It's so easy, when you have had MS as a companion in your life for several years, to blame everything that happens health wise on the misbehaving beast. But I have wondered more and more as I slide down the backside of the hill on that slippery slope to Old Age, if maybe some of this stuff would have come along anyhow.
For instance, my hips give me grief. Not the size of them, because fortunately I'm not overweight at 120 lbs. and 5'3" tall, but the creakiness (for lack of a better way to describe it). I get up in the morning and with my first Frankenstein, stiff-legged steps, I try to shush my joints from waking the entire neighborhood as I snap, crackle, pop my way to the bathroom.
I blamed it on the MS for causing me to need the steroids since every time I am on them I have incredible joint pain as I am tapering off the prednisone. My last bout was in May of '07 and it took forEVER for my hips to let me sleep through the night again. I thought I was doing fine -- I even spoke with my PCP and we mutually agreed that I could forgo the X-rays he had written me an order for since I was not in any more pain.
Then we went to Georgia at Christmas to see the closest thing to in-laws that I have -- my boyfriend (of 13 years)'s parents. It was downright cold up there where it's closer to a non-tropical kind of climate than north Florida is. Plus I slept in a strange bed that felt suspiciously like a cereal box full of cement with a sheet over it.
After 2 nights of agonizing torture, I was left waddling around wishing I'd brought the cane. We always go up there and wish we'd brought something you would think no person in their right mind would leave home without... like our son's nebulizer (breathing machine for asthma) the last time we went up. Turns out the "in-laws" had a couple new dogs and our son, whose asthma has been dormant since forever, started wheezing. We cut that trip short and high tailed it back to Florida.
Anyhow, here I was waddling around and explaining that my hips act up now and then due to the MS and so it's just something I'll deal with and get over, no doubt. The 3 hour ride home didn't help matters. I was so stiff I was practically stuck in a "sitting" position for days after that. It was a full week before the pain subsided.
Now I have figured out, to an exact science, the position my body must be in during sleep. Almost a fetal position with a pillow between the knees to keep legs aligned with hips, and always starting out on my right side. No matter that I wake up twisted at the waist, pillow on the floor, one knee in the air and the other leg flung out to my side at 90 degrees. Whatever...it works for me.
But as I creak around the house in the mornings I often wonder if the noise, pain and stiffness should really be treated as a product of my MS or is it just Old Age. For some stupid reason if I blame it on the MS it makes me feel better. I like having one fear to face. I'm not ready to face Old Age on top of everything else....there's no cure for IT either. Well, technically there is, but it's the same cure for MS and that's not an option at this moment.