Tag Archives: brain

What Was I Saying Again?

goldfish‘It’s there, that watchermacallit on the thingiemabob. Next to the dooby-doo.’

This was me yesterday, explaining to The Teenager where an important form he needed for school was.

MS has been having lots of fun with my brain and it’s only getting worse (it’s got absolutely nothing to do with turning 40 of course). I just can’t seem to remember the most simple words.

I’ll pause mid-sentence, sifting through years of education in my mind before finally landing on the word I’m looking for, so happy to have found it that I’ll inappropriately yell out ‘banana! I meant, banana!’. Or some other word that completely escaped me five minutes earlier.

I also make up new words. Like last week when my mum asked me what I had planned that morning. ‘Oh, it’s flab day’, I replied. She sighed and said, ‘oh sweetheart, I know you’re unhappy with your weight, but think positively. Have you tried chick peas?’ I had to tell her that I was indeed unhappy with my weight, but I was actually going for my flu jab.

In my glory days, I prided myself on being able to converse in three languages (four if you count Glasgwegian). Now, I can barely get by with one. Plus, I also have the ignominy of repeating myself, thanks to bizarre short term memory loss. I am in danger of turning into the dinner party guest from hell, the one that’s invited along for a bit of comic relief.

I have visions of Christmas Day twenty years from now, with The Teenager taking his children to one side and gently reminding them to be patient with Granny Stumbling and not to laugh when she can’t remember the punchlines to jokes, or when she asks them for the umpteenth time how they’re doing in school. Just re-fill her sherry glass and hand her a copy of People’s Friend. And under no circumstances are you to bring out Pictionary or Scrabble.

For now, although socially dire, I manage as best I can. In shops, when I can’t remember what I went in for, I’ll look at my watch and dash off, pretending I’m late for some appointment. In restaurants, I’ll point to the menu, as if my mind is on higher things than ordering lunch. And when I’m out with friends, I’ll….hang on, what was I saying again?

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‘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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My Brain Hurts

The Teenager is back after eight days away and I have had a terrible headache all weekend. Hey, I’m not saying the two are connected though (honest). ┬áThe house is filled with noise, dirty laundry and mysteriously migrating food and it feels like home again.

I’ve had a searing band of pain round my head and my eyes hurt – it feels like my brain is in a blender. I don’t normally have headaches but I’m not sure if it’s MS-related. You know what MSers are like, any new symptom and we automatically think it’s to do with MS. We kind of forget we got aches and pains anyway, before MS reared its ugly head.

So it was a weekend of two halves. On Saturday morning, I worked with the builder – yet another 7am start, eek – putting up the world’s most complicated shower screen. All I had to do was sit on the edge of the bath and try to work out the book of instructions and what each of the 200-plus parts were for. Mission accomplished, I picked up The Teenager and took him home to be joyfully reunited with his Playstation.

On Sunday, I woke with my head throbbing in pain. Luckily, The Teenager had a lift to his rugby match, which is just as well as apparently it ended in noisy carnage. Our team was winning, which the opposite team didn’t like very much so they started throwing punches at our lot. Then the parents got involved and the match was suspended. The Teenager arrived home covered in mud from head to toe, face shining with drama and triumph.

The whole of Sunday, after quick dash to the shops for newspapers and a Snickers bar to cheer myself up, I lay on the sofa. I dozed off, woke up, watched telly. When I moved my head, it hurt. Every hour, I gave myself five minutes to dash around sorting out the laundry, tidying up, washing up, then it was back to the sofa. More boring than I can describe. MS is possibly one of the most boring illnesses ever.

Anyone else out there have headaches and MS? Anyone else find MS utterly boring? If so, please let me know how you manage…..

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