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50shadesofsun

News and Opinions about MS, Health & Disability

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

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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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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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