Sunday, May 31, 2015

Perils of Duty

Believe it or not, my wife Laura is not, I repeat, not a fan of spiders. In particular, large, hairy spiders. So it falls upon me, as the spouse without an aversion to arachnids, to dispatch of said spiders. Fortunately, most eight-leggers taking up residence in our household do not meet this description and I can shoo them away to live another day and feast on our home’s pests. Alas, on the eve of publishing the most recent ActiveMSers newsletter (subscribe here), an LHS--aka, large hairy spider--made its presence known in the kitchen and refused polite requests to scamper. So I was called into duty and immediately holstered a shoe. But there was a problem, actually a few problems.

Problemo uno: I have multiple sclerosis. Problemo dos: I have balance issues. And problemo tres, I feel I have duties as a spouse that I want to maintain despite my disabilities and will stubbornly do things I probably shouldn’t do. Like take out the trash, wrangle vacuums, and pull weeds without sitting down. And attempt to kill spiders. On a freshly waxed kitchen floor. In socks. After a beer.

Okay, you can already see how this is going to end. BADLY. The good news: the LHS was dispatched. The bad news: in the process of cleaning up the detritus, karma collided with that fleeting sense of accomplishment and despite using my walker “to be safe” I promptly auditioned for America’s Funniest Home Videos sans the video, and, well, the funny. Out went my feet from under me and backward I went, clocking a wall with my noggin on the way down.

Fortunately, splayed out on the ice rink, er, kitchen floor, I took a broken bone count and everything was intact. No muscles were torn. Nothing hurt except for that new knot on my wet head. And then it occurred to me that it was mighty strange that my head was wet considering that I had not just taken a shower. Uh oh. A late night ER visit and three fresh staples later (staples!), not to mention an epic pout face (see above photo), I was as good as new. Well, not new new.

When you’ve got a disease like multiple sclerosis that tries to steal long-practiced spousal duties, making peace with giving up some of these duties is paramount. We want to be helpful like we were before. We want to do the same chores we used to do. We want to be productive and efficient and worthwhile. But sometimes MS makes that challenging. Whether it’s cooking dinner or dressing a child for school or balancing the checkbook or getting the nighttime water, cutting back or letting go of some of these tasks is hard and discouraging. Maddening, even. I mean, I want to be the best husband in the world to Laura, to be her knight in shining armor. Instead, realistically I would be rendered stationary wearing anything metal and my most advanced form of weaponry would resemble a New Balance sneaker.

The realization that I have to give up some of my expected duties as a husband is enough to make me want to bang my head against the wall in frustration. But, as I unfortunately and painfully discovered, that usually just leads to staples in the head. And trust me, you don’t want staples in your head. Besides, it makes getting an MRI rather problematic, you know, with all that metal and all. And I think we can all agree, with multiple sclerosis we have enough problems already!

32 comments:

Christoff said...

Oh man that bites. Speedy recoveries Dave!

Dave Bexfield said...

Christoff, fortunately the spider didn't bite. And the head is all healed. All good!

Anonymous said...

Aww Dave, get better soon. How nice for you to be knight-in-shining-armoury for Laura, though.

Irene

Dave Bexfield said...

Thanks, Irene. Perhaps I should have been wearing my helmet along with a suit of armor!

Sue W. said...

I hear ya. Letting go is hard. I have just laundry duty and occasional dishwasher duty. And that's getting to be too much. Do I spend all day doing laundry (do a load, rest, fold, rest, take it to the bedroom, rest) or do I spend my energy doing something for *me* (a hobby, walk 5 min on treadmill, read)...the guilt is devastating. But choices have to be made - and carving out time to live is essential.
Unfortunately, it's just gonna get worse. How do people *deal*???

Tarita said...

You are still a knight in shining armor Dave! I hate spiders too and I use a vacuum to suck them up... damn spider has better balance then I do!!

Elaine M said...

Dave, you taught me to always use my cane and it has helped me tremendously. My reciprocal advice would be shoes, always wear shoes. The only times I get into trouble is when I forget one or both of these rules. Glad your head is healed. Can't wait to hear more about the new house! xo Elaine

Dave Bexfield said...

Elaine, when I was called to spider duty, I contemplated shoes, but figured why bother. So I knew I was tempting fate. Foolishly tempting fate!

Dave Bexfield said...

And Sue, you just do what you can. And thanks for the post, Tarita!

Beth @ Miles and Trials said...

Ouch! Sorry about the staples, Dave. I think your "accident" will be my new go-to for why I don't kill spiders in my house and make someone else do it.

Dave Bexfield said...

