On being struck by lightning…

Updated March 5 2011.

I’ve mentioned in some posts – the last one, for example – that being struck by lightning causes me a whole lot of problems, both then and years down the line. Like my osteo-arthritis. OK, I do have an innate tendency in that direction, having had o-a in my left hip since the age of 32, but the fact that, for some years, it’s been present in almost every joint, with increasing severity, I’m certain is the result of the lightning strike (on the hills above Aber, North Wales, Summer 1983).

By the way, in another post there’s a link to this list, which is on my website, so some of you will have already seen it.

I’ve speculated, recently, about whether side-effects from my meds are the basis of what ails me (I’m sure they contribute, maybe substantially), and I’ve also said as much about the lightning strike, and it occurred to me that pretty much nobody out there knows what the long-term effects of being struck by lightning are. Taking everything into consideration – ME/CFS, drug side-effects, this – it’s probably impossible to say with any certainty exactly what is wrong with me. Which is why I generally opt for ME/CFS.

COPD, not smoking-related (I’ve had the precursors, asthma and bronchiectasis, since simultaneous measles and whooping cough trashed my lungs at age 2), is an entirely different issue.

So this is the list. Bold are those items which are current and have been since the event. Bold and asterisks are now history. I have a really unshakeable feeling that I’ve already written this post**, but a search hasn’t turned it up. Possibly I wrote it and decided it seemed too whiny (sod it, today I feel whiny!), and didn’t publish it (quite a lot of what I write never sees the light of day, either because it’s an idea that, ultimately, doesn’t go anywhere, or I don’t feel it’s up to standard and, just occasionally, because I’ve already written it!).

**If I have done this before, here, please post the link in a comment. Thanks.

I think it’s worthwhile, though, as most people assume that lighting either kills you or leaves you horribly burned. It can do both, of course, but not always. And survivors, of whom there are more than you might think**, are often, in many ways, the worse off.

**One idiot golfer in the US, has, allegedly, been struck over 50 times – and still hasn’t taken the hint!

I wasn’t burned, by the way, and if you think getting ME/CFS accepted is hard, try explaining to a doctor you’ve been zapped when there’s not a mark on you! Lightning, you might have read, as I have, always leaves a characteristic “fern leaf” pattern on the body. What most sources won’t tell you, and most doctors don’t know, is that it can be internal, and only turns up in an autopsy.

I have no idea what “Extreme sensitivity” (below), is. To what, exactly?

The website from which I originally downloaded the list appears to no longer exist. If you recognise it, please let me know and I’ll credit it.

Ataxia (sporadic but increasing)
Bladder Problems
Bowel Problems
Chronic Fatigue
Chronic, often severe and intransigent, Pain
(treatable with magnesium, 600mg daily)
Crying Spells
Depression* (Mostly gone, hence one * – hard not to be depressed since heart failure (HF)  diagnosis though.)
Easily Confused
Elevated Heart Rate** (Pre-dates HF tachycardia)
Emotional Problems** (Severe after HF diagnosis, improving now)
Excessive Perspiration
Excessive Thirst
Extreme Sensitivity
Eyes Sensitive to Light
Fatigues Easily
Immune System Defect
(yes, but it’s always been defective)
Inability to Cope (Er, what with?)
Inability to sit long
Lack of Communication skills
Lack of Coordination
Loss of Grip
Lower Sex Drive
Memory Lapses
Memory Loss

Muscle Spasms

Numbness in Arms
Numbness in Hands
Numbness in Legs
(alternates with severe burning sensation)
Obesity (Long-term steroids contribute, too)
Out of Body Experience
Panic Attacks (Since I now have HF to worry about, these are back!)
Random Fears
Ringing in Ears
Dry Eyes
Severe Headaches
Shorter Attention Span

Skin Problems
Sleep Disturbance (as in what sleep?! Not been to bed for 5 weeks as at today, March 5, 2011)
Stiffness and pain in Joints
(occasionally, and probably understandable. Given that HF never ends well, I have my exit strategy already organised, against the time when I can no longer care for myself. Of course, it might take me off suddenly, in which case, no problem. And no, I don’t feel as blasé as that seems!)