night. Victory!

Day three. My friend Kate came by and we got to catch up which was great. I regaled her with stories of how I had played Cranium with some friends the night before and was able to actually act out the "break dancing/belly dancing/line dancing" card! Geez, I can't even remember the last time I was break dancing. All was going well.

Day 4, Anna came with me and we ordered in Thai food and played with embroidery thread (totally different story). I started getting pretty tired of being hooked up to this infusion bag and beginning to feel just a little bit grumpy.

Day 5. Enough already. Get this f$%*ing bag outta my arm. No thanks, I don't want any of your stupid snacks. I already had coffee this morning, thanks. I ended up playing Angry Birds for 3 hours and then fled.

I spent the night over at Elizabeth's house, and then got up early for the drive back to Arizona. I had a good book on tape and there wasn't much traffic, so the drive home was uneventful. I got back around 4, had a shower and fell dead asleep around 6. Imagine my surprise when I awoke 14 hours later! I thought steroids caused insomnia!? Well good on me, they had the opposite effect.

Despite the long sleep, I woke up in one very bad mood. Apparently, major doses of steroids like I had just been through causes your body to stop producing them naturally (I know, I're thinking geez, Erika, you didn't look into this before? No, I did not. We were just playing doctor I thought). This predicates the need to give one more artificial steroids in the form of Prednisone.

Prednisone is one nasty drug. I spent an entire week shut inside, unbathed, sneering and plotting ways to maim things ~ my friends, my cats, my car, my couch ~ anything. I just wanted to...well....maim something. I stopped answering the phone. I stopped showering. I stopped going outside. I stopped reading. I finally called Dr. S.'s office and explained that my former sunshiney self had abandoned me and that I had become nothing but an angry maiming plotter. He prescribed Ativan.

Oh boy. Now I was playing in the big leagues. Solu-medrol. Prednisone. Ativan. I don't like taking any medicine beyond red wine. I do the daily injection of Copaxone and I figure that's plenty. I opted to skip the Ativan, finish the weaning off the Prednisone, and go back to red wine.

Now a month later, here I am, still not walking all that steady, but back to my old happy self. I've realized that although MS has been roaming around my proverbial house for over 20 years, this last "treatment" gave it a prominent seat at the head of the table and quite frankly, it pissed me off. I will give  MS it's due and respect that it's here, but also firmly request that it stay off the center stage.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Fast forward to Arizona...

I have been remiss. I last posted in November of 2009, and here it is December 2010. I claim life as my excuse ~ I've been through a few changes. In no particular order: I went to Nicaragua with Lisa, I bought a condo and moved to Southern Arizona, I lost my job, I did about 5 weddings with Anna and Little Edens (, I slept and slept and slept, I went zip lining, I applied for disability, I got a real estate license, I got my first (and probably only) steroid infusion, I joined a book club,  and yes, I rented a scooter.

I will post about all these individual and fascinating events, as well as become a more faithful and steadfast blogger as one of my 2011 New Year's resolution. Hang onto your seats! It's good to be back.

LA Flower Mart

Anna and I started a floral design business last year called Little Edens ( My first idea was to do small space garden design business (many thanks to my dear friend Albert who said, oh, small gardens, you mean like a little Eden?) but when Anna came home from a year overseas, she took it in a bit of a different direction. My girl is fascinated with weddings.

Our partnership has been so enjoyable, and one of the best things is that Anna sees things for the most part through the same glasses as me, so our sense of humor is pretty similar (actually, my whole family has pretty much the same humor).

Anna is 26, so she is in the thick of the young marriage crowd. It's like shooting fish in a barrel, there are so many potential brides in her circle. So, we booked our first wedding. It's at a fancy wedding-esque venue up in chi chi Westlake Village, CA. Wonderful!

We were super excited ~ we got our business license, wholesale license, website and business cards. Then we found out we needed "candle insurance". Candle insurance. Right. We got right on that (we did!). So once we were legit and insured, it was time to go to the LA wholesale flower mart and buy our flowers. We had a plan, we had a budget, we had some nerve.

As my friend Chris likes to say about Anna, she is easily distracted (as he says "oh look! Anna sees something shiny!"), and I am just a dingbat to begin with, so you put us two avid gardeners in the middle of one of the most amazing, colorful, vibrant, awe inspiring, stunning locations on the planet at 6:00 a.m. without coffee, and trouble is bound to ensue.

That first time we went to the flower mart, we spent about $75 dollars on 3 bunches of purple statice, 1 dozen pink roses, 1 dozen orange roses, 1 bunch yellow solidaster,  10 red Gerbera daisies, one bunch curly willow, 1 bunch of leather fern, 2 bunches of salal, 1 bunch sunflowers, some Queen Anne's Lace, and.....if you have no idea what I'm talking about, it's like being a kid in a candy store and buying York peppermint patties, orange circus peanuts, cotton candy, malt balls, Butterfingers and wax lips and trying to make them into a cohesive dessert. It's all good, no doubt, but kind of hard to bring together into a pleasing olio.

Fortunately, this was a trial run for us, so we made lots of small and fun arrangements (that required no insurance) and gave them to friends and family. After about a half a dozen weddings and numerous baby/shower/holiday arrangements we are now old pros and can actually walk into the flower mart and leave with exactly what we came for... and a few proverbial shiny and sweet things.