“It’s only a Pay Day”
November 5, 2012
Two days ago I participated in two events that lasted all day with only a two-hour break between them. I normally only plan one outing per day, but both events were very important to me and just happened to fall on the same date.
When I planned for the events, I knew I would be fatigued and my MS symptoms would be whacked out afterward. So I made sure I got a good night sleep the night before, planned to lie down for an hour between events, then do absolutely nothing else the rest of that day when I returned home.
The fun and adrenaline enabled me to sail though the day. And sure enough, I returned home exhausted but fulfilled. The mental and emotional satisfaction was worth the physical stress I endured. After some Chinese take-out, I went to bed.
Yesterday, after nine hours of sleep, I woke up still feeling wiped out. It felt like I had a virus. My muscles ached all over, I felt nauseated and dizzy, and all I wanted to do was lie down. Not only did I have overwhelming fatigue, but many of the symptoms I handle with my own case of multiple sclerosis were intensified. The spasticity flared to the point that my legs were “frozen” straight, the pain in my back was unbearable, and the bladder medication wasn’t working. My mental faculties were off– I couldn’t concentrate and I kept forgetting things. Both hands were exceptionally tingly and weak.
It was a “pay day”.
I knew from experience not to freak out. A couple of days of mostly rest and minimal activity would calm the symptoms; I would revert back to my “normal” state. It was just a temporary worsening of symptoms triggered from the excess stress. And I also knew from experience that I didn’t do any permanent damage to my nervous system.
Neurologists like to use a fancy term for this, and call it a pseudo-exacerbation. I don’t like that term because to me it is misleading, implying an actual flare-up or attack. But it’s not! I was “paying” for overdoing it on the previous day, which is why I call it a “pay day”.
It’s like a hangover after a night of too much wine! Rest up, drink plenty of water and eat well. All will pass. Once in a while it’s okay to do this; but if you over indulge everyday then it become a chronic problem.
Any stress can intensify symptoms, as well as other things such as heat, hormones, or even forgetting to eat. I know from experience what causes my symptoms to temporarily worsen, and I know how to manage to call them down.
Aggravating and annoying? Yes. Cause for worry or calling the doctor? No.
I’m still extra fatigued and not quite my “normal” self after that long day I had. But it was worth over indulging and I will do it again.