I usually get lost. I'm good anywhere along the Peninsula between San Francisco and Palo Alto, but take me out of that comfort zone and you can bet I will spend at least some time endlessly traversing strange stretches of freeway and muttering to myself. But today! Today I conquered 580 East and landed at my Oakland destination feeling like Little Miss Punctuality. It was important to be on time because I was taking my Mom to participate in a medical study.
Last year Mom was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). It's a fairly mild case so far, but she has balance problems that require her to occasionally use a snazzy little collapsible black cane. And wouldn't you know it?—A few months ago I read about a study that was testing a new treatment for MS patients with...ta-da!...balance problems. I got her all signed up, and we eagerly awaited this day. When I picked her up she was all cute and raring to go—all 5 feet of her—in her little black sweatpants and tiny black Pumas.
Basically, the purpose of the study is to see if wearing a weighted (anywhere from 1-3 lbs.) garment can correct the subjects' balance. I might add here that being constantly off-balance requires tremendous amounts of physical and mental concentration that can make it difficult to even—for example—walk while simultaneously spelling a simple word like "cat." I don't know if going into further detail compromises the study (don't laugh; it might, right?), so I will say no more except...I am hopeful. And most importantly, so is Mom.
I'll sign off with a token picture of me and mi madre at my Auntie Linda D's wedding circa 1972: