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50shadesofsun

News and Opinions about MS, Health & Disability

Sensitivity to heat not affected by summer sunshine

heat

As summer continues with temperatures in the 30°s C (high 80°s), the hottest days now seem to be behind us here in the south of Spain. The temperatures peaked at over 100°, so the high 80°s is quite pleasant.

What’s more, the good news is that the hot weather has not caused me any heat sensitivity problems at all. But then, that’s exactly what I expected. And that is because my heat sensitivity is triggered by changes in temperature not consistent heat.

Some people were concerned about heat exhaustion when the learned that Lisa ad I announced we were moving to Spain, two years ago. But after a series of sudden temperature changes experienced in the UK, this is a walk in the park.

Heat in your marriage

Talking of my beloved Lisa, she never ceases to amaze me with her selfless dedication to my wellbeing.

I have heard from so many people with MS who have split up ad divorced when their partners decide that a life as a caregiver isn’t for them. It is so sad.

Lisa has known that I have MS right from the start of our relationship, I never tried to hide it. She agreed to marry me knowing what was in store for us both. Furthermore, her granddad had MS too, so she knew more than most husbands and wives when their spouses are diagnosed as having MS.

Perhaps that is not incredible, perhaps it should be expected but there are many who have found that not to be the case. The “till death do us part” of the marriage vows appears to have been lost on their partners.

Do you have the loving support of your spouse or have you split up? And just how does heat sensitivity affect you, or doesn’t it? Please let me know.

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Affiliate disclaimer: This affiliate disclosure details the affiliate relationships of MS, Health & Disability at 50shadesofsun.com with other companies and products. Read more.

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50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks, a Features Writer with Healthline, the fastest growing health information site. He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor in the print media. He gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. Ian received a diagnosis of MS in 2002 and now lives in the south of Spain. He uses a wheelchair and advocates on mobility and accessibility issues.

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Good and bad days on the MS merry-go-round of life

bad days

Pride becomes before a fall, or so the saying goes, and that certainly seems true for me.  I had been getting around a lot more easily, feeling pleased, using my new rollator but then …

Ok, all of us who live with multiple sclerosis have good and bad days. Good days when we find it fairly easy to get around or do things; bad days when the opposite is true.

Two days ago, all was well. I was out and about and used my rollator to help me walk into our local pharmacy to collect my medications. Feeling comfortable and at ease, I felt strong and confident.

Then I drove home where, again using my rollator, walked up the ramp to the front door and went indoors.

Yesterday, regretfully, was not the same story. Not by a long shot!

I went out the front door, started down the ramp and my legs soon felt shaky and my arms so weak that I was unable to support myself on the rollator. It was no surprise when I sank to the ground. After a few minutes, by sitting on the side of the ramp, I managed to regain my feet and made my way to the back of our car, where Lisa had my wheelchair ready.

Bad days are not so easy

All that was left to do was to walk across some gravel and transfer from the rollator to my wheelchair. Easy right? Well, yes, on a good day. Even on a moderate day. But yesterday was neither of those, it was a very bad day; bad to ******* awful.

And that’s why my easy transfer ended up causing me to fall again, this time in the quiet road outside our home. The sky was blue, the sun blazing down. It was midday, and very hot. Remember, we live in the south of Spain and today it got to 37°C, which is almost 99°F, and that’s the shade temperature. I was in direct sunlight, the humidity was high. It was hot. It’s been like that for weeks.

I made several unsuccessful attempts to get up but, eventually, Lisa phoned for help. In next to no time Eddie and Bob arrived and got me off the road surface and safely back in my wheelchair.

Difficulty resolved. Today is another day, I wonder what that will bring. Let’s hope it is a good one.

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Affiliate disclaimer: This affiliate disclosure details the affiliate relationships of MS, Health & Disability at 50shadesofsun.com with other companies and products. Read more.

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50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks, a Features Writer with Medical News Today. He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor in the print media. He gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. Ian received a diagnosis of MS in 2002 and now lives in the south of Spain. He uses a wheelchair and advocates on mobility and accessibility issues.

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Humour? We are falling over ourselves laughing

humour

When you live with a disability, whether through multiple sclerosis or another cause, humour can help. It may be a twisted form, but it’s still humour.

I find that, these days, laughter comes when it is least expected.

It can come after I end up on the floor at home, especially if that is because I misjudged the distance to a chair or a hand grip. Instead of sitting there and pounding the floor with my fist, while crying “Why me?”, usually I see the funny side and just laugh at my own predicament.

