In the multiple sclerosis system, a chronic disease affects two separate yet equally important groups; the brain and the spinal cord. Because of this, often it’s hard to tell the difference between MS and non-MS related events. This is one of those stories. Dun dun.
When is being tired not just being tired? Often, in the world of MS, it’s hard to exactly know where the tired ends and the MS begins. Am I exhausted from MS fatigue or did I just not get enough rest the night before? Did I not sleep well because of some environmental factor (room too warm, kiddos waking up during the night) or because one of my regular MS-related ailments (pain, spasticity) kept me up? Sometimes, the mystery ailment better resembles Stephen King novel than procedural drama, but the clues remain ambiguous and the conclusion might never be written.
SUNDAY SPINNING SUNDAY
A few Sundays ago, I woke up around 6:00 and knew instantly something was wrong. The entire room was spinning (and no, I didn’t enjoy any drinks the night before!) Vertigo is pretty common in my world. But this was different…more extreme.
I began to sit up and instantly felt like I was going to pass out. Literally. Everything was going dark. I fell back onto the bed in shock. When I tried again to move, I was hit with the same terrifying feeling of blacking out.
My wife Angela heard me struggling and asked if something was wrong. I was unable to form a coherent response. Everything was spinning. I was being overcome by a cold sweat and a fear that the world was coming to an end.
Was this a bad case of food poisoning? Or was this MS paying me yet another visit? (Dun dun)
DAZED AND CONFUSED
Over the next two hours, I unceremoniously dry-heaved. Blood vessels on my nose popped from the intensity and frequency. I couldn’t even hold my head up.
And so the day went. Yes, day.
By noon, I requested my Kindle to try and research online whether this was food poisoning or something worse. Bad idea. By this point, I had gone delirious and ended up diagnosing myself with some “exotic” condition. I believe it’s called “fainting”. Did you know there is a long, scientific term for fainting? Well, I found it. I was out of my mind, thinking this was some new affliction that was hitting poor saps like me. I’m not sure if Angela shut off my internet access or if I just eventually gave up.
I was in that bed for almost 12 hours. When I finally managed to get up, I felt like I was floating on air. I missed my family and forced myself to head downstairs, give our two children a hug and let them know that Daddy was going to be ok.
So what happened to me on that Sunday? Was it food poisoning, MS…or both?
Meanwhile, life moves forward. But I find myself wondering, will it happen again? Next week? Next month? Or was it just some awful luck related to something bad I ate the night before?
For those of us living in the world of MS, we could use a few “Law & Order” detectives to help navigate these common and oft-recurring mysteries.