The Fire

For most of October and November, I didn’t feel great. My vision was blurry, the steroid infusions made me nauseous and tired, and then the lumbar puncture made me extremely nauseous, dizzy, and gave me an awful headache. I spent a lot of time those first few weeks in the massage chair, on the couch, or in bed, with my eyes closed, listening to podcasts and audio books. I went to bed early many nights, turning off the lights, lighting a candle, putting in earbuds, and relaxing.

After all the side-effects wore off and my vision was noticeably better, I started resuming more of my normal routine. I started driving, I went to the office, I went to court. I felt much better, but my vision was not yet normal. After spending a day back in court, on the computer, and filling out paperwork, I had a headache and felt exhausted. Stress is a big trigger for MS, so making sure you have time to relax is important. That night, after I picked up my son, I went home, and decided to treat myself to a little self care.

I lit a candle in the living room, grabbed a fuzzy blanket, and got in the massage chair. I put in my earbuds and turned on an audio book. I reclined the chair, turned on the heat, and started the massage. Then, I covered my eyes with an eye mask a friend had sent in a care package. Ahhhh.

My son was playing X-box in the room, but I had everything tuned out. Eyes closed, ear buds in, relaxing.

Then, I heard something. He was yelling at me. I’m sure I ignored him at first, thinking he was wanting something to eat or for me to watch him play, something that could wait. But, after a few seconds, I took off the mask to see what he wanted. And, then I saw flames. Flames shooting a couple feet in the air from the end table where I had lit a candle. I was in the massage chair, reclined back pretty far, and the chair was squeezing my legs. I tried to stand up, but I was trapped. It took several seconds of trying to maneuver out of that chair to get up. I’m sure it was quite a sight! And then, the fire alarm started going off.

My very brave son who likes to act much older than his seven years, was freaking out. I was yelling at him to grab a towel, to open the back door, but he just stood there screaming. As I was yelling commands, he said, in the sweetest voice, “I’m just a little kid!”

When I got over to the flames I saw that his hat was next to the candle and on fire. I do not know how his hat got into the flame, but I know it was definitely not there when I lit the candle and the last time I recall seeing it, it was on his head. The candle and flaming hat were on a wooden end table, very close to the couch and the wall. I knew I needed to move it quickly, before the fire spread.

I grabbed the hat by the brim while the flames covered the top of the hat and ran out of the living room. I wanted to go out the back door to the cement patio, but someone was too paralyzed with fear to open the door for me and I didn’t think I had time to do it myself. The flames were getting bigger and closer to my hand. I was afraid to drop it on the carpet. I thought, if I can get it to the kitchen floor, then I can smoother it without much damage. I dropped it on the floor, and by then the kid snapped out of it and grabbed me a towel which I used to smoother the flames. It also melted a section of the vinyl floor. I thought the fire was out, but then we saw it was still smoldering. I opened the back door and threw everything outside. I was not relaxed.

The aftermath.

A few days later, my mom sent me an electric candle.

And then, I finally got some good news. There had been a mix up at the lab.

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