Tuesday, June 16, 2009

An attack... ?

I'm on day 6 of a completely unexplained, and as far as I can tell environmentally completely unmotivated, throat/lung thing. I usually get these things in the winter, apparently triggered/enabled by the dehydration caused by the wall heater. The episode always comes on exactly the same way:
  1. Dry spot, feels like it's maybe the size of a nickel or a quarter, on the upper side of my soft palate.
  2. Dryness/heat starts moving down, creeping down into the throat.
  3. On the way down, it invades the eustachain tube.
  4. Finally creeps into the lungs, at which point it really, really doesn't want to leave.
When it's cold outside and warm and way too dry inside, it makes sense that I'd catch something because my insides were being dried out.

Well, the usual thing happened as always, step after step, just like every time. Except that LA's "June gloom" is keeping the house at 60% humidity, at a "chill" 68-72 degrees.

The Chinese consider this set of symptoms to be an indication of Wind and Heat invading the Lungs. Well, I could have believed some of the other External Pernicious Influences, the most likely suspects this month being Cold and Dampness, but no. (Although my herbalist said that his business always booms when the weather turns weird.)

This wouldn't have been worth spending "MS blog" space on, except... something neurological has just happened in my legs; another breaker, as it were, has opened. I knew that something was up a couple of days ago, and today the breaker finally "popped," and something new is stupidly screwy.

And of course, this whole adventure was accompanied by the usual "fog of war," biologically speaking... very much the sort of mental weirdness one normally gets with scary high fever, except my temp hasn't gone over 97 more than once in the past few days. (Last time I was hit with this so bad was two, maybe three years ago, and then it did come with a high fever.)

Although I think I've finally come up with the correct descriptor for my mental impairment. It's not "grogginess," or "dizziness," or "light-headedness," or any of the usual adjectives. The correct term is viscosity. Instead of the (mostly) clear water that is my usual thought/perceptive process, I'm mentally looking through a solution of guar gum, Mythbusters style. Things can't move through it quickly, it's kinda gooey, and clear? Hah! It's translucent at best.

Hit the web for a definition of an "MS attack," and you either get some sort of vague medical double-talk involving terms like "neurological" and "exacerbation," or sufferer's first-person accounts of something going wrong, often in a fog of seemingly unrelated symptoms. One suffer described it to me quite poetically: she said she gets "gimped out." This non-clarity about attacks was one of the reasons I didn't want to have anything to do with the standard MS drugs--their manufacturers say that they'll reduce your frequency of attacks, but (a) they won't tell you what exactly an attack is and (b) they have no way, statistically or experimentally, of determining whether the number of attacks you did or didn't have was due to their intervention or to the disease's own roll of the dice. (Their assessment of their drug's effectiveness is akin to a life-insurance company's actuarial math; insurers know how many people will die over the course of the year, they just don't know who.)

So, the bottom line is: something happened. Don't know what, exactly. The MS has changed, somehow. Don't know how, exactly.

And oh yeah, two more things: Somehow, I think these episodes are triggered by something the acupuncturist is working on. It happened a lot, several years ago: a treatment, usually a powerful, wonderful treatment--and then this exact same set of symptoms, every time. I don't for a second believe I'm being infected by my doctor or his office, but Something's Up. Especially because of the second thing: the herbalist thinks that the MS symptoms have their root in the Lung official, and he described the problem as best as our translators could tell, using the word "scorching."

Something happened. Something's up.

Don't you just love a good mystery?

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