Flare Danger

I didn’t tell Adam before he went to work this morning but I am really struggling today. There is always the danger that when something else is wrong, that MS goes into a flare, I am not sure if that is what is happening yet as it takes time to know. Flares always heighten some existing symptom on top of just being ill. The problem with having another illness or just a bug, is of course the immune system being activated. MS is your own immune system attacking you, having it activated to fight something else, means it’s normal attack rate is heightened, so staying well is more important for anyone with an autoimmune illness. What I know at the minute is I am ill and I want to go to bed and lie there, I think I have a slight temperature, but it is the feeling of wanting to be sick and just a general not well condition. I also know I need to sleep more another sign of something wrong, the past two days I have slept the full 2hrs in the afternoon being woken by the alarm and in bed exhausted by 10 having struggled to stay awake that long, sleeping again until the alarm tells me to get up.

Normally in the morning I would just have a slice of bread with my coffee and meds but today I treated myself to blackened toast and marmalade, not everyone’s choice I know, but I just love my toast burnt, so it wasn’t one of my many cooking accidents. I always find myself having treats when I feel bad, they never make me feel better but there is always the hope. I have always believed that your body tells you when there is something wrong what to eat to make it better, the burnt toast will of course add charcoal into my stomach and it is known to help settle a bad stomach, so it would explain why I wanted to eat that today, although I am not sure what the effects of the marmalade are other than a great taste combination. Unfortunately neither the charcoal or the medicine I have to stop me feeling sick are working or it could be the old problem they are working and without them I would be feeling even worse. On the good side I have just had a phone call from the MS nurse wanting to come out and see me for my annual check up and she is going to be here on Thursday, so by then I hope to have a better idea of what is going on. I can’t help thinking that this is my gallstones as I have felt like this a lot in the last few months but not as badly, when you have a many things wrong with you as I do, the big problem always is separating out what is causing what and is it something new or different.

Having been locked inside my home for so long I haven’t had even a cold for years, and luckily Adam hasn’t brought home any bugs from work, he is in general normally a person who doesn’t get things that are going around. I was worried when I went out to the hospital twice in the last few weeks that I might come down with at least a cold, I never had to spend any length of time near people, so luck was on my side. I often think that being housebound has actually kept me in better health than if I was still spending many hours in the outer world surrounded by flues, bugs and colds. I used to have bronchitis every winter and it was bad enough to be listed as chronic, I haven’t had a single attack since being housebound, on it’s own that is a huge plus as I frequently would be bad enough to land me up at the hospital for treatments to allow me to breath. It is a little strange to think that a side effect of one chronic illness has been to totally cure another, I suppose no matter how small, a plus is a plus and I am grateful for that.

Brought up to be well

Adam came home last night proudly clutching a plastic box of red currents that he picked yesterday in his Mums garden, I got the impression from what he said it was the first time he had really spent a little time picking fruit as he seemed surprised at the quantity he had gathered. Even though it was in a garden I think he had felt a little of what I keep talking about, the simple joy of gathering and eating what you have actively had apart in bringing to that meal. There are always been strange moments like that, that bring home to me the difference in our upbringing and our ages. I was brought up by the generation who were children during the war, they had learned to always make the most of what was available, Adams mother is only ten years older than me, the same age as my brother, my mother is closer in age to Adam gran his Mother, she doesn’t seem to have passed that make-do-and-mend attitude on that mine did. It is probably the thing I notice the most when it comes to differences between us, I would never dream of looking for something to eat and simply take what I wanted, I always check what has to be eaten first, before it goes off, Adam just heads for the thing he would most like to eat.

I often think that your upbringing can also shape how well you deal with illness as much as anything else. I was brought up to not complain, or to stop, just because something was hurting. I can remember clearly been shoved out side when I was ill and being told to go and play, not when I was needing to be in my bed, but the attitude I learned was, that as long as you where able to be up and about, you were able to live life as normal. Bed was for too reasons, you were asleep or you were really ill, there were no toys or TV’s in the bedrooms of children, so there was nothing to do other than sleep, if you didn’t need to be there you were well. If you thought you could go downstairs and watch TV, you had to be well, I still find I that I work on that ethos. I am not lying in by bed unable to move, I still have the strength to stand, walk badly and sit in a chair, therefore I am well enough to deal with life as it is. I still find it hard to accept that I am ill enough to now be unable to find a job, that every company turns my down and even our Government, who are working hard to push those who can be, off the sick list and into work, have also listed me as so ill I am not expected to even think about the word far less do it.

I still find myself daily that I have a voice inside me saying that I am being stupid, that I am fine, I have the ability to do what ever I can and that I have to keep going as there is no other way. I’m not sure what it will take for me to actually agree with all the so called experts, other than the day arriving that I can’t physically swing my legs out of my bed and push and pull myself to me feet, them maybe I will be ill, but I think it will take more somehow. Our upbringing I think really does shape your reaction to illness, if you were wrapped up in a duvet in the living-room in front of the TV and waited on hand and foot, then I believe you are the person who will find the reality of chronic illness hardest. Our childhoods have been proved to shape us as the person we are and I believe our ability to deal with illness is the just another part of that now accepted theory.

As parents I don’t think any of us realise just how much we are shaping our children to live their entire lives, lives that not one of us can know, what it will hold. I brought Teressa up more or less the same way I was, she too doesn’t stop unless she can’t do anything else, she too is a strong independent woman. As her Mother I of course want nothing like this to ever happen to her, but I guess if it did, she to would cope well.