Thursday, July 23, 2009


In a response to my recent posting on the non-pseudo-ness of "pseudoexacerbations," Lisa Emrich very thoughtfully referred me to some of her excellent articles at on that subject, and on the subject of heat sensitivity in MS.

I certainly won't dispute how the MS Society has defined "pseudoexacerbation." I would assert, however, that there is a certain denigration of the reality of an MS patient's experience in calling something that is very real to the patient, "pseudo." Just because it doesn't last as long as some of the other inconveniences this disease thrusts upon me doesn't make it any less real, or any less significant in its impact upon my daily living. For a language that conveys a lot of temporal information in the conjugation of its verbs, English may be lacking in adjectives that describe something as being small without connoting unimportance, or to describe something that is of short duration but feels as though it was of long duration.

(Reminds me of an old joke: the definition of "relativity" as being "the difference between a minute sitting with the love of your life and a minute sitting on a hot stove.")

But to the "hot water" test and schizothermia: One of my most puzzling/entertaining/annoying silly symptoms of the MS is different perceived temperatures in different zones of my body. The soles of my feet are too hot. The tops of my feet are too cold, and that cold runs up to my knees. The front and outside of my right thigh is pretty cold, my left is cold too, but not quite as bad. My core tends to run hot (always has).

So, in the 90-100-degree temperatures typical to southern California, my upper body is horribly uncomfortable, and my legs are very, very happy. In the winter when the temperature "drops" to the 50s or lower (yes, my non-LA friends, I hear you laughing at a winter that "drops" to the 50s, but bear with me), my core is comfortable and my legs suffer. Last year, my legs were so cold in the summer that I had to go to the local pool and sit in the hot tub--but I could only do that at night, it would have been too much for my core to do that during the day. A "cool" 85-degree pool, the temperature they recommend for MS people, I can deal with in the summer, but much cooler than that I can't deal with at all. So, in the Goode Olde Days, would they have been able to diagnose me using the "hot water" test? Quite possibly not...

This drives my Chinese herbalist crazy. Too hot? He can cool me down. Too cold? He can warm me up. But this part warm, that part cold? "Very difficult case," he says.

Last night, I got up to feed the cat around 4AM. I was simultaneously hot, sticky, and cold. I wanted to kick on the air conditioner and put the heating pad on my right thigh (I didn't; I was afraid I'd blow a circuit breaker.) Oh well... as Roseanne Roseannadanna used to say, "If it's not one thing, it's another."

Later today: Heller bodywork, a new approach to working some of the kinks out of my legs. I don't know anything about it; but having been Rolfed, I can only imagine that it involves elbows. Tomorrow, Iyengar yoga, which thank goodness will be elbow-free.

You take what you can get, in these troubled times.

1 comment:

Denver Refashionista said...

I can really relate.

I hope the Iyengar yoga is awesome.