Beth, I've already taken advantage of that, too! What a blessing to have staples (alas, didn't save them after they were removed).

Debbie E said...

Oh man, knowing your limit and being able to relinquish some form of control, well it is a tough battle.

Tina said...

Awww, not a fun moment.
shoes, bleh-I've learned to wear them almost always too, even when it feels really odd, like in karate class. I'm slow, but I'm there.
I'm glad your head is tough enough that you're not super badly damaged.

Dave Bexfield said...

Thanks Debbie and Tina. Fortunately it was just a flesh wound. Tis but a scratch! A stapled scratch, granted, but a scratch nonetheless.

Laura Kolaczkowski said...

I suspect you will still be in charge of the LHS's that roam your home, even if you have to run over it with your wheels. That wet head feeling is all too familiar - been that, done it but required 9 stitches. Glad you and I are both ok and live to battle another day.

Whitney Shuck said...

Not fun! I'm glad your head has healed, Dave, and I suspect you will always be Laura's knight in shining armor, even when you can no longer kill large, hairy spiders. I can also say, with complete certainty, that you will forever be a knight in shining armor to a whole bunch of other people, including me!

Dave Bexfield said...

Laura, turns out there are likely going to be a bit more LHSs at our new home, which is in the country. So I won't be able to totally shirk those duties. And Whitney, awe shucks. (Sorry.)

dustin fleming said...

why can't we learn from when we young that falling down has injury potential. i got my staples a couple of months ago when i fell off a chair and broke my leg. hairline fracture of right femur. repair required insertion of a titanium rod. staples fixed the hole in my knee. i also live in the country, and since i became wheel chair bound my ability to wrangle LHSs has limitations. the tires on my hoveround are two inches wide, and if i see one of those buggers on the floor, it quickly becomes history. if it weren't for guys like us, the LHSs would succeed in their sinister plot to take over the world.

Dave Bexfield said...

A sinister plot indeed. Hope your leg is all healing well. Now that you are part metal and kill spiders, I deem you Terminator Lite.

MHPerry said...

Ha, ha. . Oh man, I feel ya. I chased a roach the other day with my walker and rolled over it with one of my wheels. I felt like I won the lottery. Sucks not being super mom anymore. Retiring my cape has been a long and painful process.

Dave Bexfield said...

Ah, death by rollator. In our house it goes like this: Roll forward, miss. Roll backward, miss. Roll forward, critter escapes under fridge. D'oh!

My Odd Sock said...

Sweet!
And I thought the head wrap was a fashion statement.
I have learned wearing socks only & MS are as bad a combo as Diet Coke & Mentos. I've taken more than my fair share of spills in socks.
Good luck with the head trauma.

Dave Bexfield said...

Diet Coke and Mentos are next on my list, MOS. Thanks for the recommendation! I'll let you know how it turns out.

Anonymous said...

I hope you're okay! Take care! /Naomi

Dave Bexfield said...

All good, Naomi!

Kevin Gerhardt said...

I tried to get a SHS (small hairy spider) off my living room ceiling by climbing on the arm of my couch. Ended up not getting the SHS and lost my balance and did a swan dive thru my glass coffee table. 15 stitches and a cool brief look at my arm bone oh ya and a cool spider tattoo by my scar for memories.

Anonymous said...

Thank goodness I am the one afraid of spiders and end up screaming for my knight in shining armor, who often travels for work. If he is gone it leaves me to smooch it with a forearm crutch (handy weapon for SHS) or let the spider just have the room (MHS->LHS). I must say that having to constantly adjust what can and cannot do because of mobility issues with stupid progressive MS is certainly annoying.

Dave Bexfield said...

Kevin, don't do that. And I recommend non glass coffee tables, jeezo! And Anon, you should have seen me take a tennis shoe to one bugger the other day. The problem? It hid in the grooves and escaped. Grrr.

Jonathan Kadish said...

The way I explain a 2 inch round 2nd degree burn on my arm deposited by my unprotected weed wacker's exhaust pipe after falling backwards while cleaning up my garden... it is as if I am playing sports, and when you are in the game sometimes you get hurt. Throw some dirt on it and get back in the game!

Dave Bexfield said...

Jonathan, Jonathan, Jonathan. Way to pull a Dave. And way to stay in the game! Dirt? Nature's band aid.

Jonathan Kadish said...

Let me know when you want to come over and break out the chainsaw! I cut up logs on my knees. 2 chords this year and i still have my limbs... don't tell mom ;)

Dave Bexfield said...

Sounds great, Jonathan. I'll bring one, too, and we can juggle them. While running (the chainsaws, not me, I don't run).