22. The Relapse Clinic.

‘I feel like I’m falling apart’ I told Karen, an MS Nurse Consultant at Hope Hospital.

“Well we’ll put you back together’ she replied.

I’ve never had a ‘relapse’. I mean I don’t think my leg going numb could be classed as a ‘relapse’ as it was the first MS-thing that had happened to me. Perhaps that was simply a ‘lapse’ which makes what has happened to me during the last couple of weeks my first relapse.

It started 3 weeks ago now with dizziness and feeling unsteady on my feet and developed into pain, numbness and pins and needles in my hands and arms and numbness in my right foot again …

And so I have been to the Relapse Clinic at Hope Hospital on the last two Wednesdays.

Karen explained that as I had something wrong with my hand I would need to do a new test – the peg test.

There was a board with 9 holes in it – 3 rows of 3 – and a section in which there were 9 pegs each about an inch long and thinner than a pencil. The test involved picking up the pegs one at a time and placing them in the holes before taking them out again one by one and putting them back in their section of the board. First with my right hand and then with my left. Whilst being timed. This way my test-times could be compared to see whether my hand was getting better or worse on later occasions.

I found this harder than the walking test. Firstly because I am quite strongly right handed my left hand is pretty rubbish at the best of times. And secondly because my right hand was feeling numb and clumsy and sore and so I found it hard to pick the silly little pegs up. My first finger and thumb didn’t seem to want to grip. I felt like I was wearing a woolly glove. And as most of you will know it’s hard trying to pick up very small things when you have gloves on in the winter.

Apparently there isn’t much that can be done in the event of a relapse. There isn’t a cure or a pill that can make it stop. A short course of high-dose steroids can be given but that it more to assist recovery than stop the relapse. And of course painkillers to help with the pain.

It’s really just a case of seeing what happens. Of giving my Charlie’s Angels kick ass immune system time to realise that it has got the wrong baddie – that my nervous system isn’t the enemy and they can, in fact, live along side each other in peace and harmony like the Waltons … (see post number 3 ‘The Science Bit’)

The one ‘good’ thing that has come out of all of this MS stuff has to be the people that I have met. Whether it be other MSers in person or on twitter, or the fabulous medical practitioners who are helping me. Nothing it seems is too much trouble, no question too stupid. I’m not just another patient with MS to them, I am Nicoletta …. and from these recent visits it seems I am … Nicoletta the patient who passed out in the waiting room after the blood test … oops.


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