UP AT 7, off to enameling class at Guy Mason Recreation Center. The janitor cheerfully carries my gear to the basement workroom. My teacher fires my work, since my hands are too shaky to put items into the kiln. I do mostly large pieces with overall designs, because I lack finger dexterity to do smaller designs. Monday
After dinner, Ed takes me to the swim club at the Sheraton. Being a sinker and not a floater, I do aquatic exercises rather than swimming. I try to go daily because it seems to bring an improvement; these come at the rate of filling a bucket with a teaspoon a day, so I have learned profound patience in dealing with multiple sclerosis
Living with multiple sclerosis takes special scheduling and great efficiency. I am clumsy, slow and tire easily. I have a 50-year-old mind in a 90-year-old body. Just doing the basic tasks of living each day leaves me exhausted. But I want a richer life than just basics, so I must stretch and strive to do more. Having a helpful and supportive family makes this possible. Tuesday
Since yesterday was payday, I take Ed's check to the bank. For most people this would be a minor errand; for me it is the one out-of-the-house errand I can manage of a morning. Would have gone shopping too, but I lent my wheelchair to a friend at church. I keep the wheelchair in the car for shopping, museums, etc., and use a forearm crutch to walk from house to car. In the house, I hold onto furniture and doorways while walking. I cannot walk without support.
Make cassoulet today, a project which turns out bigger than I expected. Very tired. Ed works late so I do not go swimming. I eat early and alone. Have to pull my body along the floor from bathroom to kitchen. When my legs give way, I generally cannot crawl either.
After Ed eats, I plan to ride my exercycle in the basement, but fall, striking my chin on a chair. Lucky to have missed my skull. I fall often but rarely hurt myself unless I hit something. Wednesday
Go grocery shopping. I have a pulley in the back seat that helps me get the wheelchair back in the car, giving me independence of movement. In the grocery store, I set the feet of my wheelchair between the back wheels of a grocery cart and push the two simultaneously with my hand. Otherwise, it is hard to push one wheeled vehicle from another.
I write my weekly letters to my daughter in college and my mother in San Francisco. My hands give out after about one hour of typing, so I write fewer letters than before. After dinner, Ed and I go to a talk at the Smithsonian. Thursday
My cleaning crew comes at 8:30, at I have to be dressed before then. Do some desk work, then go to have my hair cut. Home for a late lunch. When I plan an errand out of the house, I must take care not to do too much beforehand and get too tired to go out.
After lunch, I lay on the living room floor in the sunshine to rest my back before fixing dinner and Ed's lunch. After dinner, we go to the pool. Friday
My monthly volunteer job with Rockville FISH, a group that gives emergency food and transportation to the needy. As officer of the day, I call the answering service every couple of hours, contact the clients who have asked for help, sort out requests and refer some to the food and transportation coordinators.
Not feeling too hot. Cook dinner, make Ed's lunch for tomorrow (he is working Saturday because of a big contract push) and rest).
After dinner, go to church where a man shows slides from his extensive visits to Poland. Late evening but worth the time. Saturday
Go to the library to pick up a book I had ordered. Have a terrible time trying to put the wheelchair back in the car and finally have to ask a man to help. The struggle with the chair exhausts me.
Firends coming for dinner, so spend the remainder of the day cooking, fixing the table, etc. Have a great evening with them. Wash the dishes and go to bed. Sunday
Go to church, then home to write FISH reports and some letters. Feel pretty good considering the short night's sleep.
Have an early dinner, then Ed and I go to the Smithsonian for two Alec Guinness movies. They are a treat. Since I have not been able to swim for several days. I ride the exercycle before lunch. Do not generally ride except in the evening, because it tires me for hours. When I ride it late in the evening, a good night's sleep refreshes me.