Tag Archives: cog fog

‘D’ Is For Cog Fog…

D Is For Cog FogI am a dunce. No two ways about it, MS has seriously fogged up my brain.

I first noticed it before I was diagnosed – simple recipes became infuriating Mensa-like tests, I got lost driving to the shops and reading a book was an exercise in tedious endurance.

I’m in my final year of my part-time degree and the last five years have been pretty good.

I’m an unabashed girly swot and enjoy cracking open a new packet of Sharpies, drawing intricate mind maps, carefully crafting my essays, ferreting out incisive references. Then my brain went on holiday with a one-way ticket.

After an agonising couple of weeks last month, I finally submitted my first essay of my final year. The mind maps never moved beyond a bunch of circles with nothing in them and my Sharpies lay dormant. I got my result yesterday. It was 65%. Sigh. Such a sad, sad little number.

I normally get higher marks, so this was upsetting but not totally unexpected. I often struggle to add up simple numbers or find the right word, so writing a 2,500 essay is akin to scaling Mount Everest in flip-flops. In the middle of recounting a funny anecdote to friends over coffee, my mind can go completely blank, the punchline withering and dying as my friends look at me with pity.

I read recently that memory loss is the most commonly reported cognitive difficulty in MS. Last year, when I was revising for my exam, I had written up a set of comprehensive study notes. They were a thing of beauty. I read them over and over and over again, but nothing, not one tiny thing, would stick inside my brain. I barely scraped through the three hour exam but luckily my fabulous MS nurse wrote a letter to the university explaining that I was not stupid, it was the MS.

My next essay is due at the end of May and I am hoping for some divine inspiration. In the meantime, I’m furiously highlighting points in my books, jotting down what I hope will be valid arguments and crossing my fingers for luck. And no, the Sharpies haven’t been used yet, but they’re on my desk, raring to go. How do I draw a mind map again?

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Doing The Big Shop

In a bid to get my routine back on track, I got up early yesterday to go for the Big Shop. I can’t seem to plan a week ahead though, so I normally just buy some ┬ámeat, vegetables, pasta and rice and cobble meals together on a day-to-day basis, always having to buy extra ingredients each day.

One of my first symptoms of MS was being unable to plan anything at all. My brain just would not compute basic things and I got confused easily. Food shopping was a nightmare. I would stand and stare at the rows of food, unable to decide what I needed and end up grabbing random things and chucking them in my trolley. I couldn’t even follow simple recipes so we lived off baked potatoes and microwave meals for a long while.

But, I was upbeat and optimistic. If I stuck to the basics, I couldn’t go wrong. I parked up, glared at the builder’s van taking up two disabled spaces and marched into the store. I wandered up and down the aisles, panic rising. So many special offers, so many meal deals. Three things for a tenner, five things for a tenner, buy one, get one half price. And Christmas carols playing in the background.

I could feel my brain melting. As I circled the aisles again and again, I couldn’t choose anything. Deep breath. Get some salmon. Get a big bag of potatoes, some carrots, few tins of tuna. Stand for ages in front of the ten pound meal deal. Two starters, two mains, one dessert. Mathematical equation. Is it me or is it hot in here?

Finally, I make it to the till where the checkout woman chucks my food through so fast, I get nervous, drop things, can’t pack the bags. Hands don’t want to hold anything today, but mission is finally accomplished. When I get home, I stagger into the house, laden with bags, rain pouring down and trip over the cat.

It’s bizarre how the most simple, taken-for-granted tasks can become an assault course when you have MS. I was planning to make cottage pie for dinner, but the recipe is confusing the hell out of me and I forgot the Worcestershire sauce…

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