Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fashionista has left the house

For years I've enjoyed the ins and outs of fashion. I appreciate the "Project Runway" motto, "One day you're in, the next day you're out". My only purpose in watching the Emmy's Grammy's or Golden Globe, was to see who was wearing what and did they look good in it. Did they make a good fashion choice, or would they go down in fashion history as the woman wearing the swan dress for the rest of her life. Even God cares about clothing. In Exodus God told Moses what the priests should wear in His tabernacle, and how the clothing should be decorated as well. So why not have a healthy appreciation for design and fabric. I have always enjoyed shopping for trendy clothing that fits in my budget. If I couldn't afford the designer version, I would find a well made copy, and feel good about the money I saved.

So you may be wondering at this point what any of this has to do with Dysautonomia. Well..... before I was diagnosed with dysautonomia I enjoyed going on long shopping trips at the mall and keeping up with the latest trends and dressing up. Things have changed quite a bit since my diagnosis.

This Summer shopping is no longer something I can physically do without major planning. Since I'm heat intolerant and cannot be in temperatures over 75 degrees for more than a few minutes. All shopping trips have to be made in early morning or late evening. Since I am usually exhaused after 6:00pm evening shopping is out, and the malls usually are not open till 10:00 am so often a shopping trip in the morning is out as well because of the heat. Long distances are out because I get tired just walking across the parking lot. Forget about comparison shopping, I only have energy for one store, if they don't have what I want too bad for me.

This Summer I received a catalogue from one of my favorite stores. They were having their anniversary sale, and were opening at 8:00 am Woohoo my first outing in weeks. But before I could take this glorious trip to my favorite store I would have to make a plan of action. So here it is;

* Look through the catalogue for all items I want.

* Make a map of where items are in the store and the shortest distance from point A to point B.

* No deviating from the map! If I do;

a) I may not have the energy to complete the list.

b) I may not be able to get back to my car with the ability to drive home.

c) The store may have to call a wambulance because I've passed out from too much shopping.

* Plan where I'm going to park,

a) It must be shaded because I may pass out in the car if it's too warm inside.

b) Park close to the entrance, I may never make it inside if I pass out from exhausion before I
even get in.

* Hit the shoe department first it's right next to the entrance.

* Show the salesman the catelogue with the shoe, I'll be wasting energy looking for the shoe

* Try on the shoe, don't stand up I may get dizzy and be mistaken for being under the influence
and be escorted out of the store.

* Give the salesman my credit card, and ask for the transaction to be made on the salesfloor, too
tired to stand in line.

* Going up the escalator, hold on the vertical movement throws my heart into tachycardia!

* Quickly move aside for those aggressive anniversary shoppers and hold onto a railing till my
heart slows down to normal.

* I'm pooped, find a saleswoman to find one of the items in the catalogue.

* Found someone woohoo, and she happens to be a personal shopper.

* At this point I'm out of breath, and bless her heart she takes over.

* Personal shopper takes my catalogue and gets my sizes and walks me to a dressing room to
wait for her.

Normally at this point I would be taking great pleasure in choosing my garments, but now I'm just thankful that I might be able to complete all my shopping without an EMT being involved.

* I try on all items brought to me by my new best friend (personal shopper) with spuratic naps
on the most comfortable dressing bench I have ever layed my head on (which was none until

* My new best friend (personal shopper) rings up my items while I'm napping on the dressing
room bench.

* Give new best friend (personal shopper) hug, and head downstairs.

* Relive previous trip on the escalator.

* Cover my face as I pass perfume counter, my new sensitivity to scents may cause breathing
issues, which would most likely be followed by all other dysautonomia symptoms. Avoid
EMT at all cost!

* Head for the car.

* Head for home.

* Bribe my children to bring in shopping bags.

* Take a nap.

* My body will probably pay for this trip for days.

I've come to realize that shopping is just too much work, and catalogue shopping can be almost as satisfying, but I will miss my new best friend (personal shopper). I wonder how she's doing.

Dysautonomia has also pushed my fashion savvy a bit. I've gone from donning my favorite designer, to donning an ice vest, compression stockings and a big black umbrella. I'm sure I'm quite the fashion statement during patriotic observance at my school. I can just hear the teachers in the staff lounge "Wow, did you see Michele in that fashion forward icevest, I wonder who designed it and if they have it in my size", NOT!

The icevest does have it's payoffs though. the other day one of my students gave me a big hug, and wouldn't let go. I tried to get her to let go and head into class, she said "ohhhhh do I have to Mrs. McGough, you're so cool!" Next thing I know half my class is trying to cool off by giving me a hug. Who says teaching doesn't pay!


Monday, September 21, 2009

What is normal?

So what is normal? To answer that question I checked the Websters Dictionary, which states normal: not deviating from a norm, rule or principle: regular. Though I did like b: free from a mental disorder, sane. I now question whether I should continue writing bacause b could be a problem depending on which one of my friends or family you ask. So normal to me is what the average person experiences on a day to day basis. Anyone who has or is experiencing a disability of any sort realizes their loss of normality. In my blog I will share my dysautonomia normal compared with everyday normal.

How should I begin, I guess I'll start with something I miss alot, the beach. I love the beach, the cool breeze, the moist sand between my toes, the waves crashing and the water easing to the sands edge just hitting my ankles, the smell of salt, the warm sun on my shoulders, can you see it? I remember heading to the beach on a whim, no plans I would just take off and go. A beach trip now takes some planning for me, I can't go in the day, I have extreme heat intolerance, can't go alone, I may pass out just trying to walk from my car to the water, and if I do make it there's a good chance I'll be too tired to walk back. I know that if I really want to go somewhere special like the beach I have to ask those amazing people God has placed in my life to help me get to the places I really want to go. Before Dysautonomia I often experienced the beach alone, now I get to experience the amazing wonders of the beach with a few of my closest friends, who don't mind taking things a little slow. I'm beginning to learn that what feels like a curse could be a blessing in disguise.
Always inspired,