January was definitely a no-luck month for me. First there was that terrible cough that prevented me from sleeping for an entire week. Then my car was scheduled to go to the shop for some maintenance that wasn’t supposed to last more than two days. As it turned out, it lasted four days. Then I picked it up, and 10 days later it broke down (I couldn’t turn the wheel) so back it went to the shop. This time, the car was in there for a week and a half.
So why am I writing a post about my car? I mean, isn’t more ecological to ride the public transports or carpooling with a nice coworker?
Because when you have a debilitating illness like MS having a car makes a HUGE difference. Let’s see:
I live in Lisbon but I work in an industrial suburb some miles away. By public transport it takes a little over an hour to get to my job. By car, it takes me 20 minutes. I can’t tell you how much those extra 40 minutes in bed mean to me and my fatigue.
The public transport to that suburb doesn’t go around very often. That means if you miss one, you have to wait for at least half an hour for another. How stressful is that, starting the day knowing you’re going to be half an hour late for work?
For someone who takes medications that can suppress the immune system, being inside a public transport in the middle of January, where everyone is sick and coughing and sneezing, can make you not even want to breathe. I was recovering from a cold but felt my throat start to tickle again.
Not to mention the effect that disturbing your routine like that can have on your brain. During the weekend I move around Lisbon so there aren’t that many problems with buses and subway. But still, depending on where I wanted to go, I had to look up on the internet what was the most direct, fastest, cheapest transport and its schedules. I wrote everything down and by the end of the process I was feeling so mentally tired as if I’d been planning a trip to the other side of the world. I almost preferred to stay home. Almost. I’m tougher than that.
I know if I didn’t have a car this would have no secrets for me. But as I’m not used to it, it took a toll on my energy (and also on my wallet, as I spent A LOT on bus, subway and even taxi).
I think people in general are at a loss when something they take for granted is taken away from them, but when you deal with brain fog on a regular basis it can become overwhelming. I swear at first my brain almost froze. I didn’t know what to do. Then I came up with solutions, but thinking and planning was hard.
It’s terrible to realize that you have a disease where thinking sometimes doesn’t feel like a natural thing, like something you do all the time and it’s pretty straightforward. The bright side is that stepping out of my comfort zone probably forged some new neural pathways in my brain. See, brain, now you have more places to send your signals to. Yay.
Still, I was so so happy when I got my car back. My baby. My precious. 😀
And at last I was happy that January was finally over, as it definitely wasn’t the best year start that I had. But then, February 1st, I got an e-mail from college saying one of the subjects I was enrolled in the second semester was cancelled. This particular subject was the reason I applied to that college, as other colleges with similar master programs don’t teach that subject.
So here I am again, asking the fog in my brain to please go away so I can decide what to do. And wondering if February will be so exhausting as January, and if 2016 will be so challenging as the last four years.