Today was a four

A post from several years ago, just as relevant today. :(On a scale between 1 and 10, I’d give today a four. It’s not really its fault, but it wasn’t a great day.
It started out good, with my neighbor dropping off a newspaper article from the morning’s S.F. Chronicle.
It reports that several gene “regions” have been discovered to be probably linked to an increased risk of having M.S. The results of several studies appear in three papers published in several leading scientific journals and posted online.
Apparently new experiments have reconfirmed the role of one gene in increasing the risk of MS, and have identified two others that may contribute to the disease.  Doesn’t help me at the moment, I’ve already got it. But still good. Baby steps.
Then I sat down to work at my computer, grateful that I can still do my work full time from home. (I have posted about my telework situation here)
But soon started dreading tomorrow because I have to go into the office for meetings with out-of-town colleagues.  And just getting down there exhausts me.
In the afternoon, I attempted yet again to get up to the pool on my spiffy new scooter.  But yet again I didn’t swim.  Today there were lessons going on, and no open lanes for slow swimmers like me.  
The scooter makes it up there just fine, but it was frustrating to not get in the water.  And if I had more stamina, I might have waited around to see if a lane opened up.
Fatigue sucks.  I know that going swimming regularly might help my stamina, but today I just came immediately back and took a nap instead, totally exhausted from just the exertion required to get there.  So you see?  Four. Sigh
Originally posted on 07.30.07. Updated re-post.
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Cleaning with MS: Microfiber rags

As a wheel-chair bound MSer, I have found microfiber rags to be energy- as well as money-saving. See more…

image from lorna.typepad.comAs a wheel-chair bound MSer battling fatigue, I find cleaning my house to be one of my most daunting challenges. These days, I would like to keep my own house clean, but I admit that if money was less tight, I’d definitely hire a housecleaning service. 
Instead, I do what I can and depend on family and friends. And one of the best things I use lately is microfiber rags.  
What is it
Microfiber is a synthetic, usually made from polyesters. It is called microfiber  because it is so fine, Wikipedia says it is even finer than silk thread, which has a diameter itself 1/5 the size of a human hair.
The combinations of teeny, tiny materials bundled into teeny, tiny thread, are then woven into fabric used for upholstery, apparel and cleaning products.  
Most often, in cleaning products like these towels, the fiber is notched. The area between the notches creates a larger surface on the fiber itself, the better to attract and cling to dust and other particles, and to absorb liquid.
A non-notched microfiber can exist, but is basically just a soft fabric: it isn’t designed to be absorbent.
Here is a public domain image I found showing the difference between a regular cotton fiber and a microfiber:
image from lorna.typepad.comCross sections: microfiber thread above, cotton thread below

Vassia Atanassova – Spiritia • Public domain
Why I use
Traditional cleaning cloths require a cleaning agent (detergents, soaps and other chemical cleaners) to dissolve the dirt, which then needs to be rinsed off, or it simply just moves the dirt around.
But the notched fibers of the microfiber cloths are able to pick up and hold dirt until you are able to safely shake it out or dispose.  So the MF can be used with just water, so it doesn’t need to be rinsed. (Read: easier for me)
Now I don’t usually like the feel of synthetics, and I especially don’t like the lack of absorbency of them. But the use of notched microfiber in towels, for example, has made them wildly absorbent. 
Turns out, MF towels were first used at swimming pools. They dry quickly, I assume because of the fiber size, and don’t become stale if damp, I assume because of the polyester.  Even the small ones will dry a body quickly. 
MF is also static-free. But as I’ve already said, this can be problematic when using plush-textured rags in cleaning electronics, like I do.
So while the material is good for this, it may be safer to use flat instead of nappy MF cleaning cloths for TV and computer screens. Or clean them really well between uses. 
To clean
Another benefit of MF is that they are washable and reusable, unlike paper towels.
But towels made of microfiber should never be washed with oily, soap-based detergent or subject to fabric softener.  The oils and surfactants in these will clog the MF and decrease their ability to absorb.
In fact, some sources recommend that you occasionally just boil them in plain water for 10 minutes. The boiling water will relax the fibers to refresh their ability to absorb.
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Wash but don’t rinse

I discovered no-rinse laundry soap for hand-washing. Genius!


I spend most of my time on the second floor for now.  But my laundry facilities are on the first floor. I decided I should wash some of my things upstairs and hang them to dry overnight in the shower area.
I began to search on the web, looking for recommendations on soap to use on hand wash.  I was not specifically looking for how to wash delicates or yarn for knitting or baby things, for example, but when I discovered this review for hand wash detergents, all those things were mentioned.
This led me to Soak where I discovered the idea of no-rinse laundry. This may be a no-brainer for you, but for me it was genius!  So I ordered some from the manufacturer and found that it works!
With Soak, any dirt comes out in the water, and whatever is left in the item evaporates.  No rinsing required.
What is No-Rinse and  How Does It Help MSers?
Skipping the rinse second step works for a lot of MSers like me who deal with fatigue and/or have troubles with their hands.  Also, when you work far away from your laundry facilities, you really have to weigh your choices.  Do I expend my limited energy and mobility to carry bed sheets downstairs more than once a week?  I vote no.
Many times, I wake up, fill the sink with warm water and a small squirt of soap, then dump my pjs in and give them a swish or leave them to soak until lunchtime. Then I hang them to dry on my clothes rack in the shower.  This works!
If I’ve had any “accidents” at night, I will mark place with yarn, then wheel into bathroom, finish my ablutions, then grab a rag, get it wet with the treated water, shove it into a plastic bag (to protect my lap), then wheel it back to bedside and scrub the marked area. I then leave it to air-dry.  It is usually fresh and dry by bedtime. Pee spots conquered!
All-Purpose Formula
According to their website, Soak uses a cleaning formula that’s “great for all fabrics, including wool, cashmere, and silk.”
It smells wonderful, and no-rinse means “less work, less water use, and a lower likelihood that you’ll damage your dainty duds with too much handling.”
I also discovered that chemistry is important in soap types.  You see, chemistry is different in different types of soap.  In that same article, I read that another soap contains lanolin which “tends to attract dirt and grime…” after you wash with it and since it doesn’t evaporate, you must rinse it out of your garment.  
Last week I spilled some coffee on my shirt and tried it on that, just soaking it to see its cleaning power.  Alas, it didn’t work as well, but it’s worth the trade off and just soaking still got a lot out.  I assume I will need to scrub first next time.
You can get it from Amazon too!

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“I’m melting! melting!”

The first time I experienced M.S. fatigue, I was living on the Peninsula in the S.F. Bay Area.  It was exhaustion like I'd never known.  I remember trying to fold my clean laundry in a laundromat and having to stop and rest after one or two pieces at a time.  

My arms felt like lead, my legs felt like they were shuffling through quicksand and my brain was so, so foggy.  And sleeping didn't help although getting out of bed each morning was a battle.  The exacerbation lasted a few weeks.

As with all my symptoms, it seems that once I've had it for the first time, the subsequent times I get it don't seem as severe.  In reality, I suspect that they are as severe but that I become desensitized to them.  Or maybe it's just never as scary ever after.

In any case, I think I am in the throes of an exacerbation, and the current heat wave isn't helping.

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