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)

Wednesday

Autumn brings MS relief




Ah, autumn is arriving. OK, sure. That means winter will soon be on-deck, but let’s just savor the moment a bit, shall we?

Autumn brings cooler temperatures, while we still enjoy sunshine and soft breezes and the lovely colors of Nature. Football fans rejoice to see games begin. Long-distance runners revel in the opening of the prime season. Pumpkin lovers? Don’t get me started.



This welcome season also brings relief for those living with multiple sclerosis.

It means super-hot and humid days are behind us for a while. Extreme heat frequently sets off MS symptoms. (Experts call it Uhthoff’s Phenomenon.) That makes summer sort of challenging for plenty of us. It also makes fall a favorite.

Hello, autumn. Glad to see you! Hope you will stick around for a spell.

Image/s:
Adapted by this user from public domain image



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Saturday

45 smart and eco-friendly ways to reuse prescription pill bottles




Don’t toss empty plastic pill bottles. Why not recycle them creatively instead?

Multiple sclerosis warriors can collect a fair amount of empty plastic prescription bottles over time. But why toss these in the trash, when they can be handy for storing all sorts of tiny objects and essentials? Instead of pouring empty prescription containers into landfills, why not find creative and practical ways to use them instead?

Here are 45 different ways those empty plastic prescription bottles can be used for storage and organization. Perhaps you can think of many more applications as well. 

NOTE: Written by this author, this copyrighted material originally appeared on another publisher’s site. That site no longer exists. This author holds all rights to this content. No republication is allowed without permission.

Be sure to peel the labels off your empty plastic prescription bottles. Wash the containers carefully, and dry them thoroughly to remove any possible medicinal residue. Mark empty plastic prescription bottles with stick-on labels, or write the contents directly on the containers with a permanent marker.



Use empty plastic prescription bottles to store:

  1. Antacids – How many times have you reached into your pocket or purse for a chewable antacid tablet, only to find the last one stuck to the bottom? Somehow, that fuzzy, lint-covered over-the-counter antacid seems less than appetizing. If you store that opened roll of Rolaids, Tums or other antacids in an empty plastic prescription bottle, you will always find a fresh tablet when you need it.

  1. Bandages – Most adhesive bandages fit nicely inside an empty plastic prescription bottle, and the container will keep these first-aid necessities clean and dry. Why not keep empty plastic prescription bottles of adhesive bandages in the car, as well as the bathroom and kitchen cabinets.

  1. BBs and Air-Gun Pellets – Do you have a toy or hobby gun? Empty plastic prescription bottles are ideal for storing those BBs and pellets. The child-proof lids will keep the contents securely stored, although you will still want to stash the plastic prescription bottle in a safe spot – out of sight and out of reach.

  1. Beads – Crafters and jewelry makers may find empty plastic prescription bottles particularly handy for storing beads, clasps, hooks and other beading supplies. By using several empty plastic prescription bottles, crafters can keep beads and adornments sorted by color, size, style or other criteria.

  1. Beanie Baby Tags - Do you still have an assortment of Beanie Baby animals or other collectible toys? How about keeping those little hang tags in empty plastic prescription bottles?

  1. Bobby Pins – Hair clips and bobby pins fit easily into empty plastic prescription bottles. Instead of digging through vanity drawers for hair pins, why not keep these hairstyling supplies inside empty plastic prescription bottles?

  1. Breath Mints – Once opened, breath mints or rolled candies may tumble out of their packaging into a backpack, handbag or pocket. Prevent sticky messes and fuzzy candies by keeping these treats in empty plastic prescription bottles. (Be sure to warn children that not all contents of plastic prescription bottles are readily edible, to prevent them from consuming actual medications.)

  1. Buttons – Often, store-bought garments come with tiny packets of spare buttons or snaps. Keep these extra fasteners in an empty plastic prescription bottle, so you will know exactly where to find them, if one should pop off of your favorite apparel.

  1. Cash – Store an extra $20 or two in an empty plastic prescription bottle in the glove compartment or door cubby of your car, just for emergency use.