That’s not to say that I never ‘lose it’ and curse this damned disease but, normally, the laughter takes over. In fact, as if getting up from the floor isn’t difficult enough, often I have to wait until I can stop laughing. Then, and only then, can I begin to pull myself up again.

Out and about, I use a rollator to walk just a few yards, such as from our home to the car outside. For any longer journey, I rely on a motorized wheelchair.

That, in itself, can be another source of humour. My very first motorized mobility aid was a second-hand scooter that I bought on eBay. It opened up a whole new world but the inaugural trip wasn’t uneventful. In our local park, I messed up and almost ended up in the paddling pool. Fortunately, disaster was averted and Lisa and I ended up laughing at my near miss.

Bare butt humour

A couple of years ago, we were visiting Lisa eldest sister who lives in New York state, about a half hour train ride from the city. We enjoyed a meal with sister Gen, her husband, three children and two of her grandchildren.

After her offspring and grandchildren had left, I managed to fall in the downstairs ‘half bathroom’ which is a room with a washbasin and toilet. The problem on this occasion was a loose mat that proved too much for me and my limited mobility to handle.

I was in a confined space and managed to get to my knees but not any further. I needed help and had to wait for Gen’s son to return for him to render assistance. My trousers and underpants were both around my thighs and, being on my knees with my arms on the toilet, everyone got a great view of my butt. Much mirth and laughter from everyone, especially after Gen’s husband Billy said he’d fallen in love with it. Enough said!

Actually, earlier on that same trip, Lisa and I were in Honolulu and used a vehicle converted to carry a wheelchair. I was loaded on in my chair, secured and off we went. What I hadn’t realized was that he driver ad secured the rear of the chair but not the front.  The first I knew about that was when the driver pulled away from some traffic lights like Sebastian Vettel stating a motor racing grand prix.

No longer sitting upright

The start threw me and my chair backwards. This was unnoticed by either the driver or my beloved wife, sitting in the front.  Grabbed their attention by saying “You might like to know that I am no longer sitting upright.” Lisa looked back and saw my feet in midair. She asked if I was hurt and when assured that I was ok, she just burst out laughing, me too.

Not the driver, though. He was so apologetic, and stopped to pick me up and this time secured the chair at the front as well. The poor man was so sorry and worried that he’d lo-se his job but we were too busy laughing. We did not complain.

The lesson I have learned is that you can’t take yourself too seriously.

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Affiliate disclaimer: This affiliate disclosure details the affiliate relationships of MS, Health & Disability at 50shadesofsun.com with other companies and products. Read more.

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50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks, a Features Writer with Medical News Today. He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor in the print media. He gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. Ian received a diagnosis of MS in 2002 and now lives in the south of Spain. He uses a wheelchair and advocates on mobility and accessibility issues.

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Awards for good attendance discriminate against sick and disabled

It’s time to take my hat off and salute the eminently sensible views of a mother who talks about her two sons. One chronically disabled with severe cerebral palsy, the other fit and well with a perfect school attendance record.

attendance

JJ, left, with his elder brother who has cerebral palsy. (Pic: Rachel Wright).

And that’s where mum, Rachel Wright of Essex in England, put her foot down.

You see, 10-year-old younger son JJ, was to be given an award by his school for perfect attendance. That is, until his mum took to Facebook to explain why her son won’t be accepting the award.

Rachel gave four reasons for the decision:

  • We don’t reward luck. In this family, we will think of as many reasons possible to praise our children. We will celebrate and reward them, but being lucky enough not to get sick is not one of them. He’s lucky to have not developed a fever, had an accident or live with a chronic illness.
  • 100% Attendance Awards can demonise the weakest. In this family, you are not shamed for ill health, vulnerability or weakness. In this house, you are not encouraged to spread germs when you are not well. We look after ourselves and the weakest among us.
  • JJ had no control over his 100% attendance. In this family, you don’t take praise for something you didn’t do. He had no control over his attendance. I took him to school and it would have been my decision to keep him off. I should get the reward (or not) for his attendance.
  • We are taking him out of school for five days at the end of term (with permission from school). In this family, we value school and work but we also know the importance of making memories and having rest. So, our son will finish his school year one week early and go to Italy instead of class parties, watching films and playing end of year games.

