* Snowed In/Balance – 2-9-19

** Sign up below for Scooterjon’s monthly newsletter! Thanks for reading!

Winter finally hit North Dakota last week where I now live. When it snows alot plows/skids go into parking lots and move the snow. They pile it up high wherever they can. As I sit in my warm apartment there is two feet of snow on the patio outside my door. There is a ten foot high pile of snow about ten feet from the patio. If I look in the distance I can just see the top of another snow pile. That one must be at least 12 feet high. Unless I drive somewhere in my van I will be apartment bound for the rest of winter.

I don’t work outside my home so being shut in is not that big of a deal. However, I do enjoy taking my scooter down the street to visit different stores the rest of the year. There is a pizza shop, a Dairy Queen, a convenience store, etc. What I’m excited about is a brand new Dollar Store that just opened in late fall. Everything thing in there is just a dollar!

My son Matt and I use to have alot of fun with those snow piles! When he was ages 6-11 I used to pick him up daily at 3:30pm at his grade school. Matt was fearless climbing those tall snow piles. I used to time him climbing. Matt could climb to the to of a 10-12 foot snow pile in 6 seconds. Then he would dive head first to the bottom of the snow pile. I joined him climbing a couple of times but mainly I would just scoot around the snow piles and we would throw snowballs at each other. I always felt badly because I couldn’t climb the snow piles as much as I wanted to because of my MS.

The temperature today is -3 degrees with a windchill of -8 degrees. Earlier in the week it was -20 degrees with wind chills at least -50 degrees below zero. These are dangerous levels so you need to be careful when you go outside. You can freeze an uncovered body part in 2 to 5 minutes. This is a pretty typical winter for upper Midwest in the USA. The hardest part in ND is the wind. It can be -5 with no wind and it will seem warm.
=============================
Causes of balance problems

Good balance needs many different parts of your body to work together effectively.

It may be helpful to think of these different parts of balance being grouped into:

input
processing
output

MS can affect all three parts of the balance system. Information your brain receives and the replies it sends out can be late, incomplete or misleading. The messages being passed inside your brain can also be disrupted which affects the way it processes balance information.

Other causes of balance problems

Some symptoms of MS can have an impact on balance, for example, fatigue or muscle spasms or stiffness.

Finding ways of managing those symptoms may in turn help you to manage problems with balance.

Relapses –
If your balance problems are caused by a relapse or they get worse during a relapse, then treating the relapse may improve the problem. Treatment with high dose steroids can usually help to speed up recovery from a relapse.

Rise in body temperature –
Your balance might also be affected if your body temperature rises. This is sometimes known as a ‘pseudo relapse’ because it mimics the symptoms of a relapse. These pseudo relapses can be treated by treating whatever’s causing your raised temperature such as an infection.
===========================
Scooterjon says – I can’t remember when my balance was affected by my MS. I suppose my balance was worse during exacerbations. Since I quit standing and walking in 2011 I don’t have to worry too much about balance as far as walking goes.

Nowadays, one place where I’m seeing balance problems is when I drop something on the floor which is quite often. If I’m on my scooter and have to pick something up I’m very careful not too lean too far over my scooter. My current scooter is very lightweight and will tip over easily.

I can be sitting on my couch and drop something and I can no longer just bend over and pick it up. If I lean forward too far I will go ass over teakettle and fall on the face. If a piece of candy falls on the floor two feet away I have to get my grabber out to pick it up. I dropped a piece of paper at my feet the other day while sitting on my couch. I had to put one hand out to lean on my coffee table for balance and then I could reach for the piece of paper with my free hand. It takes longer to do some of these things and since I don’t like falling I’m extremely careful! That’s all I got for this post.

Scooterjon