I was in the van with The Boss last Friday, nattering away about my new devotion to chia seeds and almond flour, when, blam, there I was.
I gulped, slightly surprised, then said,
‘I’m back! I’m really … here. Wow.’
The Boss rolled his eyes. ‘You never went away. Believe me.’
‘No, really, I just know, I know, this relapse or whatever it was, it’s just suddenly gone.’
‘What, so can like, do some proper work now? And what the heck are chia seeds anyway? Actually, don’t answer that.’
It’s impossible to describe the sensation a relapse brings with it. Not just the usual problems, the tiredness, the wading through cotton wool soaked in treacle. It’s the disconnection, the sense of otherness. The sensation of being apart from people. It’s lonely.
For two weeks I’ve simply been focused on getting through the days. And this time around, I made sure I was still out and about, no matter how airy-fairy I may have seemed to everyone else. Please excuse my feet, dodgy hands, the slightly glazed expression.
For me, relapses descend quickly. I know the warning signs – the buzzy head, fuzzy brain and wuzzy feelings in my body. And just as quickly, they leave. Although they always leave behind some extra little symptom I never really had before. And the usual suspects remain.
I remember asking an MS nurse all those years ago, ‘but how will I know I’m having a relapse?’
She replied, ‘Oh, you’ll know.’
And she was right. Just like when I asked my midwife how I would know I was in labour. After she stopped laughing, I kind of got the feeling, yup, I’d know. She was right, too.
Anyway, the end of a relapse brings a certain clarity. The fog lifts and I realise just how much I’ve let slide. Which is fine. Life still goes on, despite it all. My mum very kindly disposed of the pigeon my cat wrestled home one morning and has brought me pesto salads and boxes of onion-y things to chomp on when I’m too tired to cook.
The Teenager gets his exam results and turns 16 next week, so the timing couldn’t be better. I tried to arrange a birthday meal with him the other day (having booked the day off work). I got a text back, ‘Can fit you in for brunch, 10.30 to 11.15. Any good?’