Friday, 10 December 2010

Cog Fog - how do you explain it?

One of the joys of life after "liberation" is not having to live with cog fog (loss of cognitive function) any more. This feature of  MS is one of the invisible symptoms of MS, yet is responsible for many people having to give up work and start claiming disability benefits. I was often asked to describe what it was like, and I found it hard, not least because I was in the grip of cog fog myself.

Here I am looking back on it and still finding it hard to describe to anyone who has not had this most frustrating of conditions. One way was to liken it to the fuzzy head you get with a bad cold or flu, but I find now, having such a cold, it is not a good analogy.

Yes, my head can feel stuffed with cotton wool , but at least I am aware that "I" am still in there. With cog fog,often "I" was no longer able to be sure where "I" was. Like some fairytale character, I would wander through dense forests, through great blizzards of thick snow, searching for the castle where I and my life had been hidden. Or I could wade through waist high swamps that seemed to fill my skull, looking for the right word or phrase, only to hold my "prize" up in the air, and find it is not the one I sought.

Hence the "game" of MS charades, as we flail around wildly, trying to indicate what it is we are seeking. Or the strange language our close friends and family learn to interpret, getting the milk from the fridge when we ask them to get the cat from the washing machine. All the while retaining sufficient self awareness to realise that something is wrong, is it any wonder that people with MS feel frustration and anger and loss of self as well as bodily function?

So there is a common feature of post operative reports given by people on the various fora and websites. "I have my life back". "I have my self back"

There has been some debate about whether or not "the liberation procedure" is a sufficiently scientific label for the variations on venous angioplasty being carried out. But from the point of view of this person,  I have been set free to live my life again.

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