Multiple Sclerosis Community
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1207048 tn?1282174304

Mixing up letters and numbers, should I worry?

This is one thing I have not brought up to my doctor, but I will when I see him next week.

For the last year or so I will mess up my words sometimes. Call the kids by the wrong name. Or, for example, I was asking my husband to get the baby's teething medicine from the top of the fridge but I said the top of the TV instead.

I'm "losing" words sometimes. I know what I want to say, but I can't remember what the right word is that I'm looking for.

In the last little bit I've been mixing up letters or numbers. It is happening more often. If I'm writing I might switch a couple letters in a word. Or, I might completely forget how to even spell the word in the first place.

Yesterday, my husband needed some numbers from our car to do the registration. As I was telling him, instead of saying "1-A-2-3-4" I said "i-A-3-2-4" then corrected myself. I double check all phone numbers because there is a good chance I'll flip a couple numbers.

I'm considering taking courses to do medical transcription this year, so this is a worry.

My question (as always LOL), is: is this an MS thing or something different? In my doctors appointment update post I put up, I said that my doctor is 90% sure I don't have MS. But, until he says he is 100% sure, or he has an explanation for my symptoms, I think I'm always going to wonder "Is this an MS thing?". *sigh*

13 Responses
279234 tn?1363105249
Hi Again,

I'm a limbolander too, and yes, I've done this off and on. I will have trouble with "word finding" and spelling sometimes (Thank God for spell check).

Sometimes I will tell my children to get something over by the dvd stand, but I will forget what the dvd stand is called, so I'll just point. It takes me awhile to figure what word it is, and sometimes I never get it, or somebody will figure out what I'm trying to say.

I also noticed that sometimes I will even misspell my own name. I will start with the second letter, or I'll have almost a dyslexia and go backwards with the word or number. The good news is, this problem comes and goes, along with my forgetfulness. I use to have a memory like an elephant, but now it's more like a block of swiss cheese. I keep a list of things I have to do everyday, and refer to it.

Hopefully your will come and go too. Hnag in there!
338416 tn?1420045702
Very, very common for people with MS.  There's some sort of disease process that attacks the part of the mind that files words.  I wish somebody would do some research on it - it seems like it would help with mapping the brain.

For about three months I was very quiet because I could never figure out the right word for what I was trying to describe.  If I had to talk, I sounded like I was crazy.
984138 tn?1359813073
Hey I have MS and do this alll the time! I feel like my minds older then my 55 yr old dads and im only 23! I forget words or ill have the word i want to say but i cant get it out so ill say something else, ill mix words together like " that flower is pretty" it will come out " that flowpetty" ( my family usualy can figure out my puzzle piece words as i put it") i get left and right mixed up all the time, I'll want to say oven but end up saying refriderator, sooo much more its insane! and sometimes worse then other days..... the one i hate the most however is when i know the dang word and for the life of me cant say it or i read a word and i know i know it but again cant pronounce it or recognize and when i cant spell the easiest words  hate that!  its soo werid and frustrating but yeah definalty is a MS thing!

p.s. i also double check the numbers i call.. i just forget what i just dialed and have to double check that i got it right
Hello, your comment has grabbed my attention because nearly everything youve said i notice has been happening to me. When i talk i mix my words up and not only do my words get mixed up, when they come out of my mouth, i struggle saying them and stutter getting them out of my mouth. When i write i often will write letters ahead of the word like, "suoedn" when i am meaning to write "sudden". i have always had a hard time spelling ever since i was younger and even though i have graduated college i still can not spell. Just the other day i couldnt figure out how to spell, sure. And lately i have been having problems thinking of the right word, i will know what it is called i just can get my mind to find the word. I wear glasses, get them checked yearly, and noticed that i have to blinky multiple times for my eyes to focus in because they focus out often. My hearing i feel is very sensitive, i can not concentrate on anything when its loud and it makes me so frustrated i blow up in anger. even when it is quiet it almost feels as if it physically hurts to think. I am not dumb/illiterate, i graduated nursing school at the top of my class and have always been an above average student, but now i just feel stupid. At first i thought i had stroke and just didnt know it (this is a joke) i have done these things all my life but within the past year ive noticed more things and everything getting worse. I dont know what to do or think. Can you also relate to these things or am i lost cause.
293157 tn?1285873439
Hi there.. I have this problem and there are time I don't want to talk to people because I just can't find the right word...or get stuck on a word and repeat it a few times.