  1. Christmas Tree Light Bulbs - Boxes of new Christmas tree lights usually include miniscule packets of spare light bulbs and fuses. Tuck these into an empty plastic prescription bottle, and stick this in the Christmas ornament box for easy access when you need new bulbs or fuses.

  1. Coins – The larger empty plastic prescription bottles easily hold coins of all denominations. You can keep a supply of coins (particularly quarters) for the Laundromat and the toll booth in an empty plastic prescription bottle in the car.

  1. Cotton Balls – Tidy up the bathroom vanity or cosmetics kit by storing loose cotton balls in an empty plastic prescription bottle. This solution is particularly convenient for traveling, offering just enough cotton balls for make-up removal or first-aid uses on the road.

  1. Cotton Swabs – Q-tips and other cotton swabs fit neatly inside an empty plastic prescription bottle for daily use or travel.

  1. Cough Drops and Throat Lozenges – Store a few cough drops or throat lozenges in an empty plastic prescription bottle in your school backpack, purse or briefcase. Stash another empty plastic prescription bottle of cough drops or throat lozenges in your desk drawer or at your workstation. (Be sure to warn children that not all contents of plastic prescription bottles are readily edible, to prevent them from consuming actual medications.)

  1. Daily Medications – Track your daily medication doses and vitamins by storing these in seven empty plastic prescription bottles. Label the empty plastic prescription bottles for each day of the week, and you will always know if you have taken your daily doses. (Some folks find it helpful to use 14 empty plastic prescription bottles, if morning and evening doses are needed.)

  1. Disposable Razor Heads – Toss used razor heads into child-proof empty plastic prescription bottles. Seal the tops securely before discarding these potentially dangerous items in the trash.

  1. Doll Accessories – Store miniature doll toys and fashion doll accessories in empty plastic prescription bottles, and you won’t lose any more of those tiny high-heeled Barbie shoes.

  1. Earring Backs – How often have you looked for stray earring backs in your jewelry box? Why not keep a small supply of earring backs in an empty plastic prescription bottle?

  1. Fishing Hooks – Do you love to fish? Keep track of those little fish hooks and lures by sealing them in empty plastic prescription bottles. Use several empty plastic prescription bottles to sort and store those small angling accessories.

  1. Fruit Snacks – Pack healthy dried apricots, cranberries, prunes or raisins in empty plastic prescription bottles for bag lunches. (Be sure to warn children that not all contents of plastic prescription bottles are readily edible, to prevent them from consuming actual medications.)

  1. Game pieces – Track pairs of dice, game tokens and other small pieces in empty plastic prescription bottles. Tuck one plastic prescription bottle inside each game box, filled with the tiny components of that game. Plastic prescription bottles are just right for packing those little Monopoly pieces, for example.

  1. Glitter – Craft glitter, sequins and sand art may be stored easily and neatly in empty plastic prescription bottles.

  1. Matches – Keep matches (cardboard and wooden) in empty plastic prescription bottles. This storage method prevents matches from striking accidentally, while keeping these fire starters dry as well. What a super solution for boaters, campers, canoeing enthusiasts and white-water rafters.

  1. Medical Information – Place a list of pertinent personal medical information inside an empty plastic prescription bottle, and store it inside the freezer. Stick a note on the refrigerator door to alert paramedics, in case of an emergency. (Storing medical information in the freezer is a common practice, especially in senior citizen communities.)

  1. Medical Sharps – Put used lancets and hypodermic needles inside empty plastic prescription bottles, and seal lids securely for safe disposal. This suggestion may be particularly helpful while traveling, as a safer means of transporting spent sharps home for proper permanent disposal in an appropriate container. Be sure to check state and local requirements for medical waste disposal, as licensed containers may be required in some areas.

  1. Nail Polish Remover – Fill empty plastic prescription bottles with cotton balls, soaked in nail polish remover, for handy do-it-yourself manicures.

  1. Orthodontic Rubber Bands – Do you have a brace-wearer in your household? Those tiny orthodontic rubber bands may seem to show up everywhere. Prevent this minor mayhem by storing these supplies in empty plastic prescription bottles.

  1. Pain-Relief Medications – Many consumers purchase acetaminophen, ibuprofen and other over-the-counter medications in bulk containers for better pricing. Why not store smaller supplies in empty plastic prescription bottles for daily use? Be advised, however, that original labeled packaging may be required for airport security, when you travel.

