Friday 26 October 2007

Out and About

After another week in bed I was up and about this week for a veritable buffet of medical appointments.

On Wednesday I visited the hospital (which is usefully situated a mere half mile from my house) for an appointment with my Neurologist. As I hadn't seen him for about six months this necessitated a lengthy and thorough examination. Neurologists have a battery of seemingly random tests which I assume measure various functions of your brain... as I was already clearly having trouble with balance we dispensed with the tests which involve walking along a line on the floor and standing with your feet together and eyes closed (all good as both of these would have undoubtedly culminated in me falling down). We did however have the full set of reflex and sensation tests... these involve being poked with sharp objects and prodded to see if you can feel equally on both sides of your body. It tuns out that sensation is mostly not too bad, but reflex is not at all good. Also I embarrassingly failed the test where you put your arms out to either side of you and then bring your index fingers to the tip of your nose, I lost my nose!!!

It would fascinate me to discover what exactly it is in terms of brain and nerves that all these test measure!

My Neuro decided that my DMDs (disease modifying drugs) clearly aren't up to the task. The interferon that I take is the weakest of the available options, and that I should therefore change to a different drug. The drug I take is injected intra-muscularly once a week - chosen at the time due to my not being keen on injections. However, since I've been taking it I've got over the needle thing so now I'm changing to a drug that is administered every other day. This is subcutaneous and so should hurt less... so that at least is good. (I love that my online spell checker can spell interferon, intra-muscularly and subcutaneous!).

After seeing the Neuro I was introduced to the Physio. He is going to help me with my balance and so forth. This involved more lying on tables and being assessed. Lucky for me he had a vacancy the following day, so we arranged for an appointment straight off.

Lastly I had to see the MS Nurse so that we could arrange the details of changing my Meds. This involved more confusion because the reception staff thought that she was waiting to see the Physio and didn't realise it was me sitting in the waiting area that she wanted to see! D'oh.

The whole morning was very positive. I arrived feeling quite bleak as I'd walked to the hospital after missing the bus and realised that whilst I had thought at home I was getting better this was just because at home I wasn't actually doing much except staying in bed, and once I got up and about I wasn't feeling so better at all. Positive input from the Dr and Nurse and Physio though meant that I left in a much more optimistic frame of mind than when I arrived.

Yesterday saw me take a trip to the Physio. I found the Health Centre behind the old Hospital site in East Greenwich... which is still sitting vacant. This was an absolutely fascinating session... as I learned a great deal about how bits of the body work (or in my case don't work) together. By the end of the session I could actually stand up quite efficiently without falling over! It's not so much exercise as therapy... learning to listen and adjust to your body, and improving awarness of yourself and your surrounding. I do however have a daily exercise program - which seems to largely centre around the kitchen sink!!!

After all of that exercise and being out and about I'm quite glad to be tucked up back in bed again today!