I also have to stop what I'm saying and start over, so I don't repeat or get stuck on a word..  I say different words too.. knowing what I wanted to say, but it comes out different.

your not alone hon... I have heard it's a MS thing..
take care
1230912 tn?1273492770
My neuro was only concerned with the slurring and seemed to think the losing of the words and mixing words up in sentences was not associated with MS - thank you all for confirming what I thought!

I have a horrible time with I know definitions of things but for days I will lose the word, ironically it will come to me at the most inoppotune time! I also have problems while talking where my brain seems like it is not working as fast as my mouth and words come out all jumble - they are all there but it is like a puzzle trying to figure it out. I usually correct myself before anybody else because I get annoyed with myself for doing it.

I did notice when I had my steroid injections that most of that went away while I was on it, of course it is now starting to come back. I don't have the slurring problem at the moment which I am thankful for! I definitely think this is an MS thing even though my doctor didn't seem to think so!
1252074 tn?1271541709
Hey!  Me too!  Especially what u said Ginosmommy, that part about knowing the definition, but unable to come up with the word, I'll sit trying to come up with the word it want to use, not fun when you try to write a blog on a weekly basis, and to top this off I'm wondering if some of the meds I'm on could be part of the problem.

I also blank out while writing/typing forget my train of thought etc.  Oh, and jumbled up words, that for me usually appears like a stumble more these days.  

I'm still in limbo land, but my doctor is scheduling me a referral to a neurologist, (I had to get on my high horse a bit though)  Even let me pick and choose where I wanted to go and asked if there was a neurologist I wanted to see.

I'm no longer the little mouse that graduated from high school, I need to know what's going on with me, I can't battle a beast I can't see.
338416 tn?1420045702
Many neurologists don't seem to understand this symptom.  My neuro thought I was just 'confused' when I told him about my language problems.  I had to fight hard to get a neuro-psych consult.
987762 tn?1331027953
Last night i was doing research on this very topic, if its not developmentally normal for you, you havent had a stroke or major brain injury, then the specific nature we are refering to is caused by lesions. It still boggles my mind that neuro's discount this red flag, the research is widely available even if the actual site of the lesion is still under question. My neuro-psych said the problem is we still dont really know enough about where the brain controls language, still doesnt mean its not lesion damage when they cant determine exactly where. I have the clinical signs but dont have the MRI to back up a dx, yes jj your speach and cognitive skills have declined but bad luck see ya!

I wonder if they still would of had this 'I dont know' attitude if i'd been tested when i could hardly get words out of my mouth from the stutter, I couldn't name anything, not even my family. I wonder just how common it is for people to loose their sight, balance, walk like a string puppet, bladder control, mobility, tremor, communication and cognitive skills etc and not having a major stroke, you'd think it wouldnt leave much left over in the dx process.

If you want understanding and some direction, then the best places to look are sites that discuss the various aphasia types, and speach therapy sites. I was somewhat confused by the limited diseases associated with the speach/cognitive issues we commonly talk about. MS was only occationally refered to, but the others that incorporate mobility probs along with this one was rather limited, the more common dx listed seemed to be Lupus and Parkinsons.

And just FYI i have not once ever found these specific verbal and cognitive issues connected to depression or stress or anxiety, these specific issues go much deeper than brain fog though its quite common for things to be problematic when your tierd or at there worst when your fatigued.


1207048 tn?1282174304
Thank you everyone! I will be sure to bring it up to my doctor next Thursday.

