Hidden threat

I have lived now for more years than I care to remember with the symptoms of MS, with that said, just occasionally, stopping and questioning all that you know. I suspect on the list of symptoms, spasm have to be the best know one that all forms of MS produce. They vary from small and annoying, right the way through to so painful, you’d happily have the offending area, surgically removed. It was the latter that attacked me last night, which after spending the entire day, being annoyed by sensations that make you question your sanity, just didn’t feel fair. Adam was busy in the kitchen. He wasn’t cooking or any of the normal kitchen chores, but putting in yet more time, trying to complete his clear up of what I hope, will soon be his ex-dumping site. He had popped through just after 8 pm and shut the living room door as he was about to start work on his shredding pile, so I was isolated, but happily watching TV. I suppose, I had been sat still for coming up on three-quarters of an hour when, I felt my calf muscle starting to tighten. As I said, they can vary from mild to excruciating, so I quite honestly, didn’t pay any attention to it at all. When the tension started to increase, I did give it a bit of a rub, then a gentle massage, just to see if it would break. The massage quickly changed, into as much pressure as I could possibly apply, this was going to be a stonker.

The pain started in my lower calf and was spreading slowly upwards, as the pain increased. As it got close to the back of my knee, my foot joined in and went into a full arched spasm, basically, I was in agony from my toes to my knee and it wasn’t going anywhere. This is far from the first time this has happened, and I know there is no real way of changing it, but that doesn’t stop you from trying. I landed up sitting on the arm of the settee, twisting my leg in any direction that I could, in the hope of doing something that might help. I was about then, that something jumped into my head, it was a question I have considered many times before. “Is this just a spasm, or could it be a DVT?” I was reasonably sure that it wasn’t, but only because a while ago, I read up on the symptoms, but it is one of those things that does worry me. Not so much that it was a DVT, but that we are all in danger from dismissing something as a symptom of the conditions we live with, when in fact, it is something that could quite easily be deadly. I know that I have written before about finding myself wondering, if I might be having a heart attack, simply because of my intercostal and diaphragm spasms. I have always told myself, that if it were something worse, then surely I would know. After all, I know my conditions well, and I also know my body well, but do I know either well enough, to not make a serious mistake? I know I often think about the worse case scenarios, but I think it is one, that we all should take seriously.

When you look at the lifestyle we are forced into over time, it is totally clear that we could easily be in danger of either of those things. For myself, I am sedentary, not out of choice, but out of a total lack of ability to be anything else. The majority of my life is spent asleep, flat on my back, I can’t actually even roll over, I am a total flat motionless board. I don’t exercise at all, as it is just too much for me, and even dangerous, hence the wheelchair reentering my life. My days are mainly spent sitting more or less motionless at my PC. My diet, isn’t the best, but again, not out of choice, but because I can eat so little and if I move out from a limited range, my body reacts badly. Ask any doctor, I tick all the boxes for a range of other condition, I hope I never have. Last night, apart from the spasm in my foot, my leg was mimicking almost totally a DVT. As is normal, there was mild squidgy oedema in my foot, despite wearing tight travel socks, and my calf was totally solid, thanks to the spasm or was it swelling, hard to distinguish the difference. The only thing that was missing was a change of temperature, where the pain was at its worst. If there had been, well there would have been one other thing I would have then checked, actually, I would have had to ask Adam to, as I can’t see the back of my knee, to see if the skin had changed colour to red. It took over half an hour to die back, which, was mainly due to the much-needed Morphine booster. Even right now, I still have the shadow pain, that is always left behind from a spasm of that nature. My leg, though, is as it has been for weeks, mainly numb, even over the area that is still at times producing actual pain.

Without a doubt, it is another one of those things that we the chronically ill, need to take the time to learn about. We have all in the past, searched online for our symptoms, in the quest to workout, if it could be something other than the norm. Few of us, though, will have spent time learning about those sudden deadly conditions, that ours could mimic. Without a doubt, last night, if I hadn’t known about the heat that is produced by a DVT, I would have been asking Adam to call me an ambulance. Yes, I have had bad spasms before, too many to remember, but this one had an intentness, I’m not used to, that tiny bit of knowledge, stopped me from panicking. It doesn’t matter what we are talking about, but being able to stay calm, means you handle everything better. I was aware, and I knew what to keep checking, if I hadn’t had that knowledge, well, I would have been wasting the NHS, and not to mention, mine and Adam’s time. Clearly, last night made me focus on the most serious illness, but our health can with ease, cover up a lot of milder problems. Which is one of the reasons the loopy sensations I have had over the last few weeks are worrying me. It hasn’t been around long enough yet, but if it continues like this, I am going to have to set up a new routine of checking my body for ulcers, and skin breakdown. I already have three area’s that I have to keep checking and applying antiseptic cream to, as a precaution. There have been several occasions when they have broken down so badly, that I could smell them rotting. I hadn’t felt any pain or even discomfort, the very first thing I knew, was this horrid smell of what I now know was decaying skin.

