Me and My Many Hats- A Day in the Life of a MS Expert/Patient/Student/Etc...
I was recently reading an article about the morning routines of some of the most successful U.S. business women. Well, I wish I could unread that article quite frankly. I failed to see a single parallel between their average day and mine. I certainly don’t rise before the sun to get in an hour of meditation and/or yoga in. I don’t exclusively sip on fair trade, organic, hand ground coffee in the morning and I couldn’t even identify most of the foods they ate on a typical day. So when my amazing MultipleSclerosis.net team asked me to do a “day in the life” piece I had immediate reservations. I didn't want this to be the MS equivalent of that article about business women where I talk about all the things I do in a day despite my MS. The truth is daily life is a bit harder now, but I am under no disillusion- I know I have it relatively good! So without further preamble, this is the daily life of an MS patient turned MS expert, graduate student, etc:
I get up 2-3 hours before I have to be anywhere, it takes time to get the motors running and to let my morning medications kick in. The days of getting up and heading right out the door are pretty much over. Thankfully I haven’t had a particularly early schedule for the past few months because in the past I have had to start work by 6:45am!
7:00am- Hit snooze
7:06am- Hit snooze
7:12am- Moan, groan, roll out of bed, and turn off the alarm before it goes off a third time and the hubby gets mad.
7:13am- Head straight for the coffee machine. I start every morning out with Wawa hazelnut coffee with International Delight Irish Creamer. A good friend introduced me to this concoction and dubbed it the “nutty irishman”. It’s delicious, and it gives me a daily dose of nostalgia.
7:15am- Take a bath. I’m a bath person since my diagnosis! Hot showers make be dizzy, and cold showers are just not an avenue that I'm willing to explore. Baths go much more smoothly, and a good soak is good for my leg muscles too. Then of course it’s time for morning medications!
Bottoms up! Not pictured: makeup, attractive hair, or clothes that aren't pajamas
8:00am- Hit the books, reply to e-mails, maybe write an article, and fit in some work related phone calls in if necessary. I’m finishing my Master’s degree right now, which means I spend a good amount of time studying at “mission control”.
We are gonna need more coffee for this.
9:30am- Realize it’s already 9:30! Rush around to do hair/makeup/choose an outfit, shove some food in my mouth, and put my coat on. Inevitably I realize I have to pee again, take my coat off, run to the bathroom one more time, and finally get out the door.
10:30am- Arrive at the outpatient clinic where I am doing my last clinical rotation before officially becoming a Nurse Practitioner. Depending on the day this either terrifies me, or makes me want to jump with joy!
11:00am-4:00pm- See patients in the clinic. This is the best part of my day! I love everything about people and about being a healthcare provider. I love talking to people from all walks of life, meeting their families, interacting with the office staff, and helping people heal to the best of my ability. When 4pm rolls around I get a little sad, which is how I know I’m getting something right.
Ready to give some patients "white coat syndrome".
4:45pm- Arrive at school for night class. Squeeze in a conference call if I need to, but mostly I save those for the nights that I don’t have class.
5:00pm-8:00pm- Sit in lecture for a few hours. Luckily, I have a great teacher who keeps us engaged and the time flies by pretty fast.
8:15pm- Drive home feeling overwhelmed because there is still SO much information left to learn before graduating in a few months!
My big, beautiful school.
8:30pm- I’m home! It's time to roll around on the floor with my cat for a bit, and swap stories with the hubby while we cook dinner together (usually while blasting goofy music).
9:00pm- Our dining room table is collecting dust because we usually eat dinner on the couch next to each other while catching up on our favorite shows. It's a good way to unwind after a long day!
9:30pm- Answer e-mails, jot down ideas for blog posts/articles, peruse social media for some mindless entertainment.
10:00pm- Brush teeth, take nighttime medications, decide I’m hungry for a late night snack, grab said snack, curl up in bed with hubby and cat, and watch the FoodNetwork. This is my other favorite time of day. We have been together for 7 years now, and it still feels like I get to have a sleep over with my best friend every night. We jump on the bed, play with the cat (who likes to chase our feet under the covers and bring us all her toys one by one), tell jokes, laugh a lot, and eventually whoever falls asleep first without giggling wins (usually him). Sometimes by the time we settle ourselves down it’s already midnight, totally worth it.
Oh hey, mom! I see you are trying to sleep, perhaps my toy will be of some assistance.
This is my average day right now, and I know I have it good. I get to spend it with people I love, doing what I love. The endless tests, papers, and studying will end pretty soon and I will of course welcome that time with open arms! Maybe before MS an “average” day would seem pretty…well, average. But now that I have waded through some truly awful days, the average ones seem extraordinary. I’m walking well, feeling the impact of fatigue a bit less, and as long as I take my medicine things are generally going ok. I have quite a few days where I have “false starts” and I am so tempted to leave on my pajamas and stay in for the day. Sometimes I feel truly awful and I have to stay in, but most of the time I manage to get going. Then, without fail, as soon as I start seeing people who also overcame their own challenges and made it into the doctor’s office just to seek my help a second wind hits my sails. Later as I put the key in the door after a long day dreaming of my soft bed, I open the door to a bunch of happy faces that greet me with such enthusiasm that it’s contagious. I take none of the credit for accomplishing the things I do, it’s all because of the people (and animals) around me that make those things worth doing in the first place. It’s humbling, and a privilege, and MS has made me incredibly grateful for it all.
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