Saturday, April 12, 2014

Fog lights and chronic illness

This post is going to be short-ish without any pretty pictures (OK I"ll see what I can find) because I have lost use of two of my fingers... more about that later.

When the fog sets in

I actually hate the term "brain fog" because to me it's like saying "oh silly me, I'm so forgetful". There is nothing silly about cognitive dysfunction (CD), which is rampant in ME-CFS, Fibromyalgia, and other chronic illnesses. CD can cause us to forget what we are watching on TV, what someone just said, or where we put our house keys. I have had numerous incidents when I have been in the shower and can't remember if I washed my hair. I have even gotten out of the shower with conditioner still in my hair. While this might sound funny, there is more to it than that. CD isn't silly or merely annoying. It can also cause us to forget if we took our medications. I am on a lot of pain medications. I have had times when I can't recall if I took them within seconds of taking them. A mistake like that could land me in the ER or worse! What happened to my fingers you ask? My brain was so overloaded from trying to prepare dinner that I decided to grab a pan out of the oven without an oven mitt. CD is a serious problem and needs to be treated as such.

Setting up fog lights

While we may not be able to get rid of the fog, there are things we can do to navigate it in a safer manner:
  1. Rest - I know that my CD symptoms get much worse the more exhausted I become.Tonight's burn was a real wake-up call for me. I should NEVER be doing anything where I could potentially hurt myself when I'm in that state.
  2. Set up safety measures - I bought myself a detailed pill organizer so that I would know if I took my medications or not. I didn't like the fact that I had gotten this bad, but my safety is far more important to me than my bruised ego.
  3. Talk to your doctor - Some pain medications can actually made CD issues worse. Talk to your doctor about your concerns and see if there is a different medication you can use.
  4. Stay calm - Getting stressed out over our CD issues only makes them worse. Every time I started freaking out over my seriously burned fingers, I talked myself down and gave it over to God. It's amazing how well that works!
Now, please excuse me as I need to apply some hemorrhoid cream on my burning fingertips.

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I'm sure there are more things that could be added to the list. What safety measures and helpful tricks have you learned to manage your cognitive issues?

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.    2 Timothy 1:7