Living with M.S.

"Living with M.S. is sort of like training for a long race. The harder you try, and the longer you keep at it, the stronger you become.
Eventually, looking back, you may be amazed at the power you possessed, even when you had no idea it was within your reach." (Linda Ann Nickerson)

Friday

The MS life is rough-and-tumble




When I was younger, I used to think of tumbling as a pursuit for people who could do cartwheels, flips, and handsprings. The dictionary even defines “tumbling” in terms of such gymnastics feats.

By the way, I was never good at any of those things.

Since the arrival of MS, this term has taken on an entirely different meaning for me. And I’ve become pretty adept at tumbling. (But I still can’t do a cartwheel.)

My first true tumble occurred in front of several people. (Wouldn’t you just know it?) We were standing outside a horseback riding facility. I bade the others goodbye and began walking to my car, which was about 20 feet away. Mid-stride, I reached into my pocket to retrieve my car keys.

Boom.

The next thing I knew, I was flat out on my back, staring at the clear blue summer sky. I had no idea how I got there.

Of course, everyone laughed. They probably just thought I had a clumsy moment. None of us knew it was MS.



What causes MSers to tumble?

Maybe it’s the whole balance, blurred vision, and heat sensitivity thing. It could be the random and inexplicably sudden tingling, numbness, and weakness that can attack random body parts at will. Perhaps it’s something else altogether.

Still, tumble we do. Some of us could make unpredictable tumbling an Olympic sport. And it often hurts. Plenty of MS warriors have scads of old x-rays and scans, showing bone fractures and other injuries we’ve incurred through tumbling. Most of us sport various bumps and bruises and welts all over at any given time, simply from tumbling.

Yes, the MS life is rough-and-tumble.

And it’s a sure bet not one of us is exactly head-over-heels about it. Sometimes it’s hard even to tumble out of bed in the morning, if the MS MonSter is already up and raging. But still we fight and rumble on against the tumbling. So please forgive us, if our tumbling is accompanied by a fair amount of grumbling. Even so, our resolve is not crumbling. Just give us a moment, and we’ll resume the battle against MS.

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 Adapted from public domain artwork

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Thursday

Changing meds: Safety tips for tossing leftover drugs




Pharmaceutical companies constantly research and modify medications. New drugs enter the medical marketplace frequently. Patients living with multiple sclerosis or other conditions often find that their physicians write new prescriptions to change treatment plans. Plenty of us may be instructed to take certain drugs on a trial or short-term basis, leading to an accumulation of partially used prescriptions in our medicine cabinets.

What should be done with the old meds?

Please refuse to discard unused medications in the trash. This presents an obvious risk in the home and farther down the trash disposal chain.

Don’t rinse them down the sink or flush them down the toilet, either. Consider the ecological implications of adding medicines to the water supply.



Here are a few basic common-sense guidelines for getting rid of leftover medications.

1.  Remove and destroy the labels from all prescription drug bottles or canisters. Stick the labels on a sheet of junk mail, and run it through a shredder. Or cut them up with scissors. It’s a good idea to take off drug labels routinely before throwing out empty drug containers, too. This step is important for multiple reasons.

  • Anyone who finds your still-labeled prescription container will immediately know what medication you take, what pharmacy you use, what doctor treats you, and more. Whose business is that?
  • Why risk having anyone pick up your prescription bottle and try to refill the medication inappropriately?
  • What if someone is caught with your leftover medication, still bearing your personal information? Sure, you would likely end up proving your innocence. But what a hassle that process could be.

2. Take the now-unmarked leftover medication to an approved drug disposal location. Most counties have official drug drop-off sites. These may include local pharmacies, police departments, public safety departments, or other facilities. If in doubt, ask a pharmacist for referrals. The aim is to prevent any possibility of leftover drugs (particularly controlled substances) from winding up in places where they do not belong.

3. Follow published guidelines for sharps. Needles and other injection equipment require special care for disposal. Rules tend vary by state. Some require users to place used sharps in special FDA-approved containers. Others permit disposal in sealed, clearly marked hard plastic containers (such as laundry detergent bottles). Several communities have hazardous waste collection sites, which will accept such drop-offs.

Safe disposal of leftover medications is responsible, eco-friendly, and smart.

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Image/s:
 Adapted from public domain artwork

Feel free to follow on Google Plus and Twitter.  You are invited to join the Kicking MS to the Curb page on Facebook and the Making the Most of MS board on Pinterest as well.

Beware of prescription drug auto-fills!




Prescription drugs are costly, particularly when we pay for medicines we don’t really need.

Enter the auto-fill.

A certain family member, who will remain nameless, used a smart phone to set up auto-refills for a prescription medication. Within a few months, the prescribing physician changed the treatment regimen and wrote out a script for a new medicine.

Picking up a prescription for another family member, I asked the pharmacist if we had any additional prescriptions ready to go. And we did. So, trying to be helpful, as mothers are wont to do, I purchased the prepared package as well.



Arriving at home, I learned that the extra prescription was no longer current.

But guess what! Pharmacies do not take returns. They can’t. It’s the law. Clearly, that’s a safety issue. So we are stuck with extra medication we will not need or use.

It may sound like small potatoes, but this is a prime example of a drug deal gone bad. Maybe I should rephrase that.

I think I feel sick. I wonder if I need a prescription.

Image/s:
 Adapted from public domain artwork

Feel free to follow on Google Plus and Twitter.  You are invited to join the Kicking MS to the Curb page on Facebook and the Making the Most of MS board on Pinterest as well.
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