Overworked, overwhelmed, and over scrambled…

MS Beast

Multiple sclerosis is a time-losing, energy-consuming, stress-inducing beast we MSers live with daily. The list of symptoms is quite extensive and changes like a chameleon depending on its surroundings. Cognitive issues often get overlooked if someone does not deal with them on a typical day. However, heat and stress can significantly exacerbate mental turbulence, making things go from bad to worse in the span of a blink. Stress alone can cause mental cloudiness, making thinking as complex as seeing through muddy water. Here is the story of how my stressful one-thousand-mile move to Florida and everything involved caused a money mistake that changed my future.

Because of my lackadaisical concern for security fifteen years ago, I made a mistake that caused many negative consequences. This embarrassing error created an explosion of problems, forcing me to lose the trust of friends and even some family. Furthermore, this careless security action aided in eviscerating my Rolodex of remaining friends. I could ill afford such a devastating loss to my existence so long ago, which allowed the darkness to creep in and envelop my life quietly. After so long, I thought I had learned my lesson never to make a mistake like that again, yet like a savage weasel, the stress and anxiety caused devastating chaos.

After I went through the Amazon return process and had not received my refund one week later, I was concerned. I get refunded the minute the delivery driver scans the label on the return package while he is still on the truck. So I asked my cell phone for the number of Amazon customer service, and Google spit out a number like a fastball from a pitcher. I quickly called to question and clarify the status of the great rebate debate, exactly where things went awry.

The gentleman on the phone told me you have fraudulent activity on your card. He then had me download a program to help them remove the unauthorized individuals, creating the deceptive costs. The minute I opened the newly downloaded software, he showed me the expensive purchases made by three others on my credit card. Like a lawyer in a courtroom, I vociferously proclaimed with my fists clenched tightly in fear and anger that I did not incur those fraudulent fees.

If you are currently talking to this blog like yelling “He’s right behind you!” in a movie theater, sharing warning signs, I now see them too. When I look back at this loss event, I see red flags, and I feel like a colossal idiot for not recognizing them at the time. However, properly peering into the past, I realize this was not the Amazon customer service number I thought it was, although that was probably their plan. However, stress and anxiety can aggravate the cognitive issues known as Cog-fog, which MS patients deal with often. You cannot understand how much this brain fog slows thinking when magnified by various complications.

He reassured me by explaining that this would not be a complicated repair as we caught it in time. All I had to do was go to my bank and send a Zelle transaction of $500, so they could track it and get the money back. He quickly informed me it was not an actual purchase transaction. Instead, he implied I was requesting money, meaning no money would leave my account. I repeated his statement to confirm what was happening because I did not want to pay but to stop the transaction, and he agreed.

I sent the Zelle $500 payment to track, and within a few minutes, the money left my account, although it was not supposed to. He put me on hold, and I kept thinking something was wrong as my sluggish brain loosened up like continually using a rusty pair of scissors. Finally, he returned to the phone a few minutes later and explained that one of the fraudulent people got removed from my account. He said he needed me to send another payment to track for $1,000, and luckily, my brain started functioning a little better. Red flags should have been smacking me in the face like the branches when falling out of a tree.

I argued with him about everything, including his new $1,000 request, not backing down and standing my ground. He quickly hung up, realizing his day of deception was done with me as my brain picked up speed like a snowball rolling downhill. I expeditiously began stopping anything he could try by changing the login and password for my credit card. Then, with lightning speed, I contacted my bank, which inevitably began investigating my claim of Zelle fraud. And to answer the question quietly sitting in the back of your mind as you read this, yes, Ally Bank refunded my money. Now, my security concerns will always be my priority, no matter how inconvenient, because it is worth it. I hope this does not lead to continual problems, and that I nipped it in the bud, never to flare up again.

Evil people want your money, so move cautiously, think carefully and act critically.

Saying farewell to my old life… 

As I get closer to the move, things are more hectic, chaotic, and generally crazy, which causes stress and mistakes. I am turning this manic move into a blog series discussing every aspect of my transition from Ohioan to Floridian. I want people to understand the impacts of this movement from the perspective of one MSer and the complications created. It is essential to comprehend the effects on my multiple sclerosis-riddled body during this seemingly simple stress-filled life shift. I have been trying my hardest to complete the next blog In time to be posted on schedule, but I have been unsuccessful. Alas, I have to post a rerun and hope everyone can hold on because I have some excellent blogs about this move.

Saying farewell to my old life… 

One week contains 168 hours, and we sleep approximately 56 hours. If I am lucky, I have an aide here for 6 hours, making 6,360 minutes per week that I sit in these four walls in solitary confinement. I have no one to talk to in this cold isolation of abandonment, although some people say they love it when their family goes on vacation and leaves them at home by themselves. Father time does not stand still for anything, and for that matter, as the clock gets older, it seems to move faster. The only way to get time to slow down is by staring at a clock face, but then you do not get to live your life as I have stared at the clock for too long.

This joyous feeling during the family vacations is because they enjoy the quiet of getting away from the hustle and bustle of family life, even if only briefly. However, although being at home solo for a week is delightful, being alone for over a decade is dreadfully debilitating. If you conjure up the worst-case scenario of being alone in your mind, you still cannot conceive or perceive what it truly feels like to be alone. Therefore, I can not and should never return to the life-threatening darkness of my early MS days.

So as I sit and contemplate this complicated conundrum, I question if there is more to life? I cannot believe this vast nothingness is all there is for me for the rest of my days. So I searched Columbus for activities for me to help ameliorate and eliminate the loneliness and desolation in my heart. People tell me there are many endeavors to be involved in, in town, and I agree there are many things to do in Columbus. 

However, these activities may be plentiful for people without disabilities, but they are scattered far and wide, making them hard to find. In addition, because these activities spread so far, it makes being involved in one difficult, let alone more than one activity, with both weather and lack of transportation a limiting factor. Others have told me I should get a pet because a pet would give unconditional love. However, I do not want a pet; I want a LIFE.

I tried to think of all of my options every day to determine what I could do because, sadly, neither friends nor family visited me regularly. Daily I struggled to conjure up something I could do to eliminate my boredom drenched in loneliness, but there was nothing. There had to be something to keep me from visiting the dark place smeared in my tears from so long ago. So I sat here one day pondering my prolific problem, and in the back of my mind, I heard my mom’s voice. Since retiring, my mom told me she has been busier now than when working, and it kept playing in my memory. I would constantly hear her reminding words while I muddled through my day.

I honestly had nothing to spend my money on while locked in this house during the pandemic, so I got an idea. Because of this lack of required spending, I put every spare dollar I had to pay extra on my house. I am not sure what the reasoning was for this idea, but it was simple to put in motion. When my house payment was due, I made sure I paid my bills, and grocery money was untouched. 90% of the money I had left I added directly to my house payment, leaving me with growing equity for future possibilities. I felt like a squirrel hiding money, except it was on my mortgage and not in my house.

I assembled my ideas and postulated possibilities of a prolonged relocation peregrination. Then, one day I thought about the concept of moving to a place more active, giving me a more enjoyable life. Would it be possible to take the equity in this house and purchase a home in a new state, making it affordable as housing prices continue to rise? So I researched places in Florida where the sun shines more, and there are more activities and more people, simply more. 

The more I thought about it, the more of a reality it became, so I decided I would move in October or November. This delayed departure would allow me to get stronger in the pool and say goodbye to friends. It would also allow me to arrive after the heat of the summer and will enable me to acclimate to the temperatures more slowly.

I am optimistically terrified of my next adventure!