Saturday, April 5, 2008

Fingolimod update, chicken concoction & the fate of the wrens

I swear FTY720 has changed my life. I have gone from the dramatic "get me to the hospital for steroids NOW!" kind of existence to "my back hurts from planting flowers last weekend" normalcy. It has been 11 months without a relapse (I think. It's been so long I lost track -- another exciting revelation to me). I feel like I don't deserve to be blogging about MS because I don't have anything to report. I don't even have another neuro visit until May 19th...and I don't anticipate calling him before that.

I really expected that I would be having a relapse right now. Pre-Fingolimod I would most likely be brewing up a good leg-numbing, all out miserable attack after last week. You see, the things that have always precipitated relapses for me are 1) illness and 2) stress. While I've been in great health (knock on wood), I had a stressful *event* last week.

It all started with My Therapist. Formerly known as Cali, she is now and will forever be Little Kitty. That's "as opposed to Big Kitty whom she is smaller than...for now." When/if she grows larger than Big Kitty, there might be some confusion for outsiders but we in the family all know who is who as do the cats. But I digress.

On the fateful night of The Incident, I was in the kitchen concocting a chicken dish for which I had no recipe and was trying to just recall what that Campbell's Soup commercial looked like it probably contained. For any of you who don't know better, you probably think I'm some great chef that I could attempt just making something up like that. Quite to the contrary. My boyfriend insists I could screw up take out.

As I said, I was in the kitchen with chicken. (Say THAT three times fast.) The cats were out in the back yard. Little Kitty, who is a shameless begger and has no manners, was whining to come in the sliding glass door. I shooed her away telling her to go play.

Well, she went to play the only way cats know how. Go off and torture something. "She TOLD me too, after all," Little Kitty would say in her own defense if placed on the stand. That's IF we tried cats for murder. And IF cats could talk. And IF her lawyer was crazy enough to expose her to cross examination.

Within two minutes from being shooed from the back door I had returned to my chicken concoction only to hear a wren loudly scolding Little Kitty outside.

The wren is (well, was) one of a pair that had nested (stupidly) on my back porch in a nesting box that I had (stupidly) neglected to remove so they wouldn't after getting Little Kitty. They come every year (probably a new generation each time or those parents had to be pushing 8 or 10 by now) and nest in this cardboard box that I had fastened to the porch using box tape and nails. We used to love to watch the babies being raised and leave the nest. I have had the honor of witnessing the first flight of 3 of the many generations reared in that box.

Big Kitty, who tortured his fair share of lizards when he was younger, has become one of those fat, lazy cats who looks longingly at the wildlife skittering around him, knowing full well that if he got up to give chase he'd do nothing but expend energy he doesn't have. I don't worry about him and the critters outside.

Back to the story. I heard the wren screeching at the cat and suddenly the noise stopped, cut off mid-chatter. Uh oh. I ran to the slider and sprang out the door. (something else I couldn't do, pre-Fingolimod). There was L.K. with a brown rag doll in her chops, running away from me. I gave chase (same "pre-Fingo" thing again).

We ran the length of the yard a couple times (the guy who evaluated me for my last EDSS would be so proud) and my boyfriend (who happened to glance over and see me chasing the cat) came out of curiosity (and because he needed a smoke) to watch the antics. Then he saw why I was after L.K. and he took over the chase. He didn't catch her either. We just gave up because it was quite obvious the poor little wren was dead.

I was beside myself. But I figured the other parent would just have to be more careful and work her/his tail off to take care of those babies and that everything would be okay.

I was completely unaware that the bird in my cat's mouth had been recently widowed.

The babies peeped for a long time.

The next morning I went to the bait shop and bought meal worms and red worms. I cut them small for the babies using an Exacto knife. I am extremely squeamish and so that's the main reason I don't fish. I don't like live bait and I don't like touching the fish if I happen to catch one. And here I was dissecting worms (blech).

Alas, I couldn't keep them alive. Two of them (there were five total) passed on before I could convince my elder son (26) to take them from me and make me believe he raised them even if they died on the way to his house.

I cried that night. I so loved to watch the birdies have their families and raise their babies. My murderous cat put an end to that and came in that night wanting to curl up in my lap like all was well and "what the heck are you crying about? Hey, did you see the size of that bird I got?? It was a beauty, eh?"

So, usually, by now, I'd be getting up one morning not feeling my feet again. I know the drill. I've been cringing; waiting for the other shoe to drop.

But nothing. I managed to weather a traumatic event with nary a hint of a relapse. I did sleep a lot the next day, but that's from all the exercise I'm not used to.

The chicken dish ended up looking awful, but it did taste pretty good.

Here's my "recipe".

Chicken Gook (rhymes with "cook")

You will need:

Some chicken
assorted spices
onion, chopped
broccoi, floretted
Campbells cream of chicken and herb soup
a can opener
2 pots
2 baking dishes
pot holders,
someone who dares to eat it.

Boil some chicken. Add some spices to the water while it's boiling. Whatever you have.

Then, save some of the greasy water from the top (about a cup) and pour in a baking dish.

Pick the chicken off the bones and cut into bite size pieces. Chop up a little onion and toss it in.

Add a can of Campbell's cream of chicken and herb soup.

Boil a half a bag of noodles according to directions.

About half way through, add a bunch of broccoli florets to the water and boil them too.

Drain it, add noodles and broccoli to baking dish.

Try to stir.

Transfer everything to a bigger baking dish, then stir.

Bake at 350 degrees until the hamburger you made for your boyfriend who was having no part of the chicken stuff is done.

Serve to your unsuspecting family.

Get your 9-year-old seconds. Stick your tongue out at boyfriend.

I guess I can't begrudge the cat for having wren when we were having chicken.

Fingolimod allows other things besides MS to be the traumatic events in my life. :-)


  1. Dammit Jim! I'm not sure if I should be crying or laughing at this post!!! (Although secretly, I must admit I nearly wet myself from laughter...or WAS IT crying!?!?)

    And I thought for certain the story would end with the heavy-set cat being found on the counter lapping up the chicken...

    Linda D. in Seattle

  2. Nearly? LOL I can wet myself just by starting the dishwater. (my mother potty trained us to the sound of the faucet).

    Nevermind reading funny blogs...I have to have a Depends on for that. ROFL

  3. Bwahahahahaha!! I can't wait to tell my boyfriend that someone actually suggested that.


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