Tag Archives: ill

MS Is Not The Only Illness

breathingI don’t know about you guys, but MS is hard enough to handle without the extra winter bugs chucked our way.

It’s tempting to think that when you’ve drawn the health short straw, anything else will be minor, easy to handle.

I stand (slump) corrected: I’ve been off work most of January with a rotten, stinking cold and it shows no signs of leaving any time soon. To add insult to injury, I’ve lost most of my voice (I know, me?!) so I’m particularly frustrated.

However, as befits anyone starting the New Year with a commitment to Get Things Done, I’veĀ ticked a few things off my list:

  • I finally replaced the bulb in The Teenager’s bedside light.
  • I took the cat to the vet (again) to sort out her flea-bite allergy (again) and jokingly begged the vet to give me the same steroid injection.
  • I ordered a whole load of herbal teas online, inspired by a Christmas gift. They look nice on my shelf.
  • The Boss took me on a trip to Ikea, where I munched on some weird eggs in the cafe and bought a stack of tealights and a sad-looking plant.
  • I spent a whole day and evening debating with myself whether I should paint my living room black/very dark grey. Still undecided.

The worst thing about an extra illness is how MS interacts with it; if MS had any decency, it would take a back-seat and allow a bit of time to get through this whole new host of symptoms?

Not a chance – all the usual MS symptoms have been amplified x 20. So now I’m yet again pin-balling around the house as my balance is appalling. I’ve tripped up the stairs and down the stairs. I have bruises all over my legs and if I break one more plate/cup/bowl, I’ll … break another one against the wall, if only I had the energy.

I’m bored and fed up. Just when I think it’s over, it flares up again. I got my voice back for a day and caught up with my phonecalls. Then it died, probably to the relief of everyone, including the cat. I had a tentative day backĀ  in work yesterday. Bad idea. Very bad idea. I listed, lolled and lay upright against the walls, until it was remarked upon by everyone else and I was sent on bonfire duty, which sounds a lot more exciting than it actually is – burning a load of stuff and making sure I don’t set the work site on fire.

As I sat there with a long stick, intermittently prodding the embers and wishing I had a bag of marshmallows, I decided that when I was better, I would absolutely, completely and totally … do something different.

But what?


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Ya Flu Sucks …

fluLast Tuesday in work, the boss stared at me in a somewhat odd manner.

‘Oi, Half-Shift, you here or what?’

‘Oh, er. Yes, that colour scheme looks great. White looks fab with, um, everything don’t you think?’

‘Nice, but we’re talking about the roof plans?’

I tuned back in from wherever I was. I felt … wrong.

I left work early with, ‘ta-ra Quarter-Shift’ ringing in my white-noise ears.

At home, I collapsed onto the sofa (a recurring theme) and lay there, dazed (another recurring theme).

Strangely though, I didn’t feel like eating any chocolate. It was probably then that I knew something fairly serious was up.

That night, I crawled into bed and spent hours tossing and turning, covered in sweat and having the strangest dreams. I woke up long enough to cancel two appointments and went back to bed.

When I woke again, I couldn’t get out of bed. I tried. Then tried again. Eventually, I tumbled downstairs and collapsed again on to the sofa. I was feverish and aching.

Hours later, I dressed in yesterday’s clothes and dragged myself off to a chemist. He noted my long list of symptoms and finally told me I was one of the unlucky, ‘Had the flu jab, got the flu’ peeps.

I questioned him closely:

‘And that would explain the aching joints? The insomnia? The nausea? The headaches?’


‘And also the feverish dreams?’


‘What about the complete lack of appetite? And do you think this might be a lasting symptom (ever hopeful)?’

‘Yes. And, ah, no.’

Right. Panic stations.

I haven’t felt this ill in a long, long time. I can always somehow truck on, but this, this was on a different level. I was reduced to a gibbering wreck. No longer could I hide these symptoms from The Teenager when he found me on the sofa staring at ‘Judge Rinder’ with glassy eyes.

‘Hi! I don’t seem to be able to get up off the sofa. Not MS, just the flu. Nothing to worry about.’

The Teenager patted me on my head.

‘Mum. You know, you’ve always been kinda brave by keeping your MS symptoms away from me. I know that. I’m not like, stupid. But, like, let me help.’

It was hard, but I did. He cleared away glasses and cups, put out the rubbish, tidied up the kitchen and got me juice. He fetched my unread book-club book from upstairs, fed the cat, closed the curtains.

The next two days were a blur of willing myself to get better. Flu seems to exacerbate all manner of MS symptoms, so along with the aching and feeling of being run over, I was coping with more foot drop, bonkers balance and an interesting speech slur.

And now, five days on, I’m getting slowly back to normality. Or something like it.

One thing’s for sure. This has been a terrible year so far – surely I’m due some good news?

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