Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month: My MS and me

Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month: My MS and me

March is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month. Though I have MS, I don’t write much about it because, frankly, it’s long been just part of who I am, not what defines me. There are far more informative bloggers when it comes to all things MS—my dear friend Cathy of An Empowered Spirit foremost in my mind—so I typically stick with grandma-focused sorts of stuff.

Yet, with MS becoming a bigger (sometimes overwhelmingly so) focus of my life in the time since last year’s MS Awareness Month, I figured I’d spend at least one post sharing the relatively recent changes to my MS and me. Perhaps doing so will put…

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On pneumococcal disease—and vaccination—awareness

NFID_Nearly1MillionPneumococcal_IG_11.5.jpg

This is a sponsored post in partnership with the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases.

When I was in fourth grade, I was the only one in my class who could spell pneumonia. I clearly recall my teacher standing at the front of the class, carefully writing out P N E U M O N I A on the chalkboard then asking the rapt students who knew what the word was. No one raised a hand… so I did.

I did indeed know the word because I was, in fact, the reason my teacher had written it on the board. He resourcefully used my return from an extended absence—due to pneumonia—as a lesson on a wacky word that not only began with a silent P, but boasted an abundance of vowels.

That wasn’t the first time I’d had pneumonia. I had suffered a serious bout at 18 months, though I naturally don’t recall that time. I do recall the three…

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Welcome, Benjamin! Plus, GRAND Social No. 325 link party for grandparents

Welcome, Benjamin! Plus, GRAND Social No. 325 link party for grandparents

Welcome, Benjamin!

My long-awaited (local) grandson has arrived! Last Wednesday, in fact. As his entry into the world—and Mama Brianna’s arms—didn’t go quite as planned, I’ve followed Brianna’s and Patrick’s lead in delaying celebratory announcements online and otherwise.

Jim and I did get to meet the amazing bundle of joy while word was still under wraps, though. (A true perk of being local grandparents for the first time!)

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The Let's Be Well Diabetes Box™ a thoughtful gift for loved one with diabetes

This post sponsored by AARP and the American Diabetes Association.

LBW box Jim.JPG

My husband isn't normal. I guess a more accurate descriptor would be that he's an anomaly. See, my husband has peripheral neuropathy—numbness, tingling, pain, and worse in his feet. It's a condition most commonly due to diabetes. Yet my husband does not have diabetes, not even pre-diabetes. According to literally decades of blood tests seeking a diabetes-PN connection, there is no connection.

There are, though, chronic—and oh-so stubborn—foot wounds my husband regularly contends with, similar to the foot wounds folks with diabetes often experience. It's a confounding state, to say the least.

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Shingles and shots: On the shingles virus and vaccine

Shingles and shots: On the shingles virus and vaccine

This post sponsored by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases through an unrestricted educational grant from Merck & Co., Inc.

What you should know about shingles and getting vaccinated to prevent it

When conversations and considerations turn to vaccinations, immunizations for little ones is most often the focus. Or, for traveling folks, the shots necessary for globe-trotting trips might be what comes to mind.

The shingles vaccination rarely registers in the top shots grandmothers and others consider in relation to must-get vaccinations. Which is a shame considering that, according to the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID), one in three adults will get shingles in their lifetime. In the United States, shingles affects nearly one million people each year — roughly half of them are age 60 years and older.

Which means thousands of grandparents likely suffer the pains and problems associated with shingles.

My older sister happens to be one of those struggling with shingles. Becky, three years older than me, was ...

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Grandma takes a break

I like to think I'm superwoman, capable of leaping tall buildings in a single bound... while juggling 361 duties with ease.

Sometimes life smacks me upside the head and tells me I'm a doofus for thinking such things.

Right now is one of those times, and I have no choice but to cry uncle admit I'm juggling more than I'm capable of at the moment.

One thing I'm juggling is caregiving duties for Jim, who — more than a month after his emergency foot surgery — is still on crutches, still has his PICC line for the mega antibiotics fighting the foot-damaging infection he had. Which means I'm still driving him to and from work, to and from doctor appointments, still administering his IV medication each evening, still handling absolutely everything around the house because he can't put any weight on his right foot if we want it to heal correctly. (Which we truly do want, despite the hassle.)

And now, as fate would have it, the "around the house" stuff I face includes something neither of us has ever had to do, thanks to the July 28 hailstorm from hell that hit our part of town. It spared our windows and roof, for the most part, but demolished every living thing in my yard, leaving pine needles and more everywhere.

hailstorm

Other than a huge helping hand from...

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Here and now: July 29, 2016

This is what's up in my life... and an answer to why I've not been posting much "real writing" here on the blog.

clock and book

On my mind...

How to cheer up Jim after learning yesterday he is "not yet ready for prime time" after his foot surgery, according to his podiatrist. Meaning, he still cannot bear weight on his right foot. Meaning, he has yet another week left using crutches. Meaning, he must still sleep downstairs, must still go in the back door at work where they have a handicapped ramp for him to...

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Picky PICC! Plus, GRAND Social No. 216 link party for grandparents

Picky PICC!

Heading into our fourth week of me playing caregiver to Jim after his foot surgery due to a horrendous infection that had put him pert near septic throughout his system, things are going quite well. For the most part. He's still using crutches and a walker, unable to bear weight on the right foot, but the swelling is down, a few stitches have been removed, the antibiotics I administer each evening in his PICC line are doing their job.

There was, though, a snag on Saturday that scared us both. As he went to bed Friday night (bed being relative, meaning the family-room-couch-converted-to-a-bed-til-he-can-walk-the-stairs-up-to-his-real-bed bed), Jim noticed some blood pooled under the plastic seal on his PICC line dressing, blood that hadn't been there a few hours earlier when I administered his daily dose of antibiotics. It seemed to have...

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No GRAND Social link party this week? Long story made short

Astute readers of Grandma's Briefs and regular participants in the weekly GRAND Social link party for grandparents may have noticed something amiss this week. That being that there was no GRAND Social link party published on Monday, yesterday, as it has been for a couple years now.

I sincerely apologize for that. It's a long story why the GRAND Social is MIA. But as it's late Monday night and I just returned from the hospital as I write this, I'll make the long story short by simply sharing what I just posted a bit ago on my personal Facebook page. (Plot point: Yesterday was my birthday.)

My long story made short, copied from Facebook:

Colorado sunset

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8 reasons grandparents should not resist a rest

Once you're old enough to be a grandparent, a good night's sleep is hard to come by. Chalk it up to hormones, hot flashes, medications, and more. Considering the causes can be exhausting in itself.

Despite our continual quest to quench our desire for downtime, we grandparents often flat-out refuse to rest our weary heads when we're with our grandchildren. Whether it's because we feel guilty or we simply want to "get stuff done," resisting a rest can be detrimental to our health and happiness. Detrimental to the health and happiness of our grandchildren, too—especially when they're in our care.

Here's why:

sleeping woman and dog 

NOT GETTING ENOUGH SLEEP...

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5 names and 5 uses for Grandma

grandma names and uses 

5 names for GRANDMA:

I've been exercising my brain a bit more than usual the past couple weeks in an effort to counteract some mushiness and muck courtesy multiple sclerosis. Challenging one's noggin' is wise for one and all as we age — not just those with cognitive issues — and my dear friend Ruth and her Cranium Crunches site are a super source of fun ways to keep the brain fit.

Ruth recently shared with me...

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