The unexpected will happen

Most people don’t have to think about doing simple things like running errands, picking up some milk at the grocery store or helping out a friend until something like MS comes along and messes with those seemingly simple tasks or plans. Sure, they have to juggle other plans around in order to fit the sudden change into their day, but most of the time those shifts are simple to make.

For me, in order to “run errands,” the timing has to be planned perfectly in order to ensure I have the energy for the rest of my day. Not planning can end in disaster…meaning, can end in me vegging on the couch for hours just to regain enough strength to get through the remainder of my day. And some errands can set me back days…not just hours.

It’s that way with everything. I have to think about the simple things more than people should. For example, take the act of walking. That may seem like a strange thing to think about, but when I stand up to walk, I have to make sure I have the proper supports around me to keep from falling. Then I have to concentrate on each step, movement, leg shift and foot lift. It takes GREAT effort and tremendous thought to do something as simple as walk.

If I need something in the kitchen, I can’t just jump up and get it. If I drop something on the floor, many times that item will remain there until I have the strength to reach down and pick it up. By the way, that can mean it will remain on the floor for days. If someone comes to the front door unannounced, it takes energy to make my way to the door only to find out it’s a solicitor wanting me to try their restaurant take-out service.

When MS comes into our lives, the things we took for granted become something we are grateful to still be able to do. We know that one day things will change, the unexpected will happen, life will throw us a curve ball, and shifts will have to be made. No amount of planning prepares anyone mentally for those things.

If you find yourself frustrated because you need to fill up your gas tank on your way to work today or because you need to pick up some cheese for tomorrow’s taco dinner, stop and remind yourself that you are still able to do those things…and be grateful for the little things no matter the inconvenience. Don’t take anything you are still able to do for granted. Those things may take a little extra time to work through, but in the end you will have accomplished something greater than great. You will have done something many can’t do.

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About the Author
About the Author
Penelope Conway

Penelope Conway
Penelope started Positive Living with MS as a way to help others with MS stay positive in the midst of a terrible disease. She believes that staying positive and holding onto hope is the key to waking up each morning with the strength to get through the day. Multiple Sclerosis may never go away, but neither will her determination and her drive to help others through the journey.

32 replies
  1. Cindy Davey says:

    My biggest lesson through dealing with MS has been to be flexible. I used to be a planner & list checker but there are days/moments that all goes out the window! In the beginning I’d try to push through. One of the toughest lessons is to learn when to push and when to give. If we give every time we are tired…we’d never get off the couch. However, if we don’t learn when we do have to give, stop & rest & keep always trying to push through…we end up not being able to get up off the couch. It is a tough balancing act.

  2. Rodger Ashton-Smith
    Rodger Ashton-Smith says:

    Well I feel different today. My son cut my hair yesterday and it feels strange as it is VERY short, in fact shorter than it’s been since I was 2 so that’s 60 years ago. I miss the actions I have used for moving my hair around, combing the part in place etc. But I know it will grow back some day soon (I hope)

  3. Jeanette Miller says:

    I’ve found a very helpful tool this week. Clicklist. I’m able to do all my grocery shopping thru clicklist. I tell them what time I’ll be by to pick up my order. I park in designated parking spot. Call phone number on post. They ask for parking space number. They bring my groceries to my car in bags. They put them in my car. I sign for them. I thank Jeffery, my delivery guy, and drive home. Oh how I love this. If I’m not able to pick up on time I call same number & let them know my husband will pick up & what time he’ll be there. This is a wonderful program.
    We just have to keep moving until fatigue sets in. Some days it sets in faster then my mind can handle but one less thing to suck my energy, grocery shopping, I’m all over it.

  4. Jodi Whiddon Lockhart says:

    My husband bought me of those grabber thingys, it’s a stick that has a trigger like mechanism on the handle and little grabbers on the other end and it helps to pick up things so much! It’s about 36 inches in length so really no bending at all. It can’t pick up any heavy things but for days when I drop my socks getting them on the cap to my med bottle or my whole bottle of meds it’s a lifesaver. I think he paid less than $20 for it at Lowe’s.

  5. Juana Driver says:

    Yesterday was an errand day after a 2 hour funeral. Town was extra busy~ extra stress of driving, 2 for one special at Subway~extra people enjoying more for less. Back track to pay a bill~lady gone to bank/errands but worth the wait cuz she is a funny friend. More stops some successful some will have to happen another day. I’m tired physically and mentally, arrive home and melt into recliner until time to go to meeting moved up one week. First to leave ….lost all interest in Chit Chat lol Today just want to set and stare at tv and no thinking /planning /cooking etc. Fatigue both mental and physical, how to explain to one unaffected by MS. I’m not lazy, my mind is moving fast and things are accomplished. One day I’ll remember and finish that task ….

  6. Heather Adsit says:

    Every good day I have I’m super thankful myself for what I’m still doing 🙂

    Although I’m beginning to feel like I’m crazy again…. and just because my nuro dosent always see it she thinks I can do more than I can 🙁

    It’s so hard some times.
    By the time I get through my day of house cleaning…. tending to a 2yr old…. helping a 6yr old with home work.. just everything.
    If I still for 3min… my legs won’t move well at all 🙁

    It’s been getting me down.

    But I said to myself just the other day.
    So my legs are acting silly.

    I have strong arms 🙂

    It’s tiring me out… but my arms help me get around when my feet do not 🙂

    I’m not ashamed to pull my body around… I’m feeling slightly empowered and thankful for what I can do.

    Yes…. there is always something we can be thankful for… even with MS 🙂

  7. Martina Reck says:

    It’s so true, every day life is a struggle..and than this stupid bloke on the bus who thought I don’t want to talk to him just because I was to exhausted and needed just some minutes to get my mind sorted

  8. Jeff N Christine Higdon says:

    My wife’s daily life is the same. Most mornings are ok. She tries to get things done for by midday she just can’t keep going. Alot of times she has to go lay down to get her strength back. Sometimes she lays for an hour or so and other times she may stay in bed until the next morning.

  9. Leslie Beaver says:

    You do not overstate. We simply cannot take anything for granted. Plans are of course still made. And of course should be. But realty must be heeded when the day comes. Because a bad day is always possible. And must not be ignored.

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