Most people don’t have to think about doing the simple things in life like answering the door when an unexpected visitor arrives, picking up some toilet paper at the grocery store or helping out a friend until something like multiple sclerosis 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 to ensure I have the energy for the remainder 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 help me manage the remainder of my day. Some errands can set me back days…not just hours.
It’s that way with just about 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 have 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 down. 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 where it landed 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 so much energy to transfer to my wheelchair and make my way to the door only to find out it’s a solicitor wanting me to try their restaurant take-out service, that’s why most of the time I just don’t answer it.
When MS comes into our lives, the things most people take for granted become something we are grateful to still be able to do. We know that one day everything will change, the unexpected will happen, life will throw us a curve ball, and shifts will have to be made to even be able to do the simple things. No amount of planning prepares anyone mentally for those kinds of changes.
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 extra time to work through or you may have to get creative in the way you do them, but in the end you will have accomplished something greater than great. You will have done something some people are no longer able to do.
Don’t give up, don’t give in and keep going while you can. That’s what makes you an MS Warrior. Plan B, C, D, and sometimes even Z, ZZ, and ZZZ have become a part of my everyday life and I’m okay with that. I will keep trying, keep going, and shift with the changes until I no longer can.