Waving Goodbye to 2020... Dave Style 😏
Welcome to the newest edition of The Hunker Games. Dave and his wife Laura of ActiveMSers are hunkering down in isolation for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic—these are their stories (cue the L&O dong-dong) ... along with helpful advice, necessary levity, and, most crucially, hope.
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Greetings, this past year has been one for the birds, all kinds of birds, in particular the middle-finger kind. But even regular, actual birds got in the act too, as I unceremoniously discovered, pulling another classic Dave before we could close the book on 2020. The scene: Laura and I were having some necessary work done on our home, so to reduce the threat of COVID aerosols, we turned on every house fan, fired up every exhaust fan, and opened every door. One would think I would have remembered the pigeon pooping debacle of 2004 when one waddled into our house and proceeded to freak out—and poop—in multiple rooms before it escaped. Yes, one would think. People rarely forget unfortunate pooping incidents. So it should not have been a big surprise that when airing out our house a curious nuthatch hopped through an open door. And then took flight. Before we could guide it out—as best as one can guide a small, panicked bird—it clunked into a window and crashed into a heap. #*%$*&! No, no, no. We gently cradled the limp bird and carefully took it back outside, laying it on a bed of leaves, and watched. Was 2020 going to claim another victim? And then. And then the little dude staggered to its little bird feet! He was alive! Hugs happened, and as we watched through glistening tears our little nuthatch sprang back to life … and hopped TOWARD THE OPEN DOOR. Ack!! Now he’s a regular visitor, and undoubtedly has been telling all his friends about his epic adventure with flourish. Laura has nicknamed him Mini Dave. Of course. 🙄 Without further ado, it’s time for The Hunker Games!
// OUR EXPERIENCE: Virtual Doc Visits
By now, many of you have had remote visits with your healthcare providers. My neuro appointment went without a hitch and, even better, I didn’t have to fruitlessly guess which way my toe was pointing (“Up? No down!” only to then hear my neurologist inform me that he hadn’t started the test yet). My occupational therapy visit also went smoothly, with the help of photos taken in advance to assist with our problem solving (that's me in my accessible shower). Next time we’ll do videos uploaded to Google Drive.
TIP: MS Therapies. Considering going drug-free with your multiple sclerosis? I urge you to read this first. Please. My most popular blog post of all time might not change your life. But it just might change someone else's. Updated and revised. This should be mandatory reading for anyone not currently on therapy, especially because it took years for me to write, and if you don't read it then I've wasted a whole lotta time.
// NOTABLE MS NEWS: Vaccine Readiness
As vaccines for COVID-19 are making their way into communities around the world, the MS Society has convened a panel of experts to come up with a consensus for recommendations that is expected to be released in January 2021. Early indications suggest these vaccines will be effective and safe in MSers regardless of therapy. In other news, this study found that primary progressive MS is essentially the same disease as secondary progressive MS. On the exercise front, a lack of sweating is NOT the reason MSers overheat while working out, which is a good thing because of the positive effects that high intensity aerobic exercise has on cognition in MS. This randomized trial found it could potentially improve processing speed if you have cognitive impairment. Or to reduce cog decline, you could just eat more cheese and drink more wine, as this non-MS study discovered!
// LAUGH: Dave as Puss in Boots 🤣
It's easy to dwell on the negative when you have a disability like multiple sclerosis. Especially during a global pandemic! But know that you are still fantastic, brilliantly fantastic, no matter what your disease throws at you. Give me two minutes and you’ll be smiling at my silly video and accents. My very, very poor accents. But they are amusing, especially when I can’t stay in character (apologies to all cats, Antonio Banderas, and Brits).
Boy, what a year. The other day, one of our original friends in Albuquerque came over for a socially distanced patio celebration to kick this year mercifully to the curb. And to celebrate our near 30-year friendship. She surprised us with a chilled bottle of over-the-top champagne, the kind you drink for epically special occasions. This seemed like one. The vaccine cavalry is on its way here, 2020 is on its way out, and yeah. That was all we needed to justify a glass of fine bubbly. But we made one minor miscalculation—IT WAS STILL 2020! As Laura was bringing out the champagne with full glasses, the serving tray nicked a door jamb, the bottle teetered, eyes bulged, mouths gaped. This damn year wasn’t going down without some final pain. Like an acrobat on a tightrope, Laura twisted and tilted the tray to spare the half-full bottle of vintage Krug, but two of the three glasses were felled, their costly contents turning the bamboo tray into a very expensive alcoholic kiddie swimming pool. Because of course. 

In closing, 2020 has been dominated by COVID-19, affecting virtually all corners of the world, leaving a trail of human and economic devastation. Our hearts go out to all who have been deeply affected. It has been a year to remember. And one to absolutely forget. But before you slip 2020 into that well-deserved mental paper shredder (god forbid it gets jammed!), reflect on those positive nuggets: the selfless first responders, those essential workers, friends who generously passed along tips as to what to watch next on Netflix even though they fully knew you didn’t have a Netflix account. And hold dear those unexpected and unplanned extra bonus months you’ve gotten to spend with those closest to you. It will never happen again in our lifetimes. (It damn well better not!) May your 2021 be safe and full of joyousness, and Happy Holidays to everyone. Be active, stay fit, and keep exploring (when this thing is over)!

Sincerely,
Dave Bexfield

p.s. You may have missed it, but our forums just got another design tweak to make it easier to read. It's a work in progress. If you have further suggestions, let me know!
be active - stay fit - keep exploring