Is It Just Me?

Sometimes hats give me headaches.

Sometimes ponytails do, too. Or did, when I had long hair. Possibly will again now that my hair is longer than it’s been in well over a decade.

Does anyone else ever have weird things go on with their bodies, but because it happens all the time to you, you find yourself wondering if you’re the only one, or if people just don’t mention it in casual conversation?

Like, not weird like a third nipple or extra digit or anything like that. Just odd aches and pains or other sensations that seem to have no obvious root cause. I remember reading a book when I was younger wherein a character – I think a teenaged boy – walked down a hallway at night, and reference was made to his toes popping. My toes totally used to pop all the time – possibly still do, but either not as much or I’ve just gotten so used to it that I don’t even notice anymore – but that was the only reference I’d ever come across in the general public. I don’t even know why they popped so much back then – is it a growing thing, or something? I don’t even know. As far as I could tell, until I read that book, I was the only person on the planet with toes that made popping/cracking sounds as I walked. It was just never spoken of before, nor since, really, whether it was weird and unique or not.

I’m thinking it’s a pretty common thing, though, if it was mentioned briefly in a book.

I’ve felt for a long time that bodies are just plain odd, and that there is still more that we don’t know about them than we do. Or maybe “odd” is the wrong word. Maybe I mean more complicated and unpredictable. It’s kind of remarkable that we all look basically alike, as a species, and yet there are literally billions of differences. Maybe even countless differences. We don’t all grow the same, parts don’t all work the same, things don’t all develop the same way, and then there are all the things that can go wrong throughout the course of a lifetime.

Having MS has introduced a whole new equation into my relationship with my body, too. For the most part now, when something different happens – some new pain, tingling sensation, numbness, vision problems – whatever the issue is that’s been introduced, my first thought is that it must just be an MS thing. For the most part, it’s all little things, temporary things, but my go-to explanation is MS.

Which…hopefully I don’t dismiss any symptoms of something else as just an MS thing! That has the potention for badness. So far, however, I’m usually floating between “it’s an MS thing”, or “it’s a my wacky body thing”, or sometimes even “it’s happened for as long as I can remember, so it might just be my body, or maybe I had MS the whole time and it’s always been an MS thing”. Who knows, really?

It’s funny, though, when a thread of commonality is found with another person, the sensation of relief, and humour and just momentary connection that’s made in that instant of recognition. That vocalization of “oh my God ME TOO!” holds so much emotion and connection in just a few simple words, and creates a bond of similarity between two otherwise different beings.

I have a ton of such little things, aside from the popping toes. Most of them involve pain, because that’s more noticeable and easier to remember when blogging. Examples include: if someone makes me laugh while I am eating, I invariably end up with a piercing pain at the back of my jaw – where my upper and lower jaws hinge together, actually. Like, horrible stabbing pain. Sometimes when I am walking I’ll suddenly be struck by pain so awful I wonder if my toes have actually all broken right off, and are just kept on my foot by skin and my shoes. In my mind, I picture them flapping uselessly, and painfully, in my sock. It’s so bad I end up with a pronounced limp until the feeling passes. Often for no reason I can think of, a stitch of pain in my side or across my chest will hit hard and fast, and be so bad that I can not draw a full breath until it passes, as well.

In the not painful but super annoying category, I sometimes experience a sudden ringing in either one ear or both, and usually it’s so loud that I actually can’t hear much of anything for a few seconds. It always fades quickly, though. A drive-by ringing. And for as long as I can remember, whenever I’ve had a certain level of nightmare, a muscle somewhere in my mid-lower back goes into spasm and not only wakes me up, but takes a concerted effort to calm down enough that I can stop my back from arching. I long ago began to equate that sensation with terror, so even when I’ve gotten a massage before, I’ve had to tell the person to stay away from that area of my back entirely. I can’t tell exactly where the muscle is, and by the time I realize it’s close, the muscle has been triggered and it feels all manner of not good. So brutal.

Has anyone else noticed that it’s very difficult to hear anything when you’re yawning – almost like being under water? Or is that just me?

I’m telling you – bodies are weird! And living inside them is an adventure and a half, whether we asked for it, or not! And we’re all doing it differently, with tiny sparks of common experience thrown in for good measure. I think we even experience feelings in different ways, just as we all process information and the world around us from differing perspectives.

And there are billions of us. No wonder we can’t get along, so hung up on difference as we are. The human race needs more “OMG ME TOO” moments in our days, methinks.

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