  1. Paintballs – Paintball enthusiasts may store leftover paint pellets in empty plastic prescription bottles to prevent these supplies from popping and spilling.

  1. Paints – Mix powdered poster or tempera paints in empty plastic prescription bottles for painting crafts. Store leftover acrylic paints in empty plastic prescription bottles as well. Dab a bit of paint on the top of each plastic prescription bottle for easy color identification.

  1. Paper Clips – De-clutter a home office or workplace desk by storing loose paperclips in empty plastic prescription bottles.

  1. Picture Hooks – Pick up picture hanging hooks and nails, and keep them in empty plastic prescription bottles for easy organization.

  1. Postage Stamps – Avoid sticky messes by storing postage stamps in empty plastic prescription bottles.

  1. Rubber Bands – Stash rubber bands for ready use in empty plastic prescription bottles. Use another empty plastic prescription bottle for coated hair elastics.

  1. Safety Pins – Always have safety pins available when you need them by keeping them in empty plastic prescription bottles.

  1. Salad Dressing – Take a single serving of mayonnaise or salad dressing in a bag lunch by packing it into an empty plastic prescription bottle.

  1. Salt and Pepper – Carefully punch a few holes in the tops of empty plastic prescription bottles to make your own salt and pepper shakers.

  1. Screws – Store screws, nuts, bolts, brads and nails in empty plastic prescription bottles to tidy up the tool chest.

  1. Seeds – Organize flower, vegetable and other plant seeds in empty plastic prescription bottles. You can even start seeds in empty plastic prescription bottles by adding peat or planting medium.

  1. Sewing Kit – Stick a needle, thread, straight pins, safety pin and spare button in an empty plastic prescription bottle to create a personal sewing kit for travel or the workplace.

  1. Shampoo and Conditioner – Stop overspending on sample-sized sundries for travel. Pour small amounts of shampoo and conditioner into empty plastic prescription bottles for use on the road. Just be advised that airport security may require such items to appear in original labeled containers, if you fly.

  1. Snacks – Pack cereals, peanuts, pretzels or other small snacks in empty plastic prescription bottles for bag lunches or traveling treats. (Be sure to warn children that not all contents of plastic prescription bottles are readily edible, to prevent them from consuming actual medications.)

  1. Spices - Empty plastic prescription bottles make super spice storage containers. Pour cinnamon, cloves, ginger, paprika, parsley or other spices into empty plastic prescription bottles to organize your spice cabinet.

  1. Thumb Tacks – Keep push pins and thumb tacks neatly stored in the office or home in empty plastic prescription bottles.

  1. Toothpicks – Tuck a supply of wooden toothpicks in an empty plastic prescription bottle for easy accessibility in the kitchen. How about keeping an extra supply of toothpicks in an empty plastic prescription bottle in your briefcase, car, handbag or school backpack for quick use when you need one?

Don’t discard those empty plastic prescription bottles.

Instead, reuse those handy pill bottles for organization and storage – at home, in the car or in the workplace. Or donate empty plastic prescription bottles to veterinarians, animal shelters, day care centers, free clinics, homeless shelters, senior centers, and other facilities that may be able to recycle and reuse them.
Image/s:
Adapted by this user from Pixabay public domain image



Feel free to follow on GooglePlus and Twitter. Please visit my Amazon author page as well.
You are invited to join the Kicking MS to the Curb page on Facebook and the Making the Most of MS board on Pinterest.

Thursday

Stress brings MS to excess




Can stress weigh you down and increase your risk of a multiple sclerosis exacerbation (if you have MS)? Can heightened anxiety, increased concerns, and emotional overload raise your risk for an MS flare-up?

You bet it can.

I’m there – right now. Fight as I might, the MS symptoms that plague me most often are raising a ruckus. And I’ve been here before. If you are an MS warrior, you probably have as well.



What’s the stress this time?

Here in the Upper Midwest, we’ve had a whirlwind of wild and weird weather. The latest onslaught has led to massive flooding, which basically wiped out my daughter’s house. The waters actually moved her one-story ranch home off its foundation. Because the structure has no basement, all of the rushing waters spilled right into the house itself, destroying furniture, appliances, and other contents.

