Getting Ready for the Day Has Become Pretty Difficult

Getting Ready for the Day Has Become Pretty Difficult

As I have mentioned in the past, I am very routine oriented. Nowadays this helps me remember to do everything that I need to do but even before Multiple Sclerosis (MS) came into my life I was a creature of habit. This was particularly true about my mornings; I am definitely a morning person and so I have always had a pretty concrete morning routine. But lately a lot of the things that I have always done in the morning upon waking up has become especially difficult and therefore exhausting so I wanted to go over how MS has impacted my morning ritual as I am sure many can relate to this.

Challenges when showering

The very first thing I do when I wake up is hop into the shower where I let the cool (sometimes even cold) water help wake me up. Many people with MS probably know that the simple act of showering can be both challenging and even a little terrifying as well; just read Devin Garlit’s well-written article on the perilous subject. All I will say is that for me? Well, my balance really sucks so there have been quite a few moments where the thought, “oh no, they are going to find me dead on the floor with no clothes on, oh no, not like this, not like this!” has raced through my mind as I desperately tried to reorient myself in such a way that I would stay on my feet. Another issue that I will randomly experience is being unable to tell what the temperature of the water is right away. Cold water feels hot and hot water feels like… cold water? Or liquid electricity but that one has become pretty rare for me now. Either way, the problem there is that getting burned is really easy so I had to learn to identify the weird sensations I would get as actually being hot and cold.

Vision problems while shaving

Now my least favorite thing in the world of getting ready for the day; shaving. I used to just shave in the shower every single day but as I have slowly become less able to tell where my body parts are in relation to each other, that has become way too difficult. So then I started shaving in front of the mirror but guess what? Between my nystagmus and my oscillopsia it is really hard to see the detail of what I am doing since everything appears to be moving. But even that is not so bad compared to another visual issue I have; when I try to look too far to the left or too far down my visual symptoms get violently worse even appearing to double despite one eye being closed! Not to mention if I look too far down I am looking under the edge of my glasses where I can’t see anything no matter how I adjust my glasses (thanks optic neuritis). This makes me not want to shave very often since I do not own a large series of mirrors from an Egyptian pyramid that if all positioned properly would allow me to see the bottom of my chin/neck without contorting my head and my glasses.

Fear of contact lenses

Oh that reminds me, my eyes! When I was first diagnosed with MS I started wearing glasses and at first I was ok with that. In time though, I started noticing little issues (like not being able to look all the way to the left and right or all the way up or down because my eyes would then be trying to see outside the rim of my glasses) that really started bugging me so I tried to start wearing contacts but while they eliminated the peripheral vision issue I quickly realized I was now faced with a few new issues. First of all, I grew up seeing my Dad wear contacts and listening to him talk about some of the “horror stories” associated with them like how one time the lens broke while he fell asleep wearing it, piece of it went behind his eye, and he had to go to urgent care to have it removed. I am sure contacts have come a long ways since then and it’s probably not so much of an issue anymore but I was always afraid that I would fall asleep wearing them and then something like that would happen and obviously, with MS fatigue, falling asleep at random times is to be expected. My second issue was that they were great for seeing far and doing everyday things but when I tried to sit down and read I could not see as clearly. Maybe my prescription just sucked? I don’t know but I started developing issues with ataxia and intention tremors so whenever I tried to focus on doing something carefully I would get a quick muscle spasm. As much as I love poking my eyeball really hard and dropping my contact lens into the sink it just became too difficult so back to glasses for me.

Lacking the dexterity to brush my teeth

OK, I got a little sidetracked there, so showering, shaving, and then… brushing my teeth! This one drives me nuts because my fine motor skills and dexterity are not at all what they used to be. So simply holding my toothbrush while I brush and manipulating it around my teeth (dexterity) is a little challenging. And the brushing motion (left, right, and in a tiny circular motion) itself is a challenge depending on which side I am doing (left or right). I do use an electric toothbrush now which I feel really helps but you still have to move it in a brushing motion so the whole “brushing your teeth” part of my morning has really become a messy process.