Attendance awards send wrong message to children

Rachel said she believes that a reward for good attendance sends the wrong message to children. On Facebook, she wrote: “What on earth are we teaching our kids about value and worth? What are we teaching them about looking out for each other and looking after the sick or disabled in our community?”

As she mentioned in her post, JJ’s brother, who is aged 11, has severe disabilities.

She said: “As the parent of a severely disabled child, I have a strong aversion to rewarding children for not being sick. It is important that as a family we value all people and that sickness does not mean rewards are forfeited. Being sick means you are cared for, not punished. Since our eldest son was born, our values have changed and our perspective altered.”

Rachel has since said she’s planning an alternative event for JJ to have a fun time at a play centre with other kids from his school. And that includes children with and without perfect attendance. The original award would have included an evening at the play centre for JJ.

She has written about her journey as a parent of a child with special needs in her memoir, The Skies I’m Under. She said she hopes her book, blog and recent viral Facebook post will make people think twice about things like attendance awards.

“I hope they consider the ways they view children and adults with disabilities or chronic conditions. I hope that we can have a mature discussion about how we value and need to reward things that children actually have control over determining,” she added.

27,000+ Facebook likes

Up to date, the original post has attracted more than 27,000 likes plus many comments both for and against her stand.

I must admit, awards for good attendance is an issue that I had not previously considered. Having said that, though, she is right. How can it be ok to reward someone for doing something because they are lucky enough to enjoy good health? That is just an insult to people who are sick or disabled – through no fault of their own. An insult to people like JJ’s brother with cerebral palsy, or to people like me with multiple sclerosis.

In fact, it all reminds me of my years spent in the past as an adult leader in the Scouts. Scouts promise to ‘do their best’, and we used that when deciding who was awarded each badge. A more able child would be expected to do more, a less able one would do less. The key was, did we believe that a child had done his or her best?

In the end, isn’t that all we can ask?

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Affiliate disclaimer: This affiliate disclosure details the affiliate relationships of MS, Health & Disability at 50shadesofsun.com with other companies and products. Read more.

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50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks, a Features Writer with Medical News Today. He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor in the print media. He gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. Ian received a diagnosis of MS in 2002 and now lives in the south of Spain. He uses a wheelchair and advocates on mobility and accessibility issues.

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Too much sunshine not good for young children or people with heat sensitivity

Having left a mainly editing and managing role in April, I now have more time to devote to writing. And, to be honest, that is where I am happiest.

Now I am writing for Medical News Today as well as paying much more attention to this blog. This had suffered through lack of time during the last year.

With more time available, I can now write articles that, before, were put on one side. And that starts today.

A news story caught my attention a couple of days ago. It was about a warning from NHS England and the Meteorological Office reminding parents that suntans on children are unhealthy.

Apparently, a survey suggests a third of parents believe, mistakenly, that going brown is good for children, But, a tan doesn’t stop the sun’s harmful UV rays. Instead, it is damaged skin trying to protect itself.

Clare Nasir, tv weather presenter and meteorologist, said: “Protecting against skin cancer isn’t something parents should leave to chance.

“UV levels are usually highest between May and September. Clouds don’t always stop UV rays, and unlike the sun’s warmth, it’s difficult to know when they may be harming you.”

Boost vitamin D but don’t overdo it

Dr Nigel Acheson, from NHS England, said although exposure to some sunlight was good for boosting vitamin D levels, people should not overdo it.

“We typically recommend that people spend no more than 10 to 15 minutes in the UK summer sun, unprotected, several times a week,” he said.

heat“People who spend more than 15 minutes in the sun on any given day, should apply sun protection factor 15 or higher.”

Nicola Smith, from Cancer Research UK, said: “There’s no such thing as a safe tan, from the sun or sunbeds.”

“While everyone needs a little bit of sun for vitamin D, most children and adults get enough from a short amount of time outside, less than it takes to burn.”

Apart from UV rays, too much sun can also hurt many of us, both with and without multiple sclerosis, who have heat sensitivity. Usually, this is caused by it being too hot, too cold or, for anyone like me, when it’s too changeable.

Top tips to avoid the sun’s heat and UV rays

British weather was too changeable for me, which is why Lisa and I moved to Spain. It gets really hot here but that’s ok for me because it’s constant.