The further our bodies get from normal, the longer we are unable to live anything close to a normal life, the more we need to learn and the more aware, we have to be of just what could go wrong, and what to do about it. I know there is a huge temptation, especially when you don’t feel your best, to just let life happen. I think most people would agree, that that is probably just what life should let us do, but it doesn’t work that way at all. I, for one, will be spending a little time, just checking online for anything that I might not have thought about, as forearmed, is forewarned, and hopefully also means a more peaceful and healthier future.

Please read my blog from 2 years ago today – 24/12/2013 – Family emotions

I have had a phone call from Teressa this morning and just as I expected they won’t be here before 3pm. Adam thought she would arrive before lunchtime but I know what she is like when she gets together……





Pain Relief Update

A few weeks ago I wrote about a test I was trying with a new cushion and pressure socks to see if I could get some relief from the pains I have in my legs, I hadn’t forgotten to update you I just wanted to give it a bit more time to see what the results really were. The pressure socks do seem to have had a positive result and I am finding the pain in my lower legs has greatly improved, not gone but a lot better than they were. I am wearing them from when I get up in the morning right through to my bed time at night and there has been two positives. The first is that I have no edema in my lower legs at all! For the first time in not just months, more like years, I have my skinny bony feet back, there is no swelling and that in itself means no pain from tight stretched skin. The area on the top of my foot that I was slowly scratching the skin off is healing up properly, the difference is well worth the small amount the socks cost me. I knew the problems was probably coming from sitting all the time, just as you do on a long haul flight, OK I didn’t have the pressure changes but fluid was pooling, it doesn’t any longer. The pain issue is slightly different there are still spells of intense pain that gets worse as the day goes on, and it has had no effect at all on the spasms or any of the pain I know comes from my MS and Fibro, but even a small improvement is really welcome and there has been some, on top of just that caused by the fluid issue. I STRONGLY RECOMMEND if you have similar problems buy those socks now.

The cushion is a different result, it seems to help some of the time but I have to keep changing positions and add or take away other cushions from under it. I would now describe myself as being like the “Princess and the Pea”, I am a that “Princess” and it is a constant battle trying to move the pea around, as you know you can’t get rid of it. It is totally impossible for me to now sit for more than maybe 10 mins without having to change position slightly and try again until it gets to painful to remain in that position and I am then off again. What the cushion is really doing is it is supplying more options. I now also take it with me when I move over to the settee having it with me all the time, rather than just up here at my desk, has helped a little. Sitting is the simplest position that we all expect to be always able to do, finding yourself unable to do so with any degree of comfort and without the option of standing isn’t only difficult but it is also frustrating. I honestly don’t know when last I have managed to stay in the same position for more than just a few minutes and I know that that isn’t helping with the other big problem with MS, fatigue.

I have dug out a letter that I received on the 26th June regards an OT coming to the house well we are into September and I haven’t heard anything since. I have tried this morning to phone a few times but as it always seems to be with any NHS phone line it is constantly engaged. The OT was meant to be coming to sort out seating that would make life bearable, the letter said that I am not a priority and it could take time for an appointment to be available but I didn’t expect to be still waiting over 2 months later, which of course is on top of the two months of passing me from person to person before passing me to the OT service.

Adams mother has arranged for me to see a lady she knows through her Yoga class, she specialists in massage and is properly trained in medical massage not the essential oil type you get in a spa. She apparently works with other patients with MS and others forms of chronic illness, so I will be calling her soon to see when she is available to come and see me and find out what she thinks she might be able to do. To those who have been reading my blog for a while will know, I’m not big on alternative therapies so for me to accept this kind of really shows how much pain I am in and how desperate I am now to get relief from it. I am trying to keep an open mind and be prepared to try at the very least and be astounded at the very best.