The main reason I brought it up, like I said in my original post, I'm seriously considering taking some online courses. I'd hate to spend a year and the money on those and not be able to use it because my cognitive skills are lacking.

The mixing letters/ numbers, losing or switching words, and swiss cheese memory are pretty constant.

Last night I was making some rice to have with dinner and my 5 year old daughter asked if we were having rice and milk (a dish my husband introduced them to and they all love) I said no, but I would make that for lunch tomorrow if she wanted. She then said "Yes. I would like that. I will remind you tomorrow because you will forget. You always forget." I had to laugh, but I admit it made me sad too.

338416 tn?1420045702
I would hold up on the online courses.  I had a real problem remembering things for a while.  It took about two years, but it eventually came back.  I'm not back to normal, but I'm much better than I was.  I can count change, talk straight more of the time, remember the name for that thing that keeps food cold, call people by their proper name, not type the homynym for the word instead of the word I want....  Heck, now I can type words and have them come out in the right order.  

It took an effort on my part.  First thing I did was to start playing some simple computer games - Bejeweled and Big Kahuna Reef are good ones.  At first I was really foggy, and it took me a while to understand what the goals of the game were about.  Then I started to 'wake up' and use a little more strategy in my game play.  

I started exercising too, which helps build neurons.  The game play encourages the brain to use the new neurons, which become established in your brain.  

I also asked the doctor for a prescription for Aricept.  I took it for about five months, and I really noticed a difference in how I was able to think.  Rather like Draino for the brain - it seemed to blast out the gray fog.

There's also ways of organizing your thinking so you can remember tasks.  Try saying a task out loud as well as thinking about it.

You may encounter some resistance from the neuro.  Stick with it - their job is to help you, not convince you that you don't have a problem.
987762 tn?1331027953
I just saw this on medscape and thought it fitting of this discussion.


I would consider holding off on the course until you get some strategy or skill building tools, i'm still spending hours working out what i'm trying to type, sometimes i read what i've posted and wonder where my head was lol. I started out doing all the alexic and aphasic stuff a few years ago, i have a dyslexic daughter and work(ed) with children with disabilities so i was lucky i suppose that i had a good understanding of what was happening, not the why though.

It was just something that happened and then would get better or I probably should say not as noticable, but for me it hasn't ever gone away completely and it seems to be getting a tad worse each year. I do regain a heck of a lot of prior skills but it takes a lot more work to regain, and almost a year after the last big episode and the losses are still obvious.

I understand the letter and number switching very well, a lot of proof reading helps to pick up the errors. I still do it a lot but one of the things that bugs me more is that i can read and comprehend the same as i use to but i still have issues with prununciations and noun retrieval which makes my cognitive issues more noticable to everyone, at least i can take my time when i type, leave a gap until the word comes back to me etc, cant do that in a conversation lol.

I've had to keep putting off my double degree (teaching and psychology), everytime i think i can go back to it i fall off the planet again, though i'd like to think one day i will find a way. Depending on what your wanting to study, you might be able to work around your issues, time extentions and having a mentor might help, strategies etc. so dont think it cant be done, because it can if you get everything set up, work out what you need and go for it!

Avatar universal
I know all the other comments you got were two years ago, but I think you may have Dyslexia. There are tests that people take to determine if they're dyslexic or not. Also, Dyslexia is different for everyone that has it.

I'm not Dyslexic, but I somehow have a way of understanding it and I have a way of understanding how difficult it can be for dyslexics. I have to see through the "eye of a dyslexic"--meaning: I have to be able to see what they see in order for me to fully understand it.
Avatar universal
Wow...I had a traumatic brain injury at 2 and I have only recently started to suffer from all of those symptoms. With in the last 20 years I feel like my brain is betraying me. Physical pain, balance issues you name it but the speech (both verbal reading and writing) jumble, confusion, forgetfulness, etc. is only within the last few years and it is very scary. I see a neurologist for the first time in years this month. I'll definitely mention this. What is a neuro psych?
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