It's Tuesday! My mama and daddy always took a survival approach to Monday. My daddy used to say for us just to make it through the day and get back home to relax. Basically, just survive Monday and yesterday, that I did just that. (Josh will actually make fun of me for referring to my parents as Mama and Daddy. I actually say it more like Diddy. My brother is 37 and called them both Mama and Daddy until the day they died. Maybe it is a Southern thing??)
I had a doctor's appointment and had blood work done yesterday. The appointment was at 3:30 so I was literally running out of my classroom to beat school traffic. There are a ton of things that teachers are weird about due to their schedule. Every appointment I make is after 3:00. If I need to use the restroom during the day, my options are 11:30 and 1:30. No joke- I basically train my bladder. Anyways... I got to the doctor at 3:20 and just sat in my car. I told myself, "Lori, you can do this. It is just a bathroom." Cue the irrational fears...
You see, I break out in a sweat and basically lose my mind when I step off of the elevator from the parking garage and walk down the hallway to get to another set of elevators. Heavy breathing? Check. Cold Sweats? Check. Thoughts of turning around and running? Check. Kick in the gut? Check.
Have you ever had a moment when you tell someone or remember, "I know where I was when that happened?" I had a student turn in a presentation on Princess Diana. I said to her, "I know exactly where I was when I found out she died. I still remember who I was around, the smells, and what I was doing." I remember being devastated and crying.
MS has caused me to be scared of a bathroom. No joke. For me, every time I enter that hallway and walk past that bathroom, I remember everything about Josh's MS diagnosis. I remember the wet, rainy day. I remember walking down that hallway and waiting to be called. I remember what the doctor was wearing and who the nurse was and what she was wearing. I remember being asked to leave the room while they did a spinal tap. I remember sitting back in the waiting room and the lady at the front standing up and basically shouting at me asking if I was alright. (Apparently I wouldn't respond.) I remember standing and calmly walking to the door, then running down the hallway into the bathroom. I sat down on the floor and couldn't breath or move. I thought about calling my brother, but it was like I was paralyzed. I am not sure how long I sat on that bathroom floor. I remember several people knocking on the door trying to come in. I even remember thinking (and this is totally a southern thing) that my mother would tell me to straighten up and get my act together. You don't do this in public. Fix your makeup. Put on some lipstick. You are going to wrinkle your clothes. What would people think?
It's funny, walking down that hallway yesterday, I was basically running. I am 6 feet tall, so walking fast is a slow jog for most. I got behind a little old couple and basically stopped in my tracks right in front of that bathroom. I actually chuckled. How ironic I would be stuck right in front of this bathroom? And then I thought, "Good grief! Who in their right mind is actually afraid of a bathroom? I am 32 years old, for crying out loud!" On the way back from my appointment, I tried the door for the bathroom. I thought maybe if I just go in I won't freak out so much when I walk by. (And I am going to have to walk by the door again. It is pretty much a given.) Door was locked. I breathed a sigh of relief and basically ran to my car. I was safe until the next time.
Irrational fear? Yes. Irrational anxiety? Yes. Let's face it. I just wrote that I am afraid of a bathroom and hallway. Does life do this to you? I think so. Does a diagnosis do this to you? Yes. Absolutely. MS has triggered so many quirks and scary feelings for me.
I think about what my mom would tell me. I can't call her or talk to her, but I can imagine her response. I can hear my mother saying right now, "Good grief Lori, it is just a bathroom." But, I can also hear her say, "I have been there, and I understand. It is not "just a bathroom" to you."