It has now been four months since that monstrosity of a blister appeared on my left heel and I’m happy to say that the ‘kiwifruit’ has now shrunk to the size of a grain of rice. I do however occasionally wear the “orrtottic” boots as my heel still has a tingly numbness and a slightly purplish hue that I’m keeping an eye on just in case the kiwifruit decides to return for an encore performance.
The healing of my pressure wound does not however mean that I have given the district nurses any respite from tending my wounds. I awoke one morning and found to my dismay that I had more blisters, but this time they were on my knees! For an alarming moment I imagined my entire body becoming covered in inexplicable pressure wounds and spending the remainder of my life surrounded by health professionals earnestly debriding the necrotic and devitalized tissue from my mutilated body.
And then I remembered the freezing sensation I’d had in my knees the night before and the blissful sensation of the warm hot water bottle. So delicious that it had sent me off to sleep. But so hot that my knees, with their reduced sensation due to the MS, were in fact being burned. It’s taken a while and some TLC but fortunately they are now on the road to healing. I’ll be glad when I can be bandage free though – as much as I like our district nurses, it’ll be something of a personal breakthrough when I don’t need to have them visit me every other day.
I’ve heard of MS sufferers taking hot dishes out of the oven with their bare hands so I guess it’s all part of the MS learning curve which regrettably I’m at the bottom of … and now I have the scars to prove it. Note to self to be more mindful of the reduced sensation in my legs and to be more careful in future.
Thankfully the reduced sensation is only from the waist down for me, although I have noticed a numbness in my mouth and that I often have a horrible taste that no amount of peppermints and toothpaste can disguise. Food just doesn’t hold the same appeal as my sense of taste is only activated by something spicy, like a good curry or a delicious slice of ginger crunch.
And that brings me to that other ‘waist down’ nightmare for MS sufferers – going to the loo. What a bloody nightmare that is! There’s none of this “I’ll go now because I’m near a loo and I don’t want to get caught short later” luxury that we all take for granted. With MS the messages from the brain get lost somehow and you simply can’t pee on demand – straining, pressing on your bladder and doing fake coughs might squeeze out an extra tablespoonful but at the end of the day, when you need to go, you need to go AT ONCE because your bladder has reached critical mass and heaven help the poor sod who gets in your way en route to the toilet.
Which is possibly why the Urodynamics team at Burwood decided it would be a good idea for me to at least learn how to self-catheterise. I was dreading this. I was told to be there early on the Monday morning and that it would probably take at least half a day (due to failures) to get the hang of how to do it. I was also given some antibiotics as there was a high risk of infection. Brilliant. Pretty much the last thing I wanted to do was hang around a hospital for half a day failing to self-catheterise myself and eventually emerge with some ghastly urinary infection. I think I’d opt for the emergency toilet dash over that any day.
Anyway, without going into the intricate details, I totally nailed it in less than fifteen minutes! A piece of piss you might say. It’s not something I necessarily need right now but it’s something to add to my ‘skill set’. I might just pop that on my CV.
The other thing I was asked to do was to keep a diary using the corresponding diagrams provided on the ‘Bristol Stool Chart’. I’ll spare you the details but suffice to say, the fact that a yardstick such as the Bristol Stool Chart even exists provides such a wicked source of infantile amusement for me, I nearly pissed myself laughing!