It’s been a while since my last Foggy blog, coping with chronic Covid-19 on top of my usual M.E since March has certainly been a tougher slog than usual. Briefly, I am not recovered and still have lung/chest/rib pain and an excruciating ‘new’ headache that fluctuates. Blood clots are a concern so aspirin (low dose) is currently my new best friend. Pesky fluctuations suck don’t they?! Many other Covid-19 symptoms that I have experienced personally are overlapping with my pre-existing M.E symptoms. Issues such as cognitive impairment, dizziness, vertigo, fatigue, PEM have worsened or changed frequency since March but I am assuming that is because the virus caused my M.E to worsen rather than adding a completely new layer of a different chronic illness. My M.E-affected body is definitely struggling more than usual at the moment, hopefully, the impact of having to deal with this additional virus will lessen in the near future…….paws crossed!
Today’s topic is brain fog, or more accurately brain DENSE fog.
Historically, the M.E patient community has described brain fog as having your brain filled with cotton wool and it being very difficult to get a thought out. ‘Cotton wool’ gives the impression of a light and airiness about the cognitive impairment. Recently, brain fog has felt very heavy and impenetrable. Almost as if the cotton wool has got wet or is packed in very tightly within a small space. During particularly bad periods of brain fog, I am experiencing a new kind of aching inside my skull that accompanies the sense of ‘what am I doing?’ confusion. As a ‘mild’ M.E patient, this is a step-change for me. I’m obviously concerned that my level of severity has worsened but I won’t know for sure whether it has until my body has a chance to catch it’s breath and re-evaluate.
It always baffles me when I see fit and healthy people using the term ‘brain fog’ to describe occasionally and temporarily being lost for words or forgetful. In the same way that typos are inappropriately excused as being a ‘dyslexic’ moment by someone who isn’t dyslexic. There is a world of difference between what fit and healthy people occasionally experience and what the chronically sick go through on a very regular basis. We don’t have much to call our own, back off, and leave us a little bit of identifying language.
This use of our language made me realise back in April, that Covid19 was becoming chronic. The use of ‘brain fog’ by the then ‘long haulers’ gave an insight into the damage being caused by Covid19. I initially wondered if ‘brain fog’ was being used because, as I said before, fit and healthy people use it to describe occasional forgetfulness, or if they had seen it being used by the pre-existing chronic illness community and could relate. Either way, it is becoming clearer that some of the ‘Long Covid’ patients are going to develop M.E (or something very….very similar) and it would seem that brain fog is present in people now chronically sick as a result of having Covid19.
As the title of this blog suggests, I am currently describing my brain’s fog as dense. Hopefully, like most aspects of weather, this too will pass and clearer days are ahead!
Sally and Foggy (OBVIOUSLY)