So, what top tips are there to avoid being affected by the high summer temperature? Here’s a few:

  • Avoid extreme temperatures – If you love to be outdoors, limit your time in the sun. Go indoors to cool down. Don’t overheat or you’ll pay for it over the next few days.
  • Use cooling equipment – If you are outdoors for a time, make sure to keep cooling products available.
  • Keep yourself hydrated – Water is the best drink to fight dehydration and quench your thirst. Iced water is even better.
  • Wear lightweight clothing or clothes that breathe – Wear loose, lightweight and light coloured clothing. I recommend a light summer hat, too. That provides your own portable shade.
  • Plan ahead and remember timing is everything – If you are going to be outside, get your timing right. Avoid the hottest part of the day.

Heat sensitivity is unpleasant and makes symptoms of MS and other disabilities worse. But that is only temporary (pseudoexacerbations). The heat does not cause more damage.

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Affiliate disclaimer: This affiliate disclosure details the affiliate relationships of MS, Health & Disability at 50shadesofsun.com with other companies and products. Read more.

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50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks, a Features Writer with Medical News Today. He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor in the print media. He gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. Ian received a diagnosis of MS in 2002 and now lives in the south of Spain. He uses a wheelchair and advocates on mobility and accessibility issues.

 

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Mobility aids: Choose what’s best for you

Mobility – well, truthfully, difficulty in moving around, is something that many of us with multiple sclerosis and other disabilities must overcome.

And, for our benefit, there are numerous mobility aids on the market for us to choose. These vary from the basic walking stick, or cane, right up to the top of the range, road ready, electric power scooter.

But I want to talk about some options between those two extremes. Yes, I will restrict my comments to walkers, rollators, manual wheelchairs, electric wheelchairs, and electric scooters. You see, except for walkers, I have experience using all of them.

Standard walkers are stable, and have sturdy metal frames providing solid support. Upper body strength is required as the user lifts it off the ground every couple of steps.

Wheeled walkers have two wheels and two standard legs. This is easier to move as  the user only tilts it forward to move.

Three-wheeled rollators are ideal for using where space is limited but they don’t have facilities like a seat.

Four wheeled rollators, with two ‘steering’ wheels at the front are easy to move and have seats to use if a rest is needed. They also have baskets or other carrying capabilities. Bakes are important, especially when going up or down slopes. They can also be locked on to hold the rollators still so the user can sit safely

Manual wheelchairs come in two basic types, one where the user has to depend on caregivers to push them about. The other is where users can move themselves using the large wheels that can be self-propelled.

Electric wheelchairs add to users’ independence but are usually heavy and  need wheelchair adapted vehicles to move them about. But now there are folding electric wheelchairs that can easily fit in ordinary carsElectric scooters are available in different sizes. They also improve independence and the smallest ones can be broken down into a number of pieces to fit into cars.

I tried a self-propelled manual wheelchair from Drive Medical but found it was little use to me as I only have one good arm, so still had to rely on Lisa to push my chair. Not that she minds, but it does nothing for my independence.

Three different scooters have been tested. One was too lightweight in terms of power. One was powerful enough but just too large, and the third was just too much to break down to pack away and then reassemble to use again.

A power wheelchair came next. And that was great but it was so heavy to unload from and reload into our seven seat vehicle.

Rollators and wheelchairs

independence

Next I bought a great foldable electric wheelchair from Better Products for Disabled People – and it is wonderful. It’s so much lighter than an ordinary chair but it is still too much to unload and reload a number of times in quick succession, or if it is only for a short period of time.

rollatorsSo, this week I took delivery of a brand new four-wheeled rollator from Performance Health (formerly Patterson Medical). My verdict? It’s fantastic and yesterday it enabled me to walk to my maximum limit of about 20 yards before I sat on the built-in seat for a few minutes.  Then I got up to walk another 20 yards.

It’s easy to get out of and back into our car. Of course, for longer distances, I will continue to use my trusty wheelchair.

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Affiliate disclaimer: This affiliate disclosure details the affiliate relationships of MS, Health & Disability at 50shadesofsun.com with other companies and products. Read more.

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50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks, a Features Writer with Medical News Today. He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor in the print media. He gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. Ian received a diagnosis of MS in 2002 and now lives in the south of Spain. He uses a wheelchair and advocates on mobility and accessibility issues.

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Wife who is carer is really a wonderful, loving, angel

It’s been an eventful few days for the two of us at home here in Spain.

On Saturday, nine days ago, my beloved Lisa asked me to help put the washing out to dry. It’s an easy job that I can do sitting down, so I readily agreed. The trouble was that it was not one of my best days. Thanks to multiple sclerosis, I managed to fall while walking out of the back door onto our terrace.

I still have no idea how but the nail of the big toe on my left foot was torn upright. It was 90 degrees from its usual position. There was pain and blood – and plenty of the red stuff.

carerMy wife Lisa is also my carer and is quite used to me spending time on the floor and could not see my injury, so she didn’t rush to my side. But she certainly arrived fast enough when I told her what was wrong.

In next to no time, she had stopped the bleeding and strapped up my toe. Luckily, once bandaged, the pain eased so that it only hurt if touched.

Wife and carer is an angel

A couple of days later, I visited our doctor. He removed the dressing and the nail came off with it. The wound started to bleed again but he quickly stopped it and sent me to a nurse to get it redressed. That started a series of one visit every two days, something I had to get used to here. The Spanish health service goes the extra mile to see that patients receive the best treatment.

However, these regular visits to the health centre are putting more stress on Lisa. Lifting my electric wheelchair out of, and back into, our car is a task that should not be repeated often. Meanwhile, at home, she is doing virtually all the work. She is my carer and refuses to ask me to help in case I am hurt again. In fact, while doing anything involving standing or walking is difficult, I try to do what I can.

One thing though, Lisa is always so grateful for whatever help I can give. But all she does for me makes her even more than my loving wife and carer.

She is my wonderful, loving, guardian angel who walks here on earth.

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Affiliate disclaimer: This affiliate disclosure details the affiliate relationships of MS, Health & Disability at 50shadesofsun.com with other companies and products. Read more.

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50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks, a Features Writer with Medical News Today. He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor in the print media. He gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. Ian received a diagnosis of MS in 2002 and now lives in the south of Spain. He uses a wheelchair and advocates on mobility and accessibility issues.

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Tackling wider medical subjects, not just MS

You may notice on this page that, besides running this website, I now write for Medical News Today. This is instead of Multiple Sclerosis News Today (MSNT).

And while the two titles appear similar, there is no connection. Indeed, they are published by two separate companies.

I spent 10 months recruiting and building a team of patient columnists for MSNT and its sister titles, as well as managing and editing their content. Now, I am now concentrating on writing quality specialist articles for a market leading medical publication.

Medical News Today

medical news todayAs a features writer for Medical News Today (MNT), I am producing authoritative articles, about a variety of illnesses, for the digital publication’s much-respected Knowledge Center.

Founded in 2003, MNT has established itself as a market leader for medical news. It provides concise and accurate information that stands out in the ocean of content that is health on the internet.

Content is targeted to an educated audience of both healthcare professionals and patients. The editorial team provides news from evidence-based, peer-reviewed studies, along with accurate, unbiased and informative content from governmental organisations (e.g. FDA, CDC, NIH, NHS), medical societies, royal colleges, professional associations, patients’ groups, pharmaceutical and biotech companies, among others.

All areas of health and medicine

Medical News Today produces original, timely and authoritative information from respected and credible sources. The editorial team has a strict code of practice and covers all areas of health and medicine, including rare diseases and conditions. It strives to achieve coverage across all areas of human health, and its main content areas include:

  • News content produced and curated daily by its in-house editorial team. It publishes more than 60 articles per day.
  • Reference material covering issues that you find important – produced in-house and licensed.
  • Features and in-depth investigative reporting on health and lifestyle.
  • Opinions forums – allowing you to connect with other users.

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Affiliate disclaimer: This affiliate disclosure details the affiliate relationships of MS, Health & Disability at 50shadesofsun.com with other companies and products. Read more.

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50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks, a Features Writer with Medical News Today. He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor in the print media. He gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. Ian received a diagnosis of MS in 2002 and now lives in the south of Spain. He uses a wheelchair and advocates on mobility and accessibility issues.

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MS is No Excuse for Being Discourteous When Offered Help

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It was a trip, plain and simple, neither my leg giving way nor a fall. It was MS-related because it was directly caused by foot drop; the toe of my left shoe caught on the tiniest ridge at the bottom of a ramp.

My trip wasn’t dramatic, I didn’t end up on my face. In fact, I simply sat down on a small retaining wall of a flower bed, about two or three bricks high. No fuss, Lisa even told me afterward that I had managed to sit down quite gracefully.

After sitting there for about a minute, I could have stood up and continued my way inside the restaurant for our meal and, back in the U.K., that’s exactly what I would have expected to happen.

Not here in Spain, though! No sooner had I come to sit on the low wall than two young men from a group at a table on the terrace, rushed up and helped me back to my feet. But that was not enough for one of them; he was determined not to let go until I was safely seated at a table inside.help

I expressed my gratitude in Spanish and he returned to his group outside.

Lisa and I enjoyed our meal, three courses plus a drink and a coffee for just 10€ each (about $10.50, or £8.50), which is nothing to complain about.

Eventually it was time to leave and, as we came out of the door, the same young man who helped me earlier again sprung out of his chair to escort me back to our car. This time, I had not tripped or fallen; he just wanted to help.

We exchanged a few words in Spanish (not too many as I am still learning the language, but enough to guide him to the correct car, make him understand that I needed to go the driver’s side and then to, once again, thank him for all his help).

Like many people who have MS or any other disability, I am keen to be independent. However, not so fiercely that I would be rude or cause offense to anyone offering help. Even those times when I do decline an offer, I always do so in a friendly way and make sure that it is obvious that the offer was appreciated.

You must have come across people who are discourteous when offered assistance, which they reject with a terse “I’ll be all right,” “I can do it,” or worse, “Leave me alone.” These people are doing no service to themselves or the wider community of people living with disabilities.

Yes, I have multiple sclerosis and, yes, I have a disability that sometimes necessitates using a wheelchair. But the disease does not have me, nor has my desire for independence robbed me of basic common courtesy.

This article, written by me, was first published by Multiple Sclerosis News Today.

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ian-skype_edited50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks, who is Managing Editor (columns division) of BioNews Services. BioNews is owner of 50 disease/disorder-specific news and information websites – including MS News Today. Ian has enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor, in the print media. During that career he gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. He was diagnosed with MS in 2002 but continued working until mobility problems forced him to retire early in late 2006. He now lives in the south of Spain. Besides MS, Ian is also able to write about both epilepsy and cardiovascular matters from a patient’s perspective and is a keen advocate on mobility and accessibility issues.

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MS Love and Care, as Only a Superwife Can Provide

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Thoughts of love were brought to the forefront of many people’s minds on Valentine’s Day, which is widely celebrated by couples both young and not so young. They usually buy cards and enjoy romantic dinners.

In our case, Feb. 14 also is Lisa’s birthday. So, to me, that is more important. We went out for her birthday meal — in fact two — lunch and dinner. And very good they were, too.

loveBut that got me thinking, Lisa is my wife and, as I have multiple sclerosis, also is my carer. However, she says that whatever she does as my carer is only what any loving wife would do for her husband. And, while I can see that is true to a certain extent, it actually goes further.

There can be little doubt that wives, or husbands, of people with MS do have to contend with more than those of people without a disability. Lisa, for example:

  • Provides extra support while I walk a little outdoors;
  • Gets my wheelchair in and out of the car;
  • Helps me to get up after a fall;
  • Deals with extra laundry if my bladder problems cause an accident;
  • Takes full responsibility for my medications, ensuring I take them at the right times;
  • Does all cooking, because I cannot do so safely;
  • Does all cleaning and other housework, because I cannot stand up long enough to help. (I do what I can sitting down);
  • Helps me shower, especially below my knees;
  • Helps me to dress as I cannot fasten buttons, tie shoelaces or do anything that requires manual dexterity;
  • Is my personal manicurist and podiatrist, taking care of my fingernails and toenails, because my weak left hand is incapable of cutting the nails of my right hand, and I cannot bend forward enough to deal with my toenails.

Lisa maintains she does nothing special and it is all part of being my wife. She says she does it because she loves me. Well, I can see her point, but I also have my own opinion: The additional work of a carer requires something more than a wife; it needs a Superwife. Yes, it involves love too, the type of love that involves being prepared to do anything. Lisa is such a Superwife with that deep, committed love. I am so blessed to have her by my side.

How does your wife, husband or partner care for you? I’d love to hear and share your story.

This article, written by me, was first published by Multiple Sclerosis News Today.

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ian-skype_edited50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks, who is Managing Editor (columns division) of BioNews Services. BioNews is owner of 50 disease/disorder-specific news and information websites – including MS News Today. Ian has enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor, in the print media. During that career he gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. He was diagnosed with MS in 2002 but continued working until mobility problems forced him to retire early in late 2006. He now lives in the south of Spain. Besides MS, Ian is also able to write about both epilepsy and cardiovascular matters from a patient’s perspective and is a keen advocate on mobility and accessibility issues.

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