Two semi-truck-sized dumpsters could not hold all of the discards.

Once the bulldozers remove the remaining ruined shell of the house, along with its cracked foundation, construction will begin on a replacement.

In the meantime, my adult kid is living in a camper in the driveway and looking out the window at her ruined property. We are trying to scrape together funds to help with the solution, which promises to be beyond all of our means. Insurance is balking at the claim. The federal government is taking its own sweet time to determine if this is a worthy disaster for any sort of loans or aid.

Someone from the county stopped by with a jug of bleach, a tub of cleaning wipes, and a spray bottle of disinfectant. We appreciate the gesture, but I’m not sure that will do the trick this time. The house has been inspected and declared “totaled,” “unsafe,” and “condemned.”

Her car was also ruined. The claims adjuster wrote up his report, offering a replacement sum that wouldn’t buy her a nice mountain bike, let alone a reliable car.

Can you say, “stress”?

Sure, my kid is reeling. Who wouldn’t be? Me too! I want to help her with all my heart. At the same time, I can almost see the MS MonSter, rearing his angry head and baring his nasty claws at me.

I’m feeling sick, even though I haven’t caught anything. The MS headache hurts from scalp to toes. My chest is tight. My ears are ringing. My gut hurts. I am slugging it out, trying like heck to stay strong. How can I help, if the MS MonSter knocks me off my feet?

Enough whining. 

Suffice it to say: I’m in overload mode. I would wager you’ve been there. You get it.

Yesterday morning, I showed up for a routine doctor’s appointment, only to find it was scheduled for afternoon instead. But I had promised to join my daughter for an on-site consultation. Fortunately, the doctor’s receptionist was kind enough to reschedule without extra fees. So there’s that.

It’s like I’m trudging along, carrying a backpack filled with rocks.

I have friends who actually like to practice a rigorous sport called rucking. Nope, not the rugby kind of rucking. These folks load up their backpacks (or rucksacks) with special metal plates (purchased in various weights) and carry them for miles on purpose. They do 5Ks, 10Ks, half marathons, full marathons, and more.

This form of rucking is based on military training exercises. In the military, they ruck with full gear and boots.

One guy I know, who pursues rucking recreationally (in honor of a family member, who was a fallen veteran) recently toted a 65-pound rucksack and carried a large American flag for a full marathon across desert hills in the American Southwest. That’s 26.2 miles, if anyone is wondering.

Holey moley, right?

To me, “ruck” sort of sounds like a four-letter word, if you get my drift. I’ve spent enough time and money in the chiropractor’s office (and even in the hospital) to address neck and back issues related to past injuries and MS demyelination to want to jeopardize whatever spinal integrity remains.

But I get it. Facing difficult challenges is empowering.

OK, back to the rucking thing. I think I want to coin a new phrase: “emotional rucking.” That’s what I am feeling, right about now. Maybe you know the feeling.

When stress piles up, including both ongoing issues and pressing crises, it can add extra pounds to our proverbial backpacks. It drags us down, slows our steps, and can even make us ache all over.

I am extremely grateful that I have been able to pursue running, while battling MS.

At least, much of the time I can. It's an amazing stress-buster for me. I fully understand that MS often sidelines even the strongest of souls with physical attacks that bind them to canes, crutches, or wheelchairs. So far, I’ve been blessed with continuing mobility, although my stamina and balance can certainly suffer during exacerbations.

Like now.

Such times remind me that it’s only by God’s grace that I can walk at all. So, if I have to run a little slower or not as far – or if I even have to take a breather from my own fitness goals till my MS-fighting body settles down, then I’d better be smart about it.

Stress brings MS to excess. Symptoms flare. I can feel it. Maybe it’s time to put down the old rucksack till some of those heavy rocks fall out again.

Image/s:
Adapted by this user from Pixabay public domain image




Feel free to follow on GooglePlus and Twitter. Please visit my Amazon author page as well.
You are invited to join the Kicking MS to the Curb page on Facebook and the Making the Most of MS board on Pinterest.
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