Contemplating buzzing my hair off

Last but not least is “doing my hair”. First of all, I have almost always had really short hair because it was easy to manage; just a little gel and I am ready to go out. But after one of my last MS treatments, I started losing a lot of hair in specific spots so I decided to let it all grow out a bit so that maybe it would be less visible while it grew back. Well, I finished that treatment a little over a year ago and so far it’s not really coming back in so that idea pretty much failed and now I just have so much hair that I have to battle to try to look presentable. It’s pretty exhausting after everything else I just mentioned so most days I just wear a hat. No effort required. In fact, I am contemplating just buzzing it all off because, since I pretty much wear a hat every day, I wouldn’t look any different to anyone only then I would probably feel way more comfortable (no messy hair) and my mornings would be a lot easier. I hate having this much hair, it’s “too much work” when you are already exhausted from taking that shower, trying to shave, and brushing your teeth.

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Comments

View Comments (11)
  • potter
    1 year ago

    I only shower 2 to 3 times a week, I have very dry skin and my doctor told me not to shower until I have to. My legs start to go numb in the shower, I don’t feel like I am going to fall but numbness starts out as tingling and then painful and finally numb with a hint of pain. So I am always glad to get out of the shower, I can’t figure out how just a little semi warm water can do this to me. I am going to have my husband install one of those fold down bamboo bath seats in our shower. If I shower I am not dressed and fully ready for the day until noon. I do my exercises and some paper work so my morning isn’t entirely wasted. My husband is retiring in a year I can see a upcoming battle of morning schedules. Potter

  • Matt Allen G author
    1 year ago

    I think shower chairs are underutilized in the MS community, they can be such a huge help

  • patrice59
    1 year ago

    I’m impressed that you do so much every day! I also have qualms about getting into and out of the shower. Showering twice a week means less mental concern. It’s not like I get hot, sweaty or dirty… I used to wear contacts and have found them fiddly. It’s partly the MS and partly getting older. This is not a cheap option, but I had LASIK last summer and it is awesome. My morning and evening routines are so much simpler, plus I can see where I am going as soon as I open my eyes.

  • Matt Allen G author
    1 year ago

    Well, keep in mind that I am 27 haha… I should be able to do A LOT more. But I do as much as I can when I can (without overdoing it)

  • Azjackie
    1 year ago

    I completely understand getting ready for the day is difficult. It takes at least an hour for me.

    I think you should do whatever makes your life easiest. An electric shaver used while seated comfortably sounds like a good option. I understand it won’t give as close a shave but if you think about it testerone produces a 12 o’clock shadow anyway.

    I say shave your head. I’ve never heard it as painful sorry for their pain. I’ve heard itchy and cold. We are entering Winter maybe hold off until warmer weather. Cold weather is hard on your heart with your head shaved.

    My friend wears an old t-shirt while brushing her teeth. That way she can dribble on it and wipe her face with it keeping herself and the room clean. Laundry is easier than house cleaning.

    I think as victims of MS we survive by making things easy for ourselves. I remember even before this punishment I made things easier for myself. At work making formulas and spreadsheets. At home setting a day of the week every week to mow the lawn.

    Give yourself a break. Even without MS you would look for ways to simplify.

  • Matt Allen G author
    1 year ago

    Yes, I always look for ways to simplify. And honestly, I don’t shave as often as I would like. I hate facial hair but I just don’t have the energy to shave/use electric shaver (which I have) and I did just buzz all my hair off. I don’t know that I am ready to actually shave it just yet but yeah… Hair sucks in SoCal anyway when you are trying to stay cool haha

  • bethybright
    1 year ago

    Um…yeh. I get this so very very much. It’s the thing I dread doing most. I’m impressed you somehow manage to do it daily! I’m ashamed to admit how often I force myself into the shower. It’s just a day killer for me…and I don’t skip into the shower…ever. 🙂 I barely skip anywhere at all. LOL

  • Matt Allen G author
    1 year ago

    I don’t ENJOY it but it often helps shock me awake (cold water) which makes getting my day started a tad easier

  • Schoofness
    1 year ago

    Don’t shave your head! I am 43 and three years ago, I shaved my head due to a lice infestation at our house brought by guests to our home. My head hurt so bad for about 3 months as the hair slowly grew back. I will never, ever do that again! I am a woman, but still, I don’t think that it should hurt like that. It felt like I had pins poking me in my head. I didn’t have any bugs, but just the thought of having bugs in my hair was so gross to me, and I didn’t want to have to deal with it – just too exhausting, but this remedy was not the right choice. LOL

  • Matt Allen G author
    1 year ago

    so long as I can avoid it I will because I WAS thinking about that, how it must feel all pokey like 1 or 2 weeks after

  • Toledo34287
    1 year ago

    You have MS. I admire you for just hopping anywhere!!!( Shower)

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