Sunday, July 10, 2011

On becoming a cyborg

A cyborg is, according to wikipedia, a being with both biological and artificial parts.

Most of my artificial parts are to keep my environment sufficiently at bay that I can function, and to hold together the bits of me that are coming loose.

 I have in-ear musicians filters and Sennheiser noise-cancelling headphones for different levels of noise.

I have nose filters for when my sense of smell overloads. (They work too.)

I have sunglasses most days, to keep the light levels bearable (and I have both an eye patch and a sleep mask for when darkness is required). I have reading glasses for close work. I carry a magnifying glass.

I have a hat, SPF 30 (Australian maximum) and a white cloth to put over my lap when I'm in the car so the sun doesn't trigger my heat rash.

I have a shoulder brace to keep my upper back in situ, and stabilize my shoulders.

I have a lumbar roll for sitting for any length of time, especially in automobiles. It creates the correct lordosis (arching of the lower spine).

I have orthotics for inside my shoes, to stabilise my knees and ankles.

Today I've bough myself a Dorsi-Strap to combat the slight foot drop and stabilize my ankle further. This will prevent fatigue when driving (I hope). Its supposed to improve my gait by making my foot follow through the step right to the toe.

Part of me laughs at how much paraphernalia is required to keep me on the road, so to speak. Part of me is glad this stuff is available. What's normal anyway?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Heat edema

A while back I wrote about heat rash. Now I have the option of swelling too.

I recently came on holiday to somewhere warm. In cold weather I stiffen up alarmingly so I've taken to fleeing the cold whenever possible. My warm refuge had a spot of warmer warm and I became a bit discombobulated with the heat. Yes, I get both heat and cold sensitivity symptoms - I'm just lucky that way, I guess.

Along with discombobulation, my legs and feet swelled up a bit. My ankles became 'tankles' and my thighs were oddly lumpy in sweat pants. Then we had a thunderstorm, and the heat broke, and within an hour I was headache free, clear-headed and… shrinking.

A bit random google research shows that heat odema is relatively common and usually benign. It is also quite prevalent among people with MS. (And people who are overweight. And women who are menopausal. I score 2.5 out of 3.)

Up till now I thought I was imaging things.

One website mentioned that some people with MS find that moving to a very stable, mild climate really helps their symptoms. Once I would have assumed that was a solution for 'rich' people. Now I'm beginning to understand you'll make a lot of sacrifices to feel well and move freely.