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Still Walking

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Monday, September 17, 2018

Chasing My Pants and Other Tricks of the ALS Imp

I have become convinced there is an ALS imp. This creature just delights in playing tricks upon you as your disorder progresses. He thinks it is hilarious fun. For instance, he seems to derive great belly laughs by knocking things out of your grasp, such as my keys. I have no idea how many times I have to bend over and pick up my keys, but it pretty much every time I pull them out and try to line a key up with the slot in the lock.


Just as I maneuver the shaft into the proper position and have it on the tip of the keyhole...

Sprang, my ring of openers is splayed across whatever surface my feet stand upon and the object key is now entangled in the midst of the others and I must bend, pick up and sort out again.

A number of silly little tricks are pulled anytime I attempt to dress. Take my pants.  No, wait, don't. I have enough of a battle because the Imp is always taking, or at least tugging at my pants and I must chase them down to put them on.

A number of years ago in my spryer year, I became annoyed with hearing the expression, "He's just a
man; he puts his pants on one leg at a time." I decided I didn't want that said of me, so when I got dressed I would place my pants of the day on the floor before me as I sat upon my bed. I would place each foot in the pants by the proper leg, then voila, I would grasp the waist band of the pants, stand up and pull over both legs at once. I was a man who put his pants on both legs at a time.

Now with the ALS Imp around I have trouble getting any leg on. Since it is difficult for me to reach my toes anymore, whether sitting or standing, and sitting is safer because standing I tend to fall over, I must make an attempt to lasso my one foot with one of the leg holes.

Once I have accomplished this, and it is never particularly easy, I must hook my other foot in the other leg. These maneuvers can result in my flinging my pants from my feet and my reach.

If I have managed to rope my feet with my pants on both right and left, then it would seem it is an easy matter to tub them in place up around my waist. However, often in practice as I tug upward I discover that somehow both feet, and consequently, both legs are in the same hole.

This results in my wearing (in the case of shorts) a small dress with an odd flap on one side or the other. I must then pull the one errant leg out of the material and begin again. Even getting the legit is not so quick or graceful as one would hope.

Now shoes and sock, that is another place for the Impractical Joker Imp to get his jollies. If I can't
reach my feet and must loop my pants over my toes like a lariat trick in a rodeo, what chance have I with socks?

This takes some special contortions. I must rest a foot against the inner side of my one calf and then reach with as much stretch as possible to hook my toes. Of course, one of the delights of ALS is cramping. Any over exerted stretch of an extremity may result it agonizing pain down said extremity and sent out imp rolling in laughter.

I begin my day struggling with those socks. If I get the right aboard I can then repeat for the left.

Shoes are sort of similar, which is why I have started wearing sandals for all occasions. These slide on, although it again takes a stretch to pull the back strap up over the heel. Shirts are not so much a problem. But I do have a video taken by my friend Ronald that runs 15 minutes showing my struggle to put on a light spring jacket.

Anyway, I do not look forward to the passing of summer, because cold weather brings more clothes I must struggle into. In this warm weather I stay in basic things more easily put on and taken off. I almost always wear sandals, ankle socks, shorts and T-shirt. In cold weather there will be more, including zippers that resist my grasp to fasten the clasp and pull up. I have chosen to wear workout pants during the chill seasons demanding long pant. They just slide up and over everything with no real fasteners.

There are other obstacles as this disorder progresses, and it is progressing. Last Sunday at the end of my Bible Study I collapsed from fatigue. It took two men to house me up and out to a car to get me home. This is not a happening I wish to repeat. I would not want to collapse in such a fashion on my walks, but I stubbornly don't want to curtail my walks either.

It truth, I have grown weaker and more unsteady. I still walk with a sick, but am much more wobbly, like a drunk strolling from his drinking well, I fear.

I become frustrated with my inability to perform chores anymore, and continue to insist on trying. I mean, someone has to do these things? Last week I decided since the grass has reached new heights due to all the rain, that it had to go and I tried. I managed half the front. My wife and daughter fished the rest between them over a couple more days.

It was the mowing where the Imp pulled it
stunts. It was when I emptied the bag of trimmings. I dump these in a compost please hidden in our border weeds, but this time the Imp pushed me over because there is a hole and the ground was still wet. I disappeared from sight into the bushes, on my back like a stranded turtle. Where I landed is pictured on the right. I am far to week anymore to push myself up; I am certainly past doing quick nip-up. There I lay, a hopeless pile of jello, struggling to reach some sturdy limb in the brush to pull myself up with. Somehow I did finally manage to roll over on my knees and make it upright,

And the imp just stood there laughing.

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