Feeling the cold vs. feeling [un]comfortably numb

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2008/10/10 03:01 -04:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2008/10/10/8993742.aspx


About as off-topic as a blog can be!

One of the interesting things about going out to bars is the opportunity to have somewhat undirected conversations with random people.

I say undirected because I don't have any specific intent in mind, no particular goal.

I say random because one never knows what the conversation will be about. It may belie the prior point about undirected but I admit I want to be if not seem interesting enough that the conversation might continue. sometimes I succeed. :-)

It was on my birthday. It was actually the evening of the 26th but it was after midnight, so technically it was now my birthday.

The evening out had been nice and now some of the people in our intrepid group were waiting in line for some really noxious sounding confection like salmon sprinkled with Ebola or Crystal Drano margaritas or maybe it was hot dogs with cream cheese or sour cream or something like that.

I am not sure which it was; they all sound pretty disgusting to me.

It was kind of cold but I was wearing shorts anyway.

Some assume it is a bit of denial about the summer being on its way out. But they are wrong.

And there are others who assume kind of Lisa Brummel wannabe thing given how widely reported her "shorts in the winter" thing is.

Others have heard me mention that sometimes I lack temperature sensation (a somewhat rare MS manifestation involving connections in my sympathetic nervous system). But they are wrong too.

Anyway, I am not in line for the disgusting food, but instead about 15-20 feet away, while my companions wait in line for the booming post-1am weenie business.

Next to me is a very striking woman and her friend; they are waiting out of the line because their boyfriends both have similarly bad taste in late night snacks.

Perhaps it is unfair to describe the two as a very striking woman and her friend; they are both very attractive. But the one I am calling striking was probably wearing the least amount of clothing of the two, and (in the words of my friend Allyson) in describing her later, really appeared to be just ass and legs, but both well-formed. Our friend Patrick's comment was that she had some great shoes, from which we concluded that he was trying to emphasize in front of his girlfriend that he was not ogling the pretty girl. Though this may have overshot the mark since it was the girl he was going out with who pointed out the ass/legs thing, so she probably would have understood. :-)

Anyway, she is talking to her friend and commenting that it is way too cold to be standing out here on her birthday.

My ears perk up about our shared occasion so I ease into the conversation and mention it is my birthday too (well, it turns out hers was the day before so it was just ending whereas mine had just started).

Amy (which I discovered was her name) was looking at my shorts, I could tell she was curious why I was dressed that way given the temperature.

I mean, she knew why she was dressed the way she was (this point made her friend laugh), but what was my excuse?

"Well," I explained, "have you ever had someone very close to you break up with you, and you are in that phase where you can't imagine you will ever feel as good about anyone else again? and you feel pain, which of course is not fun, but you feel so drained that you know that if not for the pain you'd be feeling absolutely nothing, so you cling to the pain since it is something at least?"

Her response was "Of course. If I have to break up with him so I don't freeze to death out here, I'll feel that way tomorrow!"

I suspect she was anticipating a description of a breakup story, but I explained how that wasn't the case. "You see, my nervous system is really screwed up these days, so that sometimes I can't feel hot and cold. But right now I do feel cold, and it is such a relief to feel it that I don't mind that it feels cold. My teeth aren't chattering so I know it isn't too awful. And it is a delight to be feeling something!"

Amy was intrigued by this idea and we continued to talking for a few minutes about how she was spending her birthday.

Sometime in there, she even slipped her phone number into my basket, though I didn't realize that until after I was home much later.

Like Patrick, I will just claim I was looking at her shoes at the time. :-)

Soon after the boys had their confections and they all jumped into a cab, with Amy and her friend wishing me happy birthday.

Then my friends came back with their noxious treat and big smiles. Melissa and the rest of them were curious what that was all about.

"What what was all about?" I smile innocently.

So I explained about her birthday, and then confided that I suppose I still have game, in Seattle if not on the East side.

They all laughed at that and then we talked about the shoes thing for the next block or two, which was much less time consuming than explaining the nerve thing again anyway.

But that story about the cold, believe it or not, was actually the whole point I was meaning to talk about. This whole notion of me clinging to that chill, because of how long I dealt with never feeling hot until I was sweating and never feeling cold unless my teeth were chattering. Because sometimes feeling uncomfortable is better than feeling nothing... feeling uncomfortably numb....

 

This blog brought to you by(U+0c28, aka TELUGU LETTER NA)


# John Cowan on 10 Oct 2008 10:15 AM:

Amen, brother.

Once during my Stupid Teenager phase, I found myself feeling psychologically numb, so I decide (for the first and only time) to try cutting my arm.

Guess what?

I then was psychologically numb, only with a pain in my arm.

"Sometimes you ride the barrel [of pain], sometimes it rides you."

# lisa on 28 Oct 2008 2:35 AM:

I am so glad I found your site. Not only is it highly comical, your writing style that is, but it is something I can relate to! I am somewhat new to this! Diagnosed 5 months ago with MS. It after 2am and I have to get up in 5 hrs and I can't sleep which happens a lot lately. I did a search on numbness and cold to see if this is normal and I found you. I can relate. Its nice to feel the cold, but really sucks when a hot bath, socks, a sweater, long pj's still don't do the trick. What's more anoying is that is feels like there is a line down the center of my body so I'm only cold on the right side...which makes dressing difficult. I feel tingling and freezing cold on the right side of my body, left side is totally normal. Bath helps but makes tremors worse. So very annoying. But so happy to find your post and get a laugh out of your story especially the shoes part since I own a shoe store. I always tell my customers how important the shoes are:) ha. Take care and keep writing! It gives the other MSers who can't sleep something to smile about at 2am! Lisa

# Michael S. Kaplan on 29 Oct 2008 2:53 PM:

Hey Lisa,

Hopefully you got to sleep eventually, I have definitely had symptoms keep me up from time to time. It's never fun...

Glad you like the blog! Lately I've been very IBOT-focused, which is because of my MS though not exactly about it. But I do try to write some about our shared condition from time to time. :-)


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