Friday, 8 February 2013

What Is It?

My upper arms are tired this morning. So are my wrists and hands. My fingers ache. They feel like they don't really want to type anything. My shoulders are sore too, especially near my neck. So what is this? Is this ALS or is this just one of those days? Am I simply stiff because I am stiff, or is it something more sinister?

That's the trouble with where I am at these days. I simply cannot tell what is really happening to me. The way this works is that I go along, thinking things are going along, then there is an event. Something happens where I notice a new level of loss, something happens where I realize I have changed.

Having trouble at the keyboard, having sore arms, having achy fingers; these are things that happen to everyone. Sometimes it's a change in the weather; it certainly happened to me when I was on the coast of BC. Sometimes it's simply a bad night's sleep, although I think I slept fairly well last night. Sometimes it's just the aging process; I am certainly a candidate for that. But sometimes, and sometimes more than others for me lately, it is ALS.

I can still pick up my coffee cup. It just seems to be a bit heavier this morning. I can still type, and I type faster than most people I know. I just feel it more. Not a lot more, just more. I just feel a bit weaker. Things feel harder to do, but only the teeniest bit.

Getting dressed was a tiny bit harder this morning. Or was it? You see, these changes are small enough, and normal enough as we age, that they are easy to see as something else. ALS is called the "great imitator". The reason most people, me included, take so long in getting diagnosed is that we think it is something else. Perhaps it is a sore back, or perhaps it is just getting older, or maybe I pinched a nerve, or maybe it's arthritis or some other age related condition.

The rate of progression is slow. You don't see it until an "event". You don't see it until it hits you hard, with something that pushes you to see that there really is a change, an unusual change. When the event happens, when the change is real, you still can't see it easily. You still hope it is something else. You still want to pretend.

So what is it this morning?


  1. maybe an investment in Dragan Naturally Speaking is in order for these type of days?

  2. Not yet, Anna, but at some point it will be necessary. I can still type like a million monkeys at a million keyboards.