Monday, February 27, 2012

Happy Monday MSers!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Free Ride on the Merry-Go-Round

An involuntary
merry-go-round ride.

I experienced a pretty radical round of vertigo this past Sunday night. It was totally wacky, like being on a merry-go-round sans looped in circus music and I couldn’t get off the ride. It used to be that being on a rotating circular platform was a ton of fun but not when it’s involuntary!

Alas my amusement ride was not amusing and I was near panic. One minute everything was normal and the next moment my living room was spinning around me. Naturally I felt unsafe and filled up with anxiety. When I looked straight ahead at the front door it rotated to the left, returned to normal and then rotated to the left again. Other items in the living room spun around me. “What is the TV doing over there? This is insane, somebody get me off this crazy thing!” It was near impossible not to totally freak out.

All of my sources tell me that bouts of vertigo are pretty short lived and that I should continue to move about my life. Yet I was nervous. My first impulse, when the spinning finally stopped, was not to move around for the rest of the night. So that is exactly what I did. I plopped on the couch and didn’t move. Luckily, I found some strength the next morning and moved about my day as normal. And no more vertigo attacks for the rest of the week. Whew!

Apparently vertigo is a fairly common symptom of multiple sclerosis, affecting 20% of us MSers. How about you? Ever experience this type of involuntary merry-go-round ride? I would love to hear from you.

Take care and be well,

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Memory Games

With 50% of MSers living with cognitive issues, it is normal for us to forget things. This can be quite challenging and frustrating. For me, I tend to forget to take my meds. Funny thing is I’d like to forget to take my daily injections but for some reason, I never forget these. Nope. I always remember the shots. What I tend to forget, however, is taking my nerve pain medication, especially on the weekends or when I’m traveling or when I fall out my normal routine.

When this happens, it is not infrequent that I work myself up into a frenzy playing memory game. Let’s call it the running-around-in-circles-retracing-my-steps-asking-myself-over-and-over-and-over-again-if-I-took-my-meds game. You know this routine, right? It happens to me all the time. I’ll be in the middle of doing something really fun and suddenly I’ll panic. “Did I take my medicine this morning?” I’ll back track my steps, visualize myself standing by the kitchen window, opening the medicine bottle, pouring out my dosage, taking a sip of water and swallowing my pills. Trying to remember, I’ll press my palms into my face in anguish, “Did I take my medicine? I swear I did. But, I can’t remember! What will happen if I actually took the meds earlier, forgot that I did and then took a dose right now? Will my body convulse with the extra dosage? Is there such a thing of overdosing on Gabapentin? Will I become an addict? Is it even possible to get addicted to this stuff? Good grief!”

I am not sure what’s worse: forgetting to take my meds or the crazy routine I go through trying to remember if I took my meds. Seriously. I need to find a better way to remember and reduce my anxiety. I must stop the madness.

Here are some ideas to stop playing these silly games and help me remember stuff:
  • Remind Siri to remind me. After all, the new iPhone 4s is seriously amazing.
  • Post Its are oldies and goodies. Simply said. They work.
  • Tie a string around my finger. But, I don't see how this will solve anything. I can see it now, "What is the string for? What was I supposed to remember?" Let the games begin.
  • Wear a task bracelet! I found these "List-It" bracelets at a Japanese market and think they're pretty cool. Simply write your task and wear it! Must try.
On Feb 12 at 12pm remind
me to take my meds!

Write down your task and wear it!
Tie a string around your finger!
And, for good measure, if I try all four of these tips at the same time, I will be sure not to forget to take my meds. Right? At least I think so.

So, what are your tips? I would love to hear from you. What are some of the tricks you use to help you remember things? What are some of your favorite stories?

Hope all is well.

Best always,

P.S. here is an excerpt from the National MS Society describing cognition:

"Cognition refers to a range of high-level brain functions, including the ability to learn and remember information: organize, plan, and problem-solve; focus, maintain, and shift attention as necessary; understand and use language; accurately perceive the environment, and perform calculations. Cognitive changes are common in people with MS—approximately 50% of people with MS will develop problems with cognition".

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