My wonky, mixed-up, multiple sclerosis brain

Brain Fog: That moment when you confuse people, places and things with apples, oranges and grapes. It could be something as simple as starting the coffee pot without the coffee in it or as crazy as forgetting what you are saying while you are saying it, not remembering why you went into a room with apparent purpose and gusto, or forgetting to rinse the shampoo out of your hair. Yes, I have done all of those things.

Once I had a huge brain fog moment. I fell asleep around 4:30 PM after I climbed into bed for a late nap and was awakened an hour and a half later at 6:00 PM because of a loud booming noise out my window. When I turned and looked at the clock, I didn’t see the “PM” part and thought it was morning and that I had slept through the night because I had been so tired.

I got up, took my morning meds (afterwards, I checked to make sure nothing bad would have happened because of doing that), got dressed, then drove myself to an appointment.

I remembered thinking how odd it was that morning rush hour traffic seemed super light but had not yet connected that to my time mixup. When I pulled into the parking lot for my appointment it was basically empty at that hour. I just shrugged it off as my imagination, got out of the van, went to the front door and of course it was locked.

It was then that I pulled out my phone thinking by chance I looked at the clock wrong, and sure enough I did. My appointment wasn’t until morning. I laughed so hard once I realized what had happened, texted a friend about my huge blunder and drove home with a smile on my face.

That was a first for me, to confuse time so badly without realizing something was wrong with my discernment. I’m sure you have some doozies as well. MS is sneaky and plays with our brains, muddling up thoughts, words and life itself.

Choose to laugh in those moments in order to ease the discomfort of doing something that others find silly, out of place, or wrong. It’s a whole lot better than crying.

I hope I made you smile today. I give all the credit to my wonky, mixed-up multiple sclerosis brain.

MS Gets on My NervesMS WarriorMS Superhero


9 replies
  1. Rodger Ashton-Smith
    Rodger Ashton-Smith says:

    Thanks Penelope I think we all get some thing like that and the best thing to do s laugh at ourselves about that.

  2. Kathy
    Kathy says:

    I’m 59, have primary progressive MS, and I teach grade 4 full-time. Fatigue and brain fog are my two worst issues, but at least I can make the brain fog work in the classroom. I’m a literacy specialist, so it can be very dismaying when I can tell someone everything about a word (number of syllables, first vowel sound, what it means) but I can’t come up with the word! One day in my classroom I said, “Ms. H is so tired! I can hardly wait to get home an put on my bananas.” When the kids started laughing, I asked why, and they repeated back what I’d said. I had them identify which word caused my sentence not to make sense as well as the word that was actually needed. Teacher win! They loved it and thought I’d done it on purpose. It’s harder when I’m having a conversation and have to get others to try to guess my word. More recently, I find that I have sensory issues pertaining to sound, and now I’m not certain I can put in the six more years until retirement…..but I can’t afford not to, either. After all of this rattling on, I want to say thank you for being so transparent with your struggles – meaning everyone, including those who reply – as it helps me feel understood and a bit less crazy to know that others go through these things, too.

  3. Bunny
    Bunny says:

    thank you for always opening up and your humor. i’m more like the girl whowrote the book “coffee in my cereal”. she has MS. the book rocks!!!! like her, i put milk in the mug cabinet, clean/empty pots in the fridge, bars of new soap in my dresser drawers ect…. at first i cried then got angry. now when i open anything, i look at it as a possibly finding a treasure (surprise)! LOL
    oh i forgot the best one!!!!!!!
    boxed or frozen food in the washer!
    yup, we live in a split. downstairs in the basement is our “pantry”(it came with built in shelves) and we also have a freezer. i’ll be in my own little world and load the washer with food.
    luckily, never closed the lid or turned it on—- lol. sending big hugs and many blessings. xo

  4. Amber
    Amber says:

    When I’m super exhausted (because of school or work, when I did have work or school) I would lay down for a nap, wake up an hour or two later in a panic because I don’t know what day or what time it is.

  5. Chris
    Chris says:

    For some time I was able to “mask” the fog, but it caused stress in my job working my calling as a pastor. I’ve retired and stress is nonexistent so the brain fog is better & does not effect others. Still gives me giggles most days when I get things mixed up, but now it impacts less people!! Thanks for your vulnerability!! Blessings!

  6. Peggy
    Peggy says:

    LOL.. oh yes Thank Goodness i have my hubby’s help on this And the fact that he’s done the making coffee without a pot to help! We have a joke on this. When 1st MRI results were looked at with us Dr said that i have spots they call Black Holes…so we’ll say that thought went into one!

  7. Stephen Harris
    Stephen Harris says:

    I can choose to laugh at myself, but when I’ve arranged with a driver to get me to an appointment, only to get there on the wrong day, it impacts more than just me. I’ve completely forgotten appointments and don’t realize it until the doctor’s office calls to ask where I am. One doc has told me she has to charge me the full rate – not just the copay – when I miss an an appointment. That kind of brain fog has a ripple effect. And that is hard to laugh off.

  8. Dawn Foss
    Dawn Foss says:

    Oh can I relate! I fell asleep in the recliner, woke up a few hours later and went rushing to the pool for my 8:30 AM water aerobics class….at 8:30 PM and said to a woman at the pool – wow. I’ve never seen this many people at the pool this early. I thought it didn’t open to people other than the aerobics class till 10. She looked at me like I had six heads, told me what time it really was, and the next day she told everyone in class what I had done. We all got a good laugh out of it.


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