Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Foot

The "fatigue umbrella" is most puzzling. It unfolds itself over everything... I make myself a cup of tea. I want to go to bed. I go outside, breathe the air (especially nice after the recent rains), fiddle with the sprinkler controls to make sure the water doesn't start flowing until the rain has had a chance to soak itself in; I want to go to bed. I make a couple of "business" calls to insurers who called while I was asleep during the day yesterday (see above, inescapable fatigue); immediately thereafter, I'm tired and want to go to sleep.

I remember the Good Old Days of college, when cups of coffee worked miracles. Then again, there were days that I said started as "two-cup mornings"... one cup over the head so that you were awake enough to get the second cup into your head. Some mornings were eight-cup mornings.... ah, those were the days. But like so many things, my coffee drinking is a thing of the past. Has nothing to do with The Disease, I gave it up for other reasons around oh my, is it 20 years ago?

But this morning I made a green Japanese tea, with a touch of matcha, that delightful green powder that monks invented centuries ago to help them stay awake for long meditations, which is now used primarily as a flavoring for ice cream and the Zen-inspired tea ceremony. It should be a "wake up" assistant. For me, apparently, it isn't. At least, not right now, as I'm writing.

I know "fatigue" is something that plagues us M.S.ers, and Lord knows I've experienced "standard M.S. fatigue" more than enough (and what M.S. symptom, any disease's symptoms, doesn't fall into the "more than enough" category). I know people who have had optic neuritis, I know people who have had crash-and-burn "attacks" (whatever those are, I've never had one), I know people who have suddenly been unable to hold things because they had a sudden hand palsy, I know people who have suddenly been unable to ... well, lots of things. But "I have to lie down and cover my eyes and probably go to sleep, now," I haven't heard a lot about those.

Well, the M.S. Highway is full of ... oh, why not call them "surprises." They always are, aren't they?

So, after "needing sleep multiple times during the day" and "getting up with the sun, but then going back to sleep" and lots of daytime "sleep," last night I hung with a friend of mine until 11:30PM, and was awake until 2.

Not "productive" or "full of vim and vigor" or "now's the time to do some creative thinking" or "I'd love to catch up on some reading," just awake. So, the whole "circadian sleep cycle" is in the dumpster, apparently.

Well, it is coming on winter; the season of Water has always kind planted its foot on me, Monty-Python-style. It may be the season of Emphasis, as Gumenick writes... what it appears to be emphasizing right now is, "Go to bed." It is doing a lot of emphasis without much warning, though... I mean, it's nice to hope for one's "better angels of our nature" to help one through hard times, but they don't do particularly well under The Foot.


Muffie said...

I know that this is a HUGE problem for you, and I wish there were something that would alleviate this fatigue for you. I always say it's my worst symptom because it's always there. I know that even after a good night's sleep, I'll be tired again after I shower and dress. I'll be tired before I leave the house to visit my mother. By the time I return, I just fall asleep in my chair. However, I have nowhere near the exhaustion you experience. There has to be some way of helping you. You eschew western meds, so I won't go there, except to say that Focalin XR helped me get through the day when I worked. It's an ADD drug that most insurances won't cover for MS, but I paid out of pocket. Now, with not working, it's too expensive, and I can get along without it. For you, maybe there's an herb that mimics this effect? I hope you find some relief soon.

Judy at Peace Be With You said...

I am very familiar with MS severe chronic fatigue. It is what caused me to retire at age 37. MS, however, is not the only thing that can cause chronic fatigue. Just because MS can cause just about anything does not mean just about anything is caused by MS. If you have not already done so, you should have this unusual pattern of fatigue evaluated by a medical doctor.

Robert Parker said...

Judy: Good point; I see my MD every week, I told him about it this last Wednesday. He hadn't encountered it in his MS patients before, all thirty-plus-years of them... he's watching it.

Muff: I'm leery about ADD stuff, and not just because I watch too much South Park and their adventures with Ritalin and Ritalout. I drink a lot of green tea, including matcha which for centuries has been a known "help you stay awake" beverage, and that doesn't help either. I feel the "tea buzz" very clearly, but it's frequently not-at-all rejuvenative. MD is watching me for B12 deficiency which has a lot of interesting effects, but that hasn't "hit the mark" yet either. We have some ideas... some physiological, some spiritual. More news as it becomes available.