Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Hygiene and 100 Yen Coins

Moving on to an indelicate topic, I have to say that personal hygiene issues are the absolute worst part of numb hands. I can't tell if anything is clean, no matter how long I spend washing my hair and face, or trying to work the little bar of hospital soap into my underarms (which are also numb). Something called Uhthoff's Syndrome means that heat heightens the MS symptoms, so the hot water of the shower -- clearly a rather necessary component of attempts at cleanliness -- only exacerbates the problem. I try to move very deliberately and carefully, covering all the proper body vectors, even though I can only feel them in the most remote, cottony way. It takes so long. I'm going to have to get up at least half an hour earlier than I used to do to make it to the train on time for work.

Out shopping with my parents yesterday, money exchange was also hampered. I can't feel things in my bag, or fish for change in my wallet -- all the coins have to be dumped out on my palm and inspected before I can be certain what I'm handing over. Plus, having no sure sense of how much pressure I'm applying with my grip, I've lost all confidence in my ability to hold things. Just buying a cup of coffee last night, trying to carry it back to the table... I could sense the staff watching me, concerned. 'This isn't me!' I wanted to tell them. 'This is just some freak thing.' I'm not sure what I'll do if it doesn't go away (a possibility no matter which diagnosis the neurologist settles on). Learn to cope, I guess. I can tell I'm going to want a lot of time alone with the idea, to deal with it -- I suppose to internalize it to some extent. Right now, I just don't feel whole.

But at any rate... three more fancy MRIs, one more IV, my final eye exam, and then maybe I can finally go home. Though first, a shower! I'll just take my time.

And maybe by this afternoon, my diagnosis won't even be MS.