We all learn about our five senses at some point in grade school. Sight, sound, vision, touch, taste. Why don't they teach us about the rest of them? Depending on what research you look at, a human being has up to 21 senses! Our bodies know this from the day we are born. Hopefully we use them to better understand ourself, others and the world around us.
I became aware of some of them only after they were damaged. Multiple Sclerosis affects the nervous system. The nervous system is the happy home of all of those senses. Have you heard of proprioception? It is the sense of where your body, and all its part, are in space. For some people, and not just those with MS, this 'sense' stops working so well. It's not as easy to explain or discuss, if you don't have the word for it to begin with. So you say things like "I just get a bit wobbly" or "I have a hard time getting my foot onto the escalator or moving walkway". Or better yet, you say something like "I will say this only once, and you cannot think I'm crazy okay? And we will never speak of it again, agreed? Okay. Sometimes...I just feel like I'm not quite in my body...sort of...well it's there...but I can't control it exactly...oh never mind..." Any of this sound like you? Do you have mysterious bruises from bumping into things so often you don't even notice anymore? Have you taken a few unexplained tumbles? If so, look it up. Proprioception.
Like I said before, we use all of our senses to understand and interpret the world around us. I am often misinterpreting my world, based on muddled signals from my nervous system and therefore confused senses. I try to compensate. I didn't come up with this clever idea, it just automatically happens. The body is smart.
One recent example of misinterpretation happened at 4am. Understand that I don't sleep so well, some pain issues. Therefore, when I am sound asleep it is extra offensive for me to be awakened.
Cats are nocturnal. I have a cat. I am a cat owner. My partner...well he is a 'cat person'. You all know who you are. There are often new toys, beds, perches, accessories of various sorts being made, by my partner and for the cat. I awoke to the sound of the cat playing with a small blanket left on the floor in the bedroom. Being a nocturnal animal he often has playtime at 4am. Being a woman in my 40's, the first thing I have to do when awakened is go to the bathroom. The bladder waits for no one. I staggered, swerved and veered (proprioception very bad at 4am!) my way to the master bath. The cat continued to frolick and roll in the blanket.
Now another issue that I have is my left eye. My left eye takes about 10 to 15 minutes to wake up (meaning "open") if I don't get enough sleep. It also tries to go to sleep (meaning "closes") after 10pm, which can lead to awkward moments if someone thinks I'm winking at them. But that's another story.
Back to the cat. I stagger, unable to see much, muttering words I won't type, back out of the bathroom. I reach for the blanket and miss (proprioception..hand was not where I thought it was). I stoop very low (to mess with my vestibular sense), grab the blanket and throw it in the hall. Then I spy a toy that the cat is also playing with. I pick it up. It isn't very light at 4am and I stand there, one eye open, gripping the cat toy tight...(Metallica fans?) and I think to myself "Good grief, what sort of toy has he made for the cat now?" I roll it around in my hand for 20 seconds or so. Compensating for lack of vision with my sense of touch! Soft, very soft...'where did he get this furry fabric?' I wonder. Something round and hard. Marbles? Did he fill some furry fabric with marbles? Thermoception kicks in...kind of warm...at this point my intuitive sense sends me a little signal. Just a feeling. A slight feeling of 'something not quite right'. All is not as it seems. Enough of a signal to nudge my logical, rational mind into action. My chronoception (sense of time) moves at a Matrix-like pace as my brain works it out. "It is not a toy!" my mind shouts at me. I drop it. I scream. And for the length of my scream I move my body back into the bathroom, with surprising speed and perfect proprioception!
Yes my friends, the 'toy' was a mouse. Which my partner disposed of, while I washed and re-washed and muttered and screamed like a one-eyed crazy lady.
Luckily, my sense of humor is still in tact! I did not laugh about it for a few weeks. But the truth is- my body, mind and soul are trying to boost my sense of humor. Instinctively. To help me compensate for the misadventures that occur when my other senses are not working so well. So here's to more misinterpretations and misadventures!