Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Badge of Illness

Thanks to Healthline for the new blog badge. Whenever this happens, I feel like I should say something about MS for a change. I actually started this blog as purely a commentary on the disease and my own daily sufferings, but it all kind of got swallowed up in life as the years passed. It was largely MS that inspired me, so to speak, to retire early and move to Bali, Indonesia, so I suppose that, in that sense, the blog is still about MS. In other words, I wouldn't be here without MS.

My most serious problem lately, as regards MS, has been restless leg syndrome, which rather suddenly disappeared of it's own accord some weeks ago. During the time I had this problem on a nightly basis, I found no effective treatment other than sleeping pills - but of course these come with their own drawbacks, including making you feel rather groggy throughout the following day. At the same time, however, I find that lack of sleep combined with an already existing baseline fatigue generally has me ending up ill with some common malady such as a flu or cold. Now, though the RLS is gone (knock on wood), the fatigue remains and seems, lately, a bit more pronounced than normal. I find that if I don't grab a short nap during the day, I run down like an unwound clock by the evening. Recently, my wife and I were in Jakarta and going here and there at a pace that my body can no longer sustain. By early evening I felt bleary and somewhat confused, by nighttime like a sleepwalker. Needless to say, I wasn't quite what could be called a barrel of fun. These are the sort of deficits that one has to face, however unwillingly. MS gives us no alternative. They are the sort of deficits our mates and friends must face as well, though at times they may be inclined to expect us just to 'rise above our limitations', solely by force of will.  I've tried that. I have. And it doesn't work.

In general, I seem to be in a sort of plateau at this time. I've had no obvious new deficits, no profound changes. I would like to feel better, I would like to have more energy, but that's simply not where I am. And so I enjoy this particular plateau, doing what I can at the pace I can manage, fully aware that plateaus don't stretch out forever, but tend to lie between mountains and valleys.

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