Here’s a partial list of some of the more severe ones:
- memory loss
- muscle weakness
- numbness in any part of the body
- cognitive difficulties
That should be enough for anyone, but there are plenty more. Few experience them all, but everyone experiences some.
Some of the symptoms I’ve developed are far more benign. These are manifestations of the condition that are not generally talked about because they are less severe and are more indirect.
Also, I might be the only one who experiences them because I’m making them up.
- Splinters – The cane I use once belonged to my grandfather who, I’m told, suffered from a severe case of rheumatoid arthritis. Over the years, it has grown worse for the wear, as have we all. It’s badly in need of refurbishing now. Until I get around to doing that, I’m getting splinters.
- MRI head – MRI’s are one of the key diagnostic tools used by neurologists. Since my MS is in both my brain and spinal cord, my sessions usually last a few hours. Although I suffer from a bad case of claustrophobia, I’ve never had problems in the MRI tube. They cover my eyes with a cloth and I imagine that I’m at the beach. I also use the time to pray. Imagination and prayer trump fear. But I still get MS head, which is like bed-head on steroids. (And trust me, I know steroids!)
- Shoe wear – Due to my weird gait, my right shoe always wears out faster. The damage is also in a strange pattern since my walk is so strange.
- Dirty walls – Wall-walking is a common practice among those of us who have balance and walking issues. Generally, I require at least one hand on something to maintain an upright position. There is usually a wall at hand to aid in this. Unless I’m very diligent at hand-washing (rarely), there is always the chance that I’ll leave a trail of marks on those walls.
- Arrest for public intoxication – This might seem far-fetched because it is. The possibility exists, however, because my typical gait resembles a drunken sot. That’s one reason I use a cane. A guy with a cane is rarely questioned about drinking too much… except maybe Charlie Chaplin.
There are probably more of these lesser-known symptoms, but I forget.