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.