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” boot 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.
Thankfully the reduced sensation is only from the waist down for me, except for the fact that everything I put into my mouth tastes remarkably like seawater. I’ve found however that with a little bit of care and some trial and error, I’m able to activate my taste buds by enhancing my meals with some spices or introducing things like citrus or mint. Although I don’t follow a rigid diet, I’ve found that my altered taste has made the foods that are not recommended less appealing anyway.
The other ‘waist down’ nightmare that seems to be fairly universal for MS sufferers, is 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 I used to take for granted. With MS the messages from the brain get lost in transit 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 I often walk away from the loo with a sense of ‘unfinished business’. A short while afterwards I find myself rushing to find the nearest unoccupied toilet needing to go AT ONCE because my bladder has reached critical mass and heaven help the poor sod who gets in my way en route.
This 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 a 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 is a high risk of infection. Brilliant. I wasn’t happy about taking antibiotics unnecessarily as I hadn’t had to take any at all for many years however the last thing I wanted to do was hang around a hospital for half a day failing to self-catheterise and contracting some ghastly urinary tract infection. I think I’d opt for the emergency toilet dash over that any day. Without going into the intricate details, I totally nailed the entire process in less than fifteen minutes and I came away with a smug sense of pride that I’d learned something new to add to my ‘skill set’.
Because urinary problems aren’t the only lavatory difficulties that MS sufferers encounter, I was also told to keep a bowel diary using the corresponding diagrams provided on the ‘Bristol Stool Chart’. The fact that a yardstick such as the Bristol Stool Chart even exists provided a wicked source of infantile amusement for me, however I diligently maintained an action-packed account of each movement until Weasley brought a rat inside who hungrily munched its way through my Bristol Stool Chart before completely annihilating the diary.
I nearly pissed myself laughing!