Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Feelings....Whoa Whoa Whoa, Feelings.....

I've always been a touchy feely kind of person. When talking with friends, it's not out of the ordinary for me to touch their hand or arm, and hugs are always in abundance with greetings and farewells. And of course, like many people, I am drawn to touch things that appear soft. Actually, touch continues to be a way for me to learn about what I see.

When I was 10, we went to midnight mass on Christmas Eve. Being 10, I was up way past my bedtime. We got there a little late; there was only standing room in the church. I was standing right behind a woman wearing a fur coat of some sort, and of course, couldn't resist touching it. And fell asleep leaning against her with my face buried in the coat. Mmmmm....so soft.

The most horrifying thing for me in the months after I was first diagnosed was discovering that I couldn't feel anything on the right side of my body. Pain, softness, temperature; all those things didn't register. Which was convenient when my heel got caught in a heavy sound proof door and when I sliced open my thumb on a can, both cuts drawing blood. I was reminded of people with Hansen's Disease, leprosy, who have to maintain a vigilance about their bodies in order to avoid injury. Leprosy destroys peripheral nerves and leaves the sufferer open to infection because injuries aren't felt.

So for a couple of months, my ability to feel was impaired. The feeling began to come back and it was painful. Clothing was painful. I would do anything to avoid people touching the right side of my body, so I used a cane with my right arm to keep people away from that side. As bad as the pain was, it meant that feeling was returning so I didn't really mind it. Not having any feeling was worse than any pain I could feel.

Bees are one of the things I want to touch. They look so fuzzy, they must be soft to touch. But have you ever tried to touch a bee? They're not really into that. But I've done it a few times. Once when a bee was soaked from rain and other times when the temperatures were cold enough to make them sleepy and inactive.

At this time of year, many plants have gone to seed and some of those seeds are amazingly soft to touch.

Woolly bear caterpillars are in abundance now too, and they're soft.

And then there's the woolly aphid. Like other aphids, they live in colonies, tended to by ants for their honeydew, and camofluaged to look like mold. But if you look closely enough, you can see the bits of "wool", which is really wax-like filaments, moving as the insect moves. Sadly, my movie of it won't load so a still pic will have to suffice.

I discovered that even fruit flies have hair....but they're too small to touch and feel without squishing them.



Maggie said...

I love a post that I can relate to so much! 'Feeling' is a hugely underrated sense. At one stage, I had to actually ask my husband not to touch me unexpectedly from behind. I couldn't feel it, except for a ghostly sensation, like a goose walking over my grave.
Thankfully, it has improved since then and he's allowed to pinch me on the bottom again, lol.
But my hands are still not 100% I can feel fine most of the time, but it's not as acute as it once was, if that makes any sense. I miss it. I remarked once that I hope my eyesight doesn't go because I'll never cut braille.

Diane J Standiford said...

I miss touching my partner's soft skin. So MANY soft things to touch. I remember though. I even touched a bee when my brother used to collect bugs. Now when people say, "Feel this." I just do to appease them and react as they want me to. (Explaining has become boring.) It started just on my left side, after many years it is everywhere. Occasionally I get it back and am so shocked by the feeling. I have been known to shout aloud, "What WAS that?" LOL And of course, "Boy, that must have hurt."

Shauna said...

I have fleeting episodes of numbness in my face which I don't realize until I'm washing it. It's very bizarre.

In the first few months after diagnosis, I had bruises I couldn't explain as I'd never felt any pain. When I realized what was happening, every time I banged into a wall I'd just say, "That's gonna leave a mark"


Have Myelin? said...

As a deaf person I find that my other senses more than make up for my lack of hearing. The sense of touch cannot be underrated.

I find if there is not enough "touching" going on in my life I actually suffer from "skin hunger